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Hitchhiking Journals: Aberystwyth to New Quay, Solva, Pembroke & Carew Castle 1979

July 5, 2011 in Hitchhiking journals | Comments (2)


March 31st morning: Set off from cottage in thick fog at about 9.30 am.







Quick lift into Aberystwyth from 2 people who run an anarchist health food shop. Looked around a bit and then another lift from a girl student to Blaenplwyf (?); and another to Llanon from a construction worker; then a student (of something technical at Aberystwyth) – student friendly but v. smelly – to Aberaeron. Another to Llanarth from a young fellow who was a student of history at Aberystwyth; is now working in Prince Charles’s Environmental Foundation; much interested in local history (13th century church at Llanarth disappointing).

Llanarth Church, Wales













Then part walking, part bus to New Quay; hoping to make it to Bird’s Rock in time to see the birds. Not possible; had to turn back because of thorns. Difficult finding a lift out of New Quay but eventually got one from a man who’d won his bets on all four races in the Grand National. New Quay very pretty – magnificent coastal views; lots of cliffs – but too many tourist caravans.











From New Quay, a friendly, fat Welsh truck driver gave me a lift to Aberporth; an Englishwoman took me into Cardigan and an elderly Welshman took me straight to Fishguard.

Fishguard grandly situated on a cliff. Staying the night in a bed & breakfast. Weather grey and misty in the morning; bright and sunny after New Quay.

Left: £ 25.50.


1st April 1979


Left Fishguard at about 9 am. Had to walk 1 ½ miles to get out of town. No traffic. Sunday morning. Thought I wouldn’t get a lift but a farmer took me about 5 miles and then went out of his way to take me a little farther. Then, after walking for a while was picked up by a middle-aged lady who’d come to Fishguard to get the Sunday papers. She and her husband sell Sunday papers at St. David’s.

St David’s, Wales








She took me into the centre of St. David’s (out of her way) and showed me the Cathedral.


St David’s Cathedral


She complained a lot about tourists and visitors buying up houses in the area.







St. David’s Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace gorgeous beyond description.


Took lots of pictures and attended service. Very bad choir, and impossibly banal curate. ‘Jesus saves, that’s why he’s called the Saviour.’ ‘Love Jesus and ask yourself why you follow him and you’ll find it will make a difference to you personally.’ Etc. etc.

interior, St David’s Cathedral



Afterwards met an elderly man who’d been at the service too (they sang Psalm 69 – beautiful) and he said he’d been a planter in Ceylon for 35 years, till nationalization. Now teaches in a Sussex girls school. Will soon be retiring and going back to Ceylon for a holiday. Nice old man. Also a nun who was very friendly and helpful – wanted me to be sure to go back to India unlike ‘all the others who stay’ so that I could ‘take it all back’.





St. David’s to Solva and then (after a lot of walking) to Haverfordwest. The young man (30) who gave me the lift was a folk singer who’d been to college in London and then gone to Zambia. Had traveled extensively in Africa before finding a job in London, finally settling in Solva (which is a beautiful little town).








From Haverfordwest a lift straight to Pembroke

Pembroke Castle


with 40-ish plumber with the most wonderful Welsh accent and voice. He’d been a paratrooper and gone to Kenya in the 50s ‘when Kenyatta was kickin up like’; and helped to put down the Mau-maus. Was also in Kuwait.




Pembroke Castle was closed.

Carew Castle

Took a bus to Carew Castle – amazing.

Battlements, Carew Castle





Interior, Carew Castle












Carew Castle, staircase

And then straight lift to Carmarthen with a young welder and his wife. Their friends were following close behind on motorbikes. Very nice people – with lilting Welsh accents.

Couldn’t get a ride out of Carmarthen, so am spending the night in the Ladies Waiting Room in Carmarthen Railway Station, having persuaded the Supervisor that I could go nowhere else.

Weather began gloomy, but have had patches of sunshine all day long – and only a few drops of rain in Pembroke.

[Left £ 21-50].

Hitchhiking journals: Oxford to Worcester and Aberystwyth, 1979

June 16, 2011 in Hitchhiking journals | Comments (0)


March 30, 1979

Left Oxford this morning with £ 31- 60 in my pocket. Caught a bus from the Queen’s Lane stop to Woodstock (left my gloves on it) and walked a little way to start hitching. First lift was in a big van, heading towards the north, Manchester and Birmingham. Took me as far as the junction of the A44, where it goes on to Chipping Norton. Waited there about 15 min and got a lift from a young man – a computer analyst who’d studied at Birmingham. Said he’d returned from a holiday in India about three weeks ago. Talked about India, politics in England etc. He was staunchly Labour and left-wing and wanted England to get out of Ireland. We drove through beautiful Cotswold country and lovely villages – esp Broadway. Dropped me at a village called Pershore.

Middle-aged, ruddy faced teacher in an old jalopy picked me up next (without my even putting out a thumb), and took me to Worcester.



Spent a long time looking around the Cathedral.









The caretaker came up and showed me all over, without my asking.











Took many pictures.

Nave, Worcester Cathedral


Had trouble getting out of Worcester. Finally took a bus a little way out of town. Picked up by a lady with a forceful manner. Said she had a son at Lancaster Univ. and another who works as a village policeman. Said about India: ‘We get to hear so much about the very poorest Indians, we never realize that there is a middle range too’. This was accompanied by a meaningful look. Didn’t take me far though and I had to wait a long while until an elderly chartered accountant picked me up and took me to Bromyard. There I was given a lift by a battered old lorry. Driver Welsh, with wonderful accent. Very friendly; home and family in Knighton. Dropped me outside Leominster and was picked up by another truck – driver in his 40s, pleasant but reserved. Drove through beautiful half-timbered villages – crooked little houses on crooked little streets – unbelievably picturesque. Dropped me at Crossgates and was picked up there by a sports car, driven by a distinguished-looking man with white hair. Said he was a radiologist and had been taught by Chris Simon’s father. We stopped for a drink at a pub and he offered to put me up for the night at his cottage (he was on his way there when he stopped for me). I’m at the cottage now – it’s a long way off the main road and has a wonderful view. Can see the sea.



He’s won an M.C. [Military Cross]; sails a lot; is obviously prosperous. Has two children – a son in Birmingham U. studying medicine; daughter in Cardiff, studying optics. Cottage charming – 14 miles from Aberystwyth. Will drive me out to the main road tomorrow.

He won the MC in Suez, rescuing trapped soldiers. Objects to war, was doing this for medical reasons. Very nice man; told stories about the Indian doctors in his area and how Indian they are.

Weather dull and grey in the morning, but no rain. Almost bright in the evening.


[Left with: £28 – 86 ½ : 1.50 on film; 40 p. on Cathedral booklet; 52 p. on bus tickets]


Aberystwyth, Wales

[to be continued…]



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