On Thursday we dropped our eldest son at Whitesands where he was spending the day with his girlfriend and her family. He'd given us strict instructions not to 'lurk', which frankly, is understandable given the embarrassment potential that parents have for teenagers - no doubt made worse by the prospect of us donning bathing costumes.
So instead Jane and I went to Porthmynawydd, one of my favorite beaches and somewhat of a Pembrokeshire secret. Perhaps the term 'secret' is a bit strong, for Porthymynawydd is seldom deserted in summer - but on a day when the car parks were overflowing, there were less than a dozen people who'd made the one kilometre walk to reach this peaceful haven.
And yet it's a world away. The bay is formed by a deep cove and headland (Dinas Fach), sheltering a shallow and soft sanded beach. The high cliffs enclose the horizon, adding to the sense of remoteness - and they still the waves, creating, at high tide, a shallow lagoon that's perfect for swimming and messing about. There are caves and rock pools, diving platforms and crystal clear snorkeling. One chap there on Thursday caught a huge spider crab, bringing it back for inspection before releasing it again.
But that's enough description - for more, you must visit yourself.
Often I've read landscape writers describing this or that 'special place', but not revealing the location, claiming that to do so would risk the invasion of crowds. This seems a little selfish to me, and in most cases overestimates the reach of their work and the impact of recommendations. With the exception of disclosing sensitive wildlife sites which might be abused (remember the days when Red Kite nests were guarded by the military?) I take a more generous view; in any event, that one kilometre walk will always deter the tourist hordes.
Our day ended with tide ebbing to low. We took a wrong turn on the coast path and ascended the western cliffs, only to have to descend again. From the summit though, I could see over the sweep of St Brides; there were tankers at anchor off Skomer, a heat haze softening the sky, and the cove below us - a sparkling jewel in what is already a golden crown.