I’m home from five nights in west Wales and I had a blast!
Lots of walks with stunning scenery for me and lots of wine for mum – fortunately with no stunning hangovers.
We were meant to be going Monday-Friday but the cottage mum had rented with auntie C and uncle J was vacant the weekend before so we headed up on Sunday instead.
The only downside to this was that the humans dipped out on a delicious salted caramel cake from our favourite local cafe, The Pump House, as mum was meant to be collecting it en route to Wales on Monday morning.
All was not lost however, as mum’s chum Lou picked it up on the way to a late shift so her work colleagues got to have the sugar rush instead.
After a five hour drive, we pulled up outside Cozy Cwtch – our home for the next few nights. Lovely secure garden for us dogs – me, Nelly (11 year old Staffie), Arthur (8 year old staffie/Lab cross) and Arry (a blind Staffie and my nemesis).
The usual stuff ensued – unpacking, feeding us dogs, me getting pestered by Arry who is obsessed with me for some reason, and an abortive attempt to get an Indian takeaway delivered. Let’s just say the fella on the end of the phone was less than helpful regarding delivery. So homemade chilli it was instead for the ones with two legs.
Monday brought glorious sunshine and a drive to the Pembrokeshire coast. We were meant to be headed somewhere else but couldn’t find it – but the Pembrokeshire Coast National Path National Trail was a happy accident.
We started our walk at Fishguard Fort and then walked for an hour along the coast path. Superb scenery, only slightly spoiled by a cruise ship being at anchor and getting in the way of some of the photos!
I was kept on a lead as mum didn’t trust me not to inadvertently nosedive off the edge of a cliff. I also met a field of cows who were most inquisitive – and I’m afraid to say, I was most noisy woofing at them. We stayed on our respective sides of the fence though, so all turned out fine.
We snaked our way down to a small cove so we could splash our paws in the sea, and the Labrador in Arthur meant he went in for a swim. A welcome relief from the heat.
After about an hour we turned round and retraced our steps back to the car for the drive home. If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen the video of me doing my best ‘dog tired’ impression – trying to stay awake but failing as the car cruised along.
Tuesday was another scorcher of a day and we headed to Brechfa Forest – what a fantastic place! None of us had heard of it before but it’s 6,500 hectares of superb walking (and mountain biking – there are numerous trails and some of them look mighty bum-clenching).
Now, me and mum love a woodland or forest. Trees, sunshine, blue sky and not many other people around (or better still, none) spell just about the perfect walk for us. We did around 10km in the end, taking about three hours.
Me and mum would happily have doubled this but it was very hot and dear old Nelly in particular was feeling it. She was a trooper though, and finished the walk wagging her tail with a Staffie smile.
We then chatted to two very nice women who’d passed us on mountain bikes – they loved Staffies so were keen to say hello. One of them volunteers for West Wales Poundies, so she is clearly A Very Fine Person Indeed.
Wednesday dawned dry and bright again – hurrah! – so we decided to stay a bit closer to our holiday cottage and walk in Coed Y Foel, managed by the Woodland Trust. What an absolute gem!
It had all the ingredients of a good walk – undulations, wonderful views, dappled sunlight in woodland and a stream to cool off in. We also noticed that the bluebells in Wales were in flower later than back at home – they were thriving here, but in Hampshire they were all dying off before we left for our holiday.
Again mum and I would happily have done the whole walk again but by that stage Nelly had headed back to the car with uncle J (although we did learn that a Barking Bakery Company Pumpkin Pretzel worked wonders coaxing her downhill), and Arry had managed to slip his way out of his new harness giving auntie C a bit of a fright.
We decided to call it a day, where the rest of the afternoon was spent lazing on a sun lounger in the garden (mum) and pestering mum on the sun lounger in the garden (me).
Our last full day saw a change in the weather – still warm but overcast. We made our way to Poppit Sands, where we had a fantastic time feeling the sand on our paws, rather than the stones of our beach back home.
The tide was out when we got there but it comes in quick! Definitely something to be aware of if you visit. Handily the Gorsaf Bad Achub Cardigan – aka the RNLI’s Cardigan lifeboat station – is just a few feet from the beach. However, any holiday where you can avoid having to be rescued by the RNLI or any other emergency services, voluntary or statutory, is a winner in mum’s book!
Friday dawned and what d’ya know – it was raining! So we definitely had the best few days for the weather. The journey home began at 0900 and took another five hours thanks to slow traffic on the A34 approaching Winchester. You can always rely on Hampshire to chuck up a few traffic jams!
All in all, a most enjoyable few days away and the extra day was a bonus indeed. I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last holiday in Wales and it further bolstered mum’s view that Britain in good weather is a hard place to beat for a holiday with a hound.
Now the countdown begins to my next one in September – another visit to the Forest of Dean.
Anyone got any good recommendations for good places to take dogs on holiday?