“The sea has this contradictory quality, that the more you see of it, the more it overwhelms the eye and disappears in its own brightness. Like a flame, whose meaning is light but whose centre is dark, it demands to be undefined”. Alice Oswald
Going to Tenby has been on my list of places to visit forever! So I went for my birthday, now I know some people feel sorry for me for going places on my own (yes this has been expressed to me in this way) as if everyone that travels alone does so because they are lonely. It never seems to occur to these people that actually traveling alone is a choice! Their look of pity only amuses me, I have friends who would jump at the chance of going on adventures with me and sometimes we do, do adventures together but sometimes I enjoy my own company. Brace yourself, sometime I enjoy being on my own, I know shocking isn’t it. Imagine in 2019 a woman can travel on her own (you know without a man) or even more shockingly is selfish either to do so! Don’t even get me started on the number of people shocked that I am holidaying in the UK as if every precious moment of time off work should be spent jetting off to the sunshine (bearing in mind I have already been aboard twice this year and going again at the end of the year). My names Emma and I like travelling alone and in the UK! Mind blown, back to Tenby!
So up until last week I had never been to South Wales (surely the most shocking part of all this) I know I still can’t believe it either! I think maybe because growing up if it was past Rhyl it was too far! A couple of weeks before my birthday I decided I was going to change this and booked a B&B for a few days (also my first B&B experience) and buy the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path book. Far too excited to sleep I woke early on the Saturday morning and headed to Tenby, now the four hour drive which isn’t that many miles but only consists of what seems like country lanes was brutal as I am a pee’er luckily I have no shame and peeing out doors while hiking has become my thing! I arrived just before breakfast with a relaxed bladder and a beautiful blue sky. The sky left me a little smug as I left storms and some of the worst weather we have experienced so far this year in the north, convinced that it is always sunny in Wales (you know I put a blue skied picture straight on insta, mainly for all my “holidaying in the UK” haters!)
The Pembrokeshire town of Tenby is built around a picturesque harbour, bounded by cobbled lanes and pretty historic buildings. From its roots as a medieval walled town to its heyday as a Victorian seaside resort, Tenby retains a strong sense of its rich and fascinating heritage. Tenby seems to be the largest of “seaside towns” in Pembrokeshire without feeling overly tacky.
Tenby Harbour Beach is a small and picturesque beach sheltered by the harbour wall and surrounded by pastel coloured Georgian buildings, if you know one thing about Tenby it will be the 1000s of Insta pictures of the harbour, it really is stunning. Around the harbour you will find little cafes, access to South and North beach as well as the harbour beach. You will also find a line of little sheds offering boat trips, I recommend taking one of these.
Tenby has what looks like two lifeboat houses, however the one above is actually a has and was on grand design (an episode I actually watched). Now I have seen it, living there must be an actual dream!
Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society opened a lifeboat station in Tenby in 1852. The RNLI took over two years later, building its first station on the harbour beach in 1862. During the 19th century, six silver medals were awarded at Tenby for rescues off the coast. In 1905 the RNLI built a new boathouse and slipway, with rollers so that the boat moved easily, on the north side of Castle Hill. This was a Tenby landmark for more than 100 years, when the station and slip were replaced by modern equivalents nearby. The lifeboat service in the UK is provided not by government but by the RNLI, a charity which relies on donations from the public. Since it was established in 1824, the RNLI is estimated to have saved c.140,000 lives. It employs some crew members but most, 40,000 in total, are volunteers who leave their work, families or beds whenever their lifeboat is needed. The RNLI is a charity I regularly support without it we would have lost thousands of lives to the sea.
Castle Beach lies in the cove between Castle Hill and the East Cliff. At low tides it is possible to walk out to St. Catherine’s island, but take care that the tide does not cut you off. I really wanted to go to St. Catherines island however it wasn’t open while I was there. Getting on to the island is an adventure in itself, lots of steps, a bridge and a few more steps before you get to our “we-are-open” Welsh flag on the Second World War gun emplacement. With 360 degree views around Carmarthen Bay it could be the best view of Tenby. Hopefully next time I visit it will be open, and there will be a next time for sure.
How perfect does this sea look, I could have been anywhere in the world. Yesterday I read an article encouraging us to be flight free for 2020 as air travel undoes all the good work we try to do to save the planet. One long haul flight has the same impact on our carbon footprint as a year of living. Which is utterly crazy! Could you do a year not flying?
The South Beach is made up of two miles of golden sand, stretching from St Catherine’s Island to Giltar Point. The beach is backed by sand dunes leading to the the oldest established golf course in Wales and looks out toward Caldey Island.
Of course I couldn’t resist a paddle in the sea!