(Pembrokeshire's 'Top of the World' as opposed to Hampshire's)
It’s half-term and not a standard one, heaven sent heat: real, bright blue sunshiny sun has come to stay-cation in Pembrokeshire and the county is transformed. If someone rocked up now with a years pass to Provence, I might just say no. The Smalls have abandoned clothes. The paddling pool is up and full, there’s no need to go on about the colour, if bright green worked for the Rio Olympics then it works for Hendre. We are in full barbeque swing.
Bank holiday Monday sees the Smalls and I tucked away, quietly frying, on a fabulous beach not everyone can get to ie: steep climb, empty, peaceful, perfect (there’s some words you don’t often see in a sentence written in Welsh Wales, Bank Holiday, beach and frying). It was so hot, (sorry, I know I’m going on) that the sea water evaporating from the sand was actually steaming like a giant saltwater dry ice machine. Beautiful. Even though we’re all coated in an inch thick layer of factor 300, it's so hot (did I mentioned that) we come home like three crispy, battered cod.
There’s a minor fly in this paradise ointment we’re currently lathered in – a writing deadline, sitting on the end of half term week with no sign of extending itself. Such an ugly word – deadline, needs banning. The Smalls and I need a change of scene to get those creative juices running. I’m such a creature of habit that whatever the activity, I’m drawn to the coast so that was why Wednesday saw us off for a climb. The path to the top of the world starts just outside a small village you need good deal of phlegm to pronounce. A promising track abandoned us in a bog, (still squelchy), the bog ran out in a plain of rubble left by a glacier gazillions of years ago. A place of utter peace even with five Smalls on board, who were already free-ranging up the precipice to the summit.
Geologists and myth-writers have it that this is the place you come to if you fancy some Bluestone to build a Stonehenge-esq temple. The top of the world is piled up with white-spotted dolerite, not rubble. And once you reach the top (rescue and extract Small2 from deathly over-hang and un-jam ones’ self and picnic from rock crevice) the view over the Gower Peninsula and across Cardigan Bay to the Llŷn Peninsula is breath-taking, endlessly, truly gasp-worthy.
Whilst the Smalls risk life and limb, plans are hatched to run along this roof of Pembrokeshire, it’s only about seven or eight miles but will feel as epic and spectacular as running the Great Wall of China and require (very) sturdy running shoes. We could still be up there route planning had a little weather not rolled in and rubbed out the view.
By the time we’re back at the car the top of the world is just a dream, drizzled out and washed away. Next time I claw my way up there without my running shoes (and Smalls) I’ll take a note book and pen. I’m imagining the tales I’ll write leant against one of those blue monoliths, the prehistoric legends that might soak through me and on to my page…
At the risk of coming across all Kirsty Alsop, you just gotta try this, especially if you stumble across an old dusty bottle of rosé in the back of your cupboard and you've got strawberries popping up everywhere. (Excuse the handwriting and Cheers!)
(Warning: massive brain-freeze. Not for kids below 40)