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].

2 Responses to “Hitchhiking Journals: Aberystwyth to New Quay, Solva, Pembroke & Carew Castle 1979”

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

  1. Comment by Manavi SiddhantiJuly 6, 2011 at 3:11 am   Reply

    Hi Sir,
    This has nothing to do with your latest blog entry but just you as a writer. I won’t claim to read all your books but the ones that I have have left an impact on me. The one that I still think is your second book, The Shadow Lines, which was your first to me- a part of my 3 year literature course at JMC, Delhi University. After writing for a commercial men’s magazine, I am currently working independently contributing to a few magazines while I try to write my first manuscript-a task so difficult, I wonder how you wrote so many. I wanted to meet you at your latest book launch in Delhi but couldn’t make it. Anyway, thanks for reading this, if you do.

  2. Comment by Srinivasan IyerJuly 9, 2011 at 9:07 pm   Reply

    Hi Amitav,

    I have been your admirer since I read ‘The Shadow Lines’ in my literature course in University of Delhi. I am currently readin ‘The Hungry Tide’. I noticed that while reading “Hitchhiking Journals”, your writing is markedly relaxed and devoid of any tensions that you as a writer probably faces while writing a work of fiction.

    ‘The Hungry Tide’ is laden with a tension that spawns a beautiful, heart-wrenching world of dolphins , tiger-gods, revolutionaries and so on. Would you agree that there is marked tension when you are writing a fictious novel? I am also referring to what you said once that you distrust a sentence in the event of its completion.

    I myself have long harbored the illusion of being a writer Amitav. My patience has not walked me beyond the 1st page. But i have always believed that i will write my first book when the ‘epiphany arrives’. Right now, the epiphanies are hitting me in small homeopathic doses (i am blogging regularly). I do hope to find my moment where i conjure up my impatience to realize my illusion.

    hope you read this
    Regards (very high)
    Srinivasan Iyer

Leave a Reply


ucuz ukash