Tuesday 30th May

North of the Island

PoniesWe plan an epic walk of six miles round trip to the north of the island. We kit ourselves with sandwiches, biscuits, Pringles, chocolates, from the pub.

Laura, Andrew make their way up the middle of the island - an easier path. They befriend the island ponies on the way, but the beasts stampede when a helicopter flies overhead.

Bernie, Jennifer, Jack and I follow the east coast route. We pass the Old Hospital looking for a secluded beach - Jennifer has plans on a "nudey" swim - fortunately the water's too cold and the beach rocky. 

Seal watchingI watch the others explore the beach from my vantage point by a Rhododendron tunnel. Jack examines rock pools - totally unaware of a seal watching him a few yards out - head bobbing. 
Jack - who sees everything - was outsmarted this time.
Nick and Jack on the rocks. Bernie, Jennifer, Nick, Laura and running child.We climb up the cliff and head for the central track to the north of the island. Meeting up with Laura and Andrew, we devour our sandwiches. We sit near the edge of the cliffs overlooking the lighthouse.

Jack and I scour the rocks for treasures.

The South Wales Pembrokeshire coast is clear - we see distant towers and cranes. We guess these are probably Milford Haven docks, 35 miles away.

Jennifer and Laura awaiting our returnJennifer and Laura bask in the sun - staying put, while the rest of us explore.

Andrew and Jack climb down to the beach and are greeted by six seals in the water, only ten feet out. 


North LighthouseBernie and I explore the lighthouse - similarly decorated with " keep out" signs and solar panels as its southerly twin.

The weather really is very pleasant and sunny.


Jenny, Bernie and I play radios. Jenny, Bernie are "class A" radio amateurs. We attempt to get a station running on 80 metres. We're not planning on this being a "DXpedition" or anything serious - just a shout to friends back home.

There is an ideal site in a field behind the Quarters. There's a 4 metre square concrete plinth with earth stake. Very useful. (The plinth was originally used for a wind turbine installed in 1982, but since removed.)

A kite is flown, pulling a long wire. This looks splendid. But tuning the aerial fails. Duff ATU? Try Top Band - No  match. 

As a mere "class B" I suggest using a useful book on growing tomato plants. "There's a copy in the Quarters bookcase". 

OK. Cut the length of aerial wire to form a simple quarter wave on 28 MHz. Now this should be dead easy. No.

50 Ohm dummy load - fine - lots of power.

What can be wrong? Give up. Get more beer! Complete abject failure! 60 radio amateur man years of experience. Probably the simplest component to design  - a short wave aerial - and we fail!

The moral - preparation!


Round of the evening by watching the sunset over the Atlantic (21:14) then beer in pub.


Astronomic twilight is all night long at this time of year at this latitude - the clear black moonless starry sky was littered with satellites. I dismissed flashing trails as aircraft navigation lights - until Bernie corrected me: these were spinning satellites. Their rotating solar panels reflected sunlight back. The flash really was a sinusoid. 

We unpacked Jenny's 8 inch Celestron reflector and set it up outside. There was just an incredible number of stars!

The finderscope was not fitted, so setting the polar alignment accurately was not easy. We'd leave that for another night when we would be clear-headed and sober. 

Tough! This was to be our last cloudless night!

previous   next   Entire Holiday   Planning the holiday   Images N G Hubbard, A N Hartland June 2000