As forecast, rain all day with fog in a lot of places. We were lucky that the wind that was forecast didn't seem to appear apart from one place. We are right on the sea front tonight and by the look of the waves, the wind has stirred up the sea.
Started out with a drive around Pembroke and took a look at the Pembroke Castle. We didn't venture out into the rain or the castle but it is a huge castle. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the outer wall is up to 5 metres thick in places. While a lot of the castle remains, it was destroyed and later abandoned in 1648.
From Pembroke we travelled along the coastline through Newgale on St Brides Bay and on to St David's, Britain's smallest city and near the most westerly point of Wales. St David is the Patron Saint of Wales. His birthplace is believed to be just south of the city and his remains are buried in the city's Cathedral.
Heading north we stopped in Fishguard. Fishguard is the last site where Britain was invaded. In 1797, a force of about 1400 French landed near Fishguard but due to poor discipline and a lack of enthusiasm, the force surrendered in less than three days. One story is that the harbour cannons were fired to warn the townspeople and this was partly responsible for the surrender. There are two cannons located on the hill above the harbour marking the victory. Another story involves a local heroine, Jemima Nicholas, going out single-handed armed with a pitchfork and rounding up 12 of the invaders. She bought them back, locked them in the church and went back out looking for more.
There are two stone circles in the city, While they look quite authentic and medieval, they were built in 1936 and in 1986 marking the holding of the National Eisteddfod of Wales in the city.
Next site was Pentre Ifan Dolmen, an ancient burial chamber. Learning something new, I had wondered why they would make these things with a large capstone balancing on three or four upright stones.One school of thought is that the capstone was actually the roof of the chamber and the large stones at the front formed an entrance facade and the whole thing was covered in stones and earth. Of course, the alternative theory is that they are meant to look like this and are a variation on the normal Standing Stones. Who knows, no-one is around to tell us.
Continuing north we stopped off at Cilgerran Castle, Cilgerran. I know, another castle, but this one is different. It looks dark in the pictures and that's not just because of the dull day. The castle is made of slate slabs. Slate in this country seems to be everywhere, even fences are made of it. The castle actually sits on a slate hill and as I look out the window, the point at the end of the street is another slate hill and I suspect that is the reason the beach is quite dark gray sand. Anyway, it's the first we've seen made of slate. All that work and it was only used for about 200 years. Seems to be the same story for so many of these castles. The wet steps made it a bit worrisome climbing up the narrow, steep, spiralling tower staircase but the view from the old battlements was worth the climb.
With lunchtime bearing down on us, almost past actually, we stopped in the town of Aberaeron for a coffee in a nice little shop and cafe. Like Tenby and a number of other places we went through today, it was beautiful to see the rows of houses painted in different colours, mostly pastels. It really looks impressive and brightens up the streets.
Into Aberystwyth for the night, staying in a hotel with our room overlooking the beach. We can listen to the surf rolling in during the night.
Tomorrow we head back east with a few stops with a plan to drop in on Will Shakespeare tomorrow evening.