Pembrokeshire trip: Saundersfoot and Llansteffan

On New Year’s Eve, we decided to stay in Saundersfoot so we’d be able to see the fireworks at midnight and would be near to Bertie Boxlife after our dip in the sea, to get warm and dry afterwards. We had a delicious meal in The Mulberry then went back to the van, where I crocheted while John dozed. As midnight approached we went down to the beach to watch the fireworks and welcome the new year.

We stayed in the car park and didn’t sleep particularly well, with some muffled music from a nearby night club and people chatting as they walked home past the van. However, it was worth it to have a parking space, and quite amusing watching cars struggling to find places as the time for the swim approached. Martin and Tracey came to join us and, after we’d changed into our costumes, we went for a beer.

Everywhere was really busy with swimmers and spectators, and the BBC filming for a programme on Wales to be shown later this year. We went down onto the beach and after a mass warm up and sing along, Jonathan Davies (rugby player) did the countdown to the swim. Everyone ran down the beach, many in yellow fancy dress in honour of Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France win. There were lots of bananas but only one  pineapple!

The experience was amazing and we took our time soaking up the atmosphere. We had cheated and put wetsuits on, and the water didn’t feel as cold as I’d expected… maybe because the difference compared with the air temperature wasn’t huge. Plus we had some unexpected blue sky and sunshine! Once we were deep enough, we held hands and ducked our heads under the sea. Brrr! We then took some photos to prove we’d done it… my pineapple foliage now drooping dismally!

Afterwards, we collected our medals and made our way back up the beach to meet Tracey and Martin, who were looking after our towelling changing robes. We were pleased to strip off our dripping costumes and snuggle under the towels. We’d been handed a swimming cap before we went in, which I’d used so, thankfully, my hair was still dry. Back at the van we showered and changed then went for a celebratory drink.

Then it was time to move the van to the campsite we’d booked. We settled in and had a Chinese takeaway for dinner, and a lazy evening watching a film. What a great day! I can’t believe we raised over £400 for the RNLI having so much fun… much easier than running an ultra!

The next morning, we had breakfast and set off to Carmarthen where we were planning to stay with Martin and Tracey for the last night of our trip. After a 30 minute drive, we found their house easily. However, the drive was too steep for Bertie Boxlife, who is rather long. The tow bar gouged a stripe in the road, making a horrendous noise. It was all a bit traumatic! We parked up nearby and had a cup of tea while we decided what to do. John then rang and booked a campsite nearby where we could leave the van for the day and then get a taxi back in the evening after dinner.

We dropped Bertie at the campsite and Martin drove us to Llansteffan. The sun was shining and the beach was beautiful. Scooby, Layla and Bonnie had lots of fun chasing balls and meeting other dogs as we wandered along the sand.

Then we climbed uphill to visit Llansteffan Castle. It was more impressive than I expected and the views from the top of the main tower were fantastic.

After the walk, we had a lovely pub lunch then, back at Martin and Tracey’s, we played a game and drank a couple of bottles of fizz, before eating a lovely chilli that Martin had cooked. What a perfect end to our mini road trip. It’s been lovely… very relaxing, with a couple of walks, a bit of sightseeing, lots of food and drink, good company, and a dunking in the sea. We’ll definitely be making another trip to South Wales.

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