The name Stackpole seems to have been derived from the stack at the entrance to Broadhaven, one of several tall stacks of rock on the shoreline, formed by the relentless surge of the sea against softer surrounding materials.
Stackpole is owned and managed by the National Trust and lies within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Having met a fellow photographer in the Walled Garden car park who told us puffins had been sited on the cliffs at Barafundle Bay, we were determined to find them. We set off rather unprepared for what was to be, an extremely arduous walk, well at least for me. Diane’s huge stride and mega fitness ensured our usual fast pace! As we walked by a lake I caught a glimpse of a rather bedraggled cormorant sitting on a branch over the water. He took no notice of our cameras and continued to preen himself whilst keeping an eye out for fish. As we continued to walk we both enjoyed and photographed the many isolated reeds sprouting up from the very still water. I liked their simplicity and abstract shapes.
We made our way up and down steep slopes and walked across two beaches stopping only briefly for a drink. As we walked, the path veered very close to the edge of the cliffs. We both felt wary of getting too close to the edge but when another photographer shouted, ‘puffin’, we both lay down with our lenses perched on the very edge. The solitary puffin was a just a tiny speck on the huge cliff face. It was difficult to get a good shot and as usual I could have done with a longer lens (and the muscles to carry and hold it). There were razorbills and guillemots all perched precariously on the ledges. A small crowd of people gathered, several of whom assumed we were wildlife experts and began asking us what the birds were called. Diane replied knowledgably, “They are razor blades!” Seemingly satisfied with the answer, they moved on. The little puffin disappeared into a small cave on the rock face and our attention turned to a lady who was perched on the very edge of the cliff. She was manipulating ropes although we couldn’t see who was mad enough to be climbing such a sheer rock face.
We were hot and tired and slightly daunted by the fact that we had a very long walk back. I was feeling the worse for wear and more than slightly concerned we were going the wrong way. Now keen to ensure we were taking the shortest route back to the car we asked two rangers which way we should go. It was another forty five minutes before we reached the car, having stopped to help a gentleman delete some pictures on his new camera.
We were now both very hungry and set off to find a local pub with a view! Following the helpful brown tourist signs we came upon the Jolly Sailor right on the banks of the estuary. Here we enjoyed roast Welsh lamb and a fabulous view!