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Scolton Manor, Pembrokeshire National Park and Carreg Coetan

Upstairs, downstairs, chocolate disappointment and old graves

storm 9 °C
View Boulogne 2013 & Picturesque Pembrokeshire and Skomer Island 2013 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Despite the driving rain (and at times hail) slapping against the canvas and the howling wind rustling in the rafters and shaking the tipi to the core, I was snug as a bug in a rug in my very comfortable bed. Of course, I was wearing thermal underwear, thick socks, a balaclava, gloves and a tracksuit; and I was covered with my own lovely 10 tog quilt and a thick blanket....

We have a small kitchen near the tipi – more akin to a shed – in which I cooked sausages for breakfast, before we drove the 150 yards to the toilet block. I know that sounds terribly lazy (and I suppose it is), but the long grass was wetting my shoes, socks and jeans, and of course the diagonal rain was making everything else wet.

Scolton Manor
We deliberately chose to visit Scolton Manor this morning because of it being an indoor attraction – what we didn't realise was that there is a half mile walk (slight exaggeration maybe...) from the car park to reach the house. Pembrokeshire's County Museum is located in a traditional Victorian country house and surrounded by 60 acres of park and woodland. Until 1972 Scolton Manor was home to successive generations of the Higgon family and has been used as both a family home and a convalescence hospital for servicemen during the Second World War over the years. It now provides visitors with a taste of Victorian society and style, both above and below stairs. There were enough artefacts to make it interesting and the museum was small enough to hold that interest until the end. Each room had a very informative fact sheet, from which my personal guide (David) read out as I was busy taking photos. I love how well my new camera – and the 50mm f/1.4 lens in particular - copes with low light situations. Next door to the museum is a nice little modern café serving delicious cream teas!


Pemberton Chocolate Farm
At the suggestion of my friend Sarah (who was there last year and thoroughly enjoyed it), we headed for the Pembrokeshire Chocolate Factory, Britain’s only chocolate farm (not quite sure how you farm 'chocolate' in Wales though). We'd seen the signs for it a couple of days ago on the A40, and turned off the main road, then drove and drove and drove on the side roads without any indication as to where this factory might be.


Just as we thought we were on the wrong road and were about to turn the car around, a sign appeared confirming we were heading in the right direction. After around an hour's drive, we finally arrived at the factory, only to find they don't open until June! We were so disappointed, we had to buy some consolation chocolate from the shop – which was all that was open. The girl who served us was most amused when I explained that Sarah's mobile phone had decided to auto-correct Pemberton to 'perverted' when she text me the details. I think I prefer the idea of 'perverted chocolate' myself....

Lucy (our not-always-quite-so-trusted Sat Nav) took us down some super little side roads back to camp – I love the Welsh place names, they seem to be extremely economical with their vowels.


Pembrokeshire National Park

We even took a little detour up onto the wild and desolate Pembrokeshire National Park. I would hate to break down up here – I can just hear the conversation with the recovery company:
“Where are you?”
“I have no idea”
“What can you see?”

This place really is well out in the sticks – so much so that there are no sticks. However, the sun came out and stayed out most of the afternoon, making everything seem rosy again.


Carreg Coetan Arthur Dolmen (Burial Chamber)
Neolithic burial chamber dating from around 3000BC, with a 4m-long capstone supported by two of the four surviving 'legs' which might seem precariously perched until you consider that it has stood this way for thousands of years.


I loved the write-up on a Neolithic Portal website about the dolmen: “The reason for these structures has finally been solved; they are Gnome traps. We managed to entice this particularly persistent chap into the chamber with some mouldy pepperoni laced with whisky (irresistible to Gnomes) and then activated the device. These creatures create havoc locally, where they run around the gardens naked and rifle through the bins looking for cat litter (also irresistible to the little people) “

As the weather had cleared up so miraculously, we decided to make the most of it and light the BBQ back at the tipi camp, and toast some marshmallows to make s'mores. So many of my American and Canadian friends talk about this delicacy of toasted marshmallows sandwiched with chocolate between two biscuits. I'd not heard of it until the last couple of years, but can now proudly say I am no longer a s'more virgin! The name 'smore is said to come from the expression “please may I have s'more?”


Posted by Grete Howard 13:14 Archived in Wales

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