Abercastle is a sleepy village, with houses creeping down to the water’s edge and I couldn’t resist a walk down to the shore in the dark on our first night to gulp down the invigorating sea air.
The next day, loaded with packed lunches, we walked down to our little beach, a mix of sand and shingle, where Alfred Johnson landed in 1876, having become the first person to sail single-handedly across the Atlantic.
Of course, my two kids weren’t interested in this nugget of trivia, but they were interested in skimming stones and chasing waves as far as they dared before running away at just the right moment (or in the case of my eldest, leaving it a little too late).
We walked south on the coastal path, following a little track up from the far side of the beach. With two small children we didn’t plan on walking far, but just to be out and feel the crisp wind on our faces within a few minutes’ walk of our house felt good.
The reason for the excursion was to visit Carreg Samson – a 5,000-year-old Neolithic cromlech, consisting of several upright stones topped with what looks like a perilously placed capstone – which my husband had spied on a map.
Pembrokeshire has more scheduled monuments than any other Welsh county, except Powys, but they are very rarely signposted. In true folklore tradition, this exposed burial chamber was supposedly built by St Samson, who according to legend placed the capstone on top using just his little finger. The kids, as expected, were nonplussed.
We had more joy getting their attention ahead of a walk to the tip of St Davids Head to see another burial chamber, Coetan Arthur. Purely, I believe, because it shared a name with my eldest. And so, it became an adventure.
We parked up at Whitesands Bay, a handsome wide expanse of beach, and walked north, along the coast path, with my husband happily snapping away while I spent my time trying to ensure the children weren’t being too gung-ho in their endeavours as the path ascended high along the cliff edge.
They amazed us, completing the five-mile return walk with minimal whinging. The views along this rugged stretch of coastline are astounding, with vivid blue seas and secret bays carved into the coast. I’m told in summer the cliffs are ablaze with wildflowers, with sightings of peregrine falcon, gannets, dolphins and porpoises possible.
Seals also frequent these shores and we had two sightings: a pair at the Blue Lagoon in Abereiddy (a former slate quarry that is now a popular water-sport activities base) and while swimming in the sea by a rocky beach after a visit to Melin Tregwynt mill.