Dave’s day of fun

I had a vague idea of two things I wanted to do today. Walk part of the Pembrokeshire coastal path near Tenby and revisit the Red Kite feeding centre, near Llanddeusant. The two are many miles apart. I accepted the challenge.

Driving down to Tenby, the road changes abruptly from fine dual carriageway to barely capable A road. And this is the main artery to three of our key ferry ports. I expected traffic, even on a Wednesday, and I got it. First of all it was someone driving to the speed limit. But one in their own mind. I worry when I see someone doing 30mph in a 60mph zone. Not because I’m in a hurry (I’m not, I enjoy driving and these days I keep the speed down to improve the fuel consumption) but because they are either unable to drive faster or are not aware of the speed limit. Then we hit roadworks. I think the driver in front panicked because there were so many signs and lights. The good news was that the roadworks were for a new stretch of road that should make the journey quicker and safer for traffic.

I finally arrived at Penally to find the red flags of the firing range fluttering away. I was pretty sure that would mean the coastal path was closed and sure enough, as I got to the top of the cliffs at the end of the South Beach, the gate was closed and the guard was watching. Still, the views out to Caldey and St Margaret’s islands were spectacular. Walking back I decided to take a different route off the beach and suddenly I was in the middle of a caravan holiday park. I spent a little while trying to find the exit. I was tempted by the pool, the funzone and the tennis courts, but I was on my way to the second destination and I was running a little late.

The Kite feeding centre was about 90 minutes away, although I wasn’t sure what the traffic would be like as the route was the same for much of the way. At least this time I wasn’t behind the snail. It wasn’t too bad and by the time I reached the centre, I had about 30 minutes to spare. So I had a coffee. In the hide, the wind seemed to be blowing right through the open end. It was cold standing there, but as soon as the Kites began to swoop and circle, I forgot about it. I had two cameras with me, set to different focus and exposure setting, and I swapped between the two. This was very much a test of the settings as well as another attempt to get decent photos of the magnificent birds as they fed. In the end I took some 700 pictures (and sorting them out afterwards, I got rid of around 150 – some were doubles, the majority were out of focus as I had expected).

On the way home I decided to call in to the quarry at Foel Fawr. It’s a regular place for Rufus and me and the area around is very photogenic. I had the infra red camera with me so that came out and I spent about 30 minutes climbing the hills and snapping away.

Today was one of those days without a firm plan and was all the better for it.

The Tenby route.

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It’s Saturday; this must be the Cretaceous Period

The Plan was to head down to Tenby, hop gracefully aboard a pirate ship bound for the high seas, sail to the east until land was sighted, sneak on shore and find pirate treasure.

We set off early but the weather was so good that we expected to hit the inevitable traffic jams pretty much from the start. In the past we’ve had to change plans as a result of queues of cars all wanting to go where we wanted to go. But as we drove along, trying to guess where we’d see the first signs of slow moving vehicles, we were surprised by the free flow of traffic. “Round the next corner…”‘ “over the brow of this hill…” where would the queue start? We kept going at a swift (but lawful) pace unhindered by the tide of holiday vehicles.

At Carmarthen, often a bottleneck simply because of the roundabouts and traffic lights, we sailed through with barely a dab of the brakes. Before we knew it, we were in Tenby. Tenby was where the pirate ship, in the form of a small boat, would (for a small fee of pieces of eight) take us across to the pirate island (known to all the pirates as Caldey). There we would search for pirate treasure (the famous Caldey chocolate).

Of course, nothing is ever easy in the world of of the sailor of fortune. We got to the harbour to find all the pirates were out, sailing the high seas. No boats were sailing for Caldey and no boats were sailing on the alternative voyage, a sea safari around the island. Disappointed, our adventurous crew set sail for the nearby beach, where we dug for pirate treasure instead.

After a quick parley, we decided that the best course to set would be for the nearby ‘Dinosaur Valley’. Nothing beats a journey into the distant past to overcome the disappointment of being let down by pirates.

Just down the road (only a few tens of millions of years ago), we entered the world of the dinosaurs, complete with cafe, indoor play area, crazy golf on the volcano course and bumper boats. We took a wander through the dinosaur valley, meeting a variety of colourful critters on the way. Alas, me hearties, the spitting dinosaur at the end had dried up and we were left high and dry until we reached the sanctuary of the Jurassic cafe (selling Jurassic coffee).

As the sun began to sink towards the yardarm, we set sail towards our home port and once again managed to avoid the worst of the traffic.

Arrrr, shiver me timber me old shipmates. Twas a rum do, and no mistake. I’ll see the cap’n of that old tub that left us stranded swing from the top mast afore I go to see Davy Jones..

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