Tuesday, 9 June 2015

#GraceGSP visits Laugharne and Pendine

#GraceGSP in Laugharne

Recollections of an enjoyable week the German Short Haired Pointer spent on the Carmarthenshire coastline and some of the challenges we faced!

After a slight false start, whereby half way towards the A40 I realised I'd forgotten to turn my PC off thereby forcing a return home to complete this simple and yet essential task, we had a straight forward journey from Gloucester to Wales via the M4. But note to self not to stop at Sarn Services again!

Seasoned Traveller
This was our fifth visit to the Laugharne and the small holiday cottage we rent there and everything looked very much as usual when we arrived there. Saturday afternoon was spent acclimatising and trying to get Grace used to walking on the lead. A 12 month old pointer really needs a 10 acre back garden and getting her used to 6x4 yards was never going to be easy. We took here crate with us for her to sleep in so that had to be reassembled which is always a mind your fingers exercise which was completed without incident.

Having witnessed the Arsenal demolition of Aston Villa and completed another walk we had an early, but unfortunately disturbed night as I've recorded in an earlier blog. We knew we were in for some rough weather on Sunday and Monday but managed to fit in some walks on the Beach at Pendine, where Grace proved what a sea dog she is, and also a complete round trip walk over St John's Hill in Laugharne. The latter is not easy with a dog as there are a couple of difficult stiles that we hadn't managed to pass with Harvey but with Grace being that little bit lighter we got through. We don't walk Grace off her lead so there are times when having an enthusiastic pointer puppy leaping off down the track is a bit hairy but we got through unscathed. 

Wild Weather on Monday Evening
Monday afternoon and evening saw some wild and wet weather and we decided discretion was the better part of valour and settled down to eight episodes of Game of Thrones Season 1. Of course Grace still had to be walked and this meant battling the elements and taking for an evening blow around the castle.

Tuesday was windy but not wet. After a quick yomp around Pendine (and realising that the red flag meant the beach was shut rather than that the sea conditions were too rough for swimming) we decided to head to Tenby to find Sainsbury's. This was basically a mistake. There was a mystery hold up on the A477 at Kilgetty and somebody had decided to dig up the centre of Tenby meaning that finding Sainsbury's was an impossible task for the Sat Nav. So instead we headed back in the opposite direction to Llansteffan.

In previous years the construction of the A477 Red Roses Llanddower Bypass has proved a real pain with hold ups and long delays but now it is finished what a beautiful piece of road! Sorry I didn't stop to take any photographs along the way but it really offers super views and a speedy piece of road back to Saint Clears. The same can't be said of the road from the A477 to Llansteffan but we got there eventually.

Llansteffan Castle (via Snapseed)
Although the restaurant at Llansteffan we had hoped to use was closed we had an enjoyable couple of hours exploring the castle and then the beach beyond point X. In previous years I had observed on trip advisor that I thought banning dogs from Llansteffan Castle was a bit hard as it mainly a grassy ruin. Well I'm pleased to say that someone must have listened because this time Grace was allowed in to explore. Here is what I said on Trip Advisor this time:

It was with some trepidation that we took #GraceGSP up the steep climb from the car park at Llansteffan to this ruined castle; when we had visited in 2013 with Harvey dogs had not been permitted within the castle grounds. We were very pleased to find that this was no longer the case and had a pleasant 3/4 of an hour exploring the nooks and crannies of the ruin and reading about the double portcullis and the murder holes. The castle is an excellent spot for photography over the bay. I climbed one staircase and came across one dark spooky room where you could imagine ghostly eyes are watching you. As always going up is easier than coming down and children would need to be heavily supervised. A beautiful well maintained spot that is free to enter and offers an excellent picnic location if you are prepared to bring your food up from the car park.

After a sand blasting on the beach we took the much easier road back to Carmarthen and Tesco Extra to stock up on provisions and then back to Laugharne for another evening of walking around the town and Game of Thrones Season II.

Beautiful start to Wednesday

Wednesday saw good weather which we made good use of with a trip to Manorbier via Pendine and then onto Carew Castle and Tidal Mill. These were all places we had visited before with Harvey although I wasn't confident about taking #GraceGSP across the narrow road bridge at Carew so I walked on to get the car myself and drove her across the bridge in the Discovery. Back to Pendine for another romp in the sea and then home to Laugharne. It was on this part of the journey that I realised the Discovery wasn't totally happy with things as the audio, Sat Nav and Phone connection were not working. Nothing too serious, but when the alarm started going off as well I sort of got the feeling the car was telling me it wasn't exactly happy.

#GraceGSP at Brown's

Bird Watching at Manorbier
We had a quick trip to Brown's Hotel for a pint and a glass of wine and then a quick review of the Disco3 forum (which has a Disco4 section) told me that I needed to carry out a hard reset of the computer which basically means turning it on and off but isn't quite so easy for a modern car. I decided I was best off seeking Land Rover help and Greens of Haverfordwest were very good at fitting me in and resetting various fault codes so that the car was fully functioning again. The basic problem was a lot of stopping and starting with the air con on full blast which I think had drained the battery to the point where it starts to shut down systems.

Thank you!
The early start Thursday morning had given me the chance to catch the sunrise past the Boathouse and I have to say thank you to Byron the Service Manager at Greens who took my call at 08:15 and was very calm in making a slot for me. Obviously the trip to Haverfordwest and back had taken most of the morning so we were keen to get #GraceGSP back out to Pendine for her last beach walk of the holiday. Unfortunately this is where our second little disaster struck with Grace cutting her dew pad on the beach which has required Elizabethan collar, staples and ultimately stitches to heal. This time it was thank you to the Market Hall Vets in St Clears who came to the rescue.

Instagram Version of the picture
I had implemented a Social Media black out during the holiday because I don't think it is wise to broadcast the fact that you're away from home but as Friday was our last day I did publish a picture of #GraceGSP very much in Harveywetdog pose with Brown's Hotel in the background. I was delighted when Brown's picked it up on Facebook and described it as "This is our favourite ever pic of Brown's hotel to date!" Thank you Brown's Hotel.

With Grace semi-grounded with her pad we decided against a final trip to the Boathouse but headed straight off only to find the Carmathen Road blocked with an overturned trailer which required a slight detour through the lanes. We broke our journey at Margam Park to stretch our legs and where fortunately it didn't rain quite as much as last year!

So a lovely week which proved how much Grace loves water but also demonstrated how careful you have to be with simple things like shells on a beach. Where we had problems both Garage and Vets were extremely helpful and even the bad weather at the start of the week was offset by the chance to emerge ourselves in the first three seasons of Game of Thrones.