Taking it easy on Caldey Island

2 September 2013

After yesterday's marathon walking session, today I wanted to take it easy. I'd heard many good things about Caldey Island and its sense of peace. As the only ferry to the island leaves from Tenby and it was my last day there, it all made sense.

Over breakfast this morning I had a quick look at Tripadvisor to check what I might see. The last few entries all mentioned large numbers of sand flies, with a couple of reviewers going so far as to say they'd only stayed on the island a short time before being driven away. But the last of these comments had been a few weeks ago, so I thought it was worth the risk...

After my struggles with the general dog-unfriendliness of hotels and pubs on the trip, I was pleased that the man at the ferry ticket kiosk didn't mention the dogs at all.  I knew that the island was dog-friendly, but information about the ferry had been scant and I had a nagging doubt at the back of my mind.  The ferry service is actually a fleet of small boats owned and operated by locals. All very friendly and helpful. While I waited for more passengers to come and fill the boat I got chatting with the guy next to me, who was being nudged and stared at by the hounds. He used to have a dog and was also a keen photographer, so we had plenty to chat about.  Having holidayed in the area every year for the last 20 years, he also had a few suggestions of places to visit.

Arriving at Caldey Island, the 20 ish people on the boat soon dispersed, mostly towards the cafe and gift shop. I never understood why people travel for miles just to go and buy a coffee. At least it left me the various churches and other buildings to explore in the relative quiet of the morning. The island really does feel very peaceful. Maybe it's the absence of traffic, or the lush greenery. It certainly isn't the sand flies, which appeared all around us as soon as we went anywhere open and sunny. They bite, too! We beat a hasty retreat to the 'woodland walk' and took respite in the cool shade for half an hour. Despite this being a 'rest' day, I still had some energy left, so decided to try the brand new 'coast walk', which only opened a few weeks ago. The breeze continued to keep the flies at bay and the views were spectacular.

My energy thoroughly drained and the dogs flopping onto the floor every time I stopped, I felt it was time to catch a return ferry.  Back in Tenby we upped sticks and headed to Milford Haven, where we're based for the next few days to explore the west coast. Just as soon as the dogs wake up...

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