Having never sat on a kayak before; nor visited the Pembrokeshire coastline, we decided to “take the plunge” and combine the two together for a weekend away exploring West Wales and kayaking with the seals.
Before we arrived at our lodgings for the weekend and abandoned our car for a much more traditional method of transport, we visited some of the pretty villages along the Pembrokeshire Coast that we had heard so much about. Little Haven was our first point of call and it certainly did not disappoint. The rain stopped and the sun pushed through, highlighting the beauty and charm of this pretty little fishing village. With a choice of pubs, we finally settled on a table overlooking the beach at The Swan Inn where we had one of the best moules marinières ever!
Our next point of call was Broad Haven just next door but, as the tide and time were against us, we decided to resist the temptation to make the short walk around the headland, opting for the car instead. Broad Haven was just over the hill and what a stunning sight its vast sandy beach provided – little wonder it is so popular for wind surfing, kite-buggying and surfing. We then set off along the coastal road, which hugged a fair bit of the coastline to St David’s and beyond to our end destination near Mathry.
We had been warned that the coastal road was somewhat narrow but it was worth every slightly tense moment. Winding its way around the coastline, the scenery was simply stunning and reminiscent in so many ways of all the things we love about Cornwall – pure natural beauty at its very best, with the added bonus of fewer people!
As we made our way along the coastal road, ablaze with wild flowers, we passed pretty little sandy coves (such as Nolton Haven) with hardly a person to be seen, apart from the odd dog walker or horse rider having a blast on the beach. Then out of nowhere, a true jewel in Pembrokeshire’s coastline appeared and we came across the picturesque fishing village of Solva with its colourful little cottages, art galleries, shops, pubs and quiet harbour. Often overlooked by those seeking the thrill of the surf and sands at beaches such as Newgale, Solva is a pretty little treasure not to be missed.
Just before we completed our coastal whirlwind tour, we could not resist a quick visit to the little fishing village of Porthgain. We were delighted not to have missed it, with its dramatic forbidding cliffs, giving way to a welcoming peaceful little harbour, art gallery, bistro, fish hut (where you can often pick up the catch of the day) and pub.
Much too much to see in a day, nevertheless, a wonderful snap shot of the incredible scenery that the Pembrokeshire coastline has to offer and it certainly whet our appetite for exploring the coastline by Kayak and visiting again.
Being new to Kayaking, the initial feeling of instability was somewhat daunting but very quickly you can gain your confidence and kayak legs. It is one of those wonderful sports that with some good tuition, you can soon be out there getting an immense amount of satisfaction from the incredible seascape and wildlife on offer.
Two exciting days were spent paddling our way around parts of Pembrokeshire’s beautiful coast and it was possibly one of the most memorable and fun weekend breaks ever. The coastline was simply breath taking with a stunning new oasis popping up around each corner. For those who love wildlife, there is no better way to see it in its natural environment; gannets, oyster catchers, cormorants, and razor bills, to name just a few, nesting on the rocks with their young. We were also watched by a number of seals and were lucky enough to have our own sealife show as a huge seal leapt out of the water in one of the many caves we explored on our travels – a pretty impressive display and a surprise for us all!
Walking the coastal paths provides plenty of opportunity for spotting wildlife but quietly paddling around the waters edge allows you to see so many magical sights over the cliff top that would normally be missed on foot. Sea kayaking truly is an all weather sport and whilst we had our fair share of rain on the first day, it went unnoticed as the excitement of rock hopping, stunning scenery and incredible wildlife provided complete distraction.
One weekend of sea kayaking has left us wanting more and the Pembrokeshire coastline has given us possibly one of the most beautiful introductions to the sport. National Park status has preserved Pembrokeshire’s raw natural beauty and it is little wonder that people return time and time again to enjoy its calm waters and tranquil surrounds.
With plenty of places to hire kayaks and gain tuition along the coastline, Pembrokeshire is the perfect place to try your hand at kayaking, along with lots of other adrenaline sports. It also has much to offer experienced kayaking enthusiasts with challenging waters and plenty of self-catering cottages to rent offering storage space for kayaks and drying facilities for wet gear. With some holiday homes costing as little as £100 per person per week, there is no excuse to not enjoy a holiday on the Pembrokeshire coast this year!