Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Beautiful Pembrokeshire! Some Active Bits ...

Hello again!

I’m back in Nottinghamshire after my husband Adam and I had a wonderful visit down to my home of Pembrokeshire in West Wales. I have lived away from there for 12 years now, but it still feels like home to me :)

We did loads of active stuff in the outdoors, but also a bit of sightseeing type stuff. We did far too much to cram into just one post, so I will split it up and make a really big effort to actually post everything this time!

One post that I’m afraid will have to wait is about the Walled Garden Blanket. I finished it while back at home, but had no opportunity to take any photos. I will rectify this when I go back in September! I’m so gutted not to be able to post about it!!

We were blessed with incredible weather while we were back, which lasted for most of the time we were there, and so we were able to really enjoy ourselves. My best friend Sarah, who I have known well since we were about 13, still lives in our home town, and she has 2 lovely boys. They were off school for the summer when we arrived and so it was great to spend plenty of time with them when we were visiting. They will be visiting us next year in Australia, but still every moment counts!

Our first day therefore was spent at the beach! Pembrokeshire has so many wonderful beaches, and on this day we headed to Manorbier in the hope that there would be surf. There wasn’t… We spent several happy hours soaking up the great weather, catching up with each other, reading, and then I braved the sea, going out with the boys to try and catch the tiny waves on the surfboard and later taking the youngest one out with a snorkel as he wanted to swim a bit. Great fun!

A bit blurry - I guess that's what happens when a little boy has the camera!

The next day deserves its own post, as we headed off on the boat to Skomer Island for some puffin spotting! I will write about this separately :)

The following day and we hit the water for the third time in three days – this time with wind power. I learned to sail little dinghies when I was about 10 or 11 years old, and when Sarah had got in touch before we travelled down to ask if I would take her littlest one out sailing I was really excited. I haven’t sailed in years, but I had sailed for so long that I felt confident I could still sail competently, and teach the little lad too.

Sarah’s boyfriend Andy can also sail, so we hired a couple of dinghies so that everyone could go out at once. I took littlest one out in a Topper dinghy. It’s designed for one person to sail, and as such it only has one sail – the main sail – to worry about, so it seemed a great way to teach him. I began by showing him how to look after the main sail. As we went along I also taught him a few bits and pieces about the theory of sailing to help him understand what he was doing. Once he was ready, I moved on to teaching him about helming (steering) the boat. At first he struggled to concentrate enough to steer properly – he was so excited and so interested in every that was happening all around us! After a short while though he calmed down and then – with a bit of guidance – he was sailing by himself! He seemed to be having a great time, and I found it so rewarding to see how far he had come in just an hour. I’m not always good a teaching as I lack patience, but I tried really hard to stay calm and relaxed while trying to teach an excitable 10-year-old, and I felt really good about our time out on the water together! 

We had hired the boats for 2 hours, and after that first hour I swapped over into the bigger boat (a Wayfarer – or ‘Wafer’ as the littlest one kept calling it!), while Andy swapped into the Topper. I was then sailing with my husband, my friend, and her eldest son. They had obviously been learning about sailing already, so I just let people have a go a whatever they fancied – managing one of the sails, or taking a turn at the helm – while I supervised, until it was time to go in. There wasn’t much wind, so it was very relaxing sailing. I was chuffed at the end that after so much time I was still able to take over control of the dinghy when we had to head back in, and tack it (sailing and making a series turns so that you can get to an upwind destination) back to the jetty, judging it right to glide in to the jetty without bumping the boat. I was very happy with the day!

The fourth day and we were not waterbabies this time. Andy used to work at a quadbiking centre near Tenby, Ritec Valley Quads, and was keen to take everyone there. The rest of us grown-ups had all been quad biking once before, although it was the first time for the eldest son, while littlest son had to go on the children’s circuit which he had done before. We were all looking forward to it, and the course was really interesting – lots of different terrain and tricky paths to follow - even a couple of obstacles to overcome.

The quads had gears which you click through up and down, and it’s really tricky to remember which gear you’re in sometimes! We whizzed around the place, with only the occasional detour off the track when a bend was too tight…

The time seemed to go by fairly quickly - I just felt like I was getting the hang of things and feeling braver when it was all over! Adam found this his favourite activity of everything we did while in Pembrokeshire, Sarah and I had a great time, and her eldest son did really well considering it was his first time. I think Andy enjoyed it too!

Well phew! I think that's enough activity for one post... Still to come are write ups about puffins, walking on the coast path, the Last Invasion Tapestry, and maybe a bit of crochet news - not necessarily in that order! Thanks for visiting, I'm off to try to get more written up and ready to post, and maybe a bit of work on my next project. Oh, and perhaps a cuppa ;)


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