Is the Route Ready for Pilgrims?
We are piloting the current route in Ireland with guided group tours. The full linear route is not yet ready for self-guided pilgrims as there is work required to install signage and waymarking which is planned in the coming year(s). In Ireland, any walking route has to be granted Sports Ireland Accreditation before being fully authorised and that process is being followed but does take a number of years. Until that time the route is not recommended for self-guided pilgrims.
The route is open in Wales for guided groups and self-guided pilgrims using the digital waymarking available through Outdoor Active until we get more physical waymarking in place. The route in Wales predominantly follows the famous Pembrokeshire Coastal Path from Goodwick to St Davids although there are some inland diversions too.
If you are on pilgrimage on your own it is a good idea to tell somebody where you are going and roughly what time you expect to arrive. Ensure you have set up emergency features on your mobile. The What 3 Words app https://what3words.com/ provides your location for emergency services within three metres.
Please note that the route in Ireland is mostly on road and there are places where it is necessary to cross busy roads. Please take your time and only cross when the road is clear. Not all sections of the beach route to Rosslare are passable at high tide. Please follow the inland diversions mapped on the digital route.
The route in Wales is mostly on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Please be careful on the cliff-top paths in Pembrokeshire, keeping well away from the edge especially when wet and when walking on country lanes in both countries, please keep a watch for cars. A walking stick or pilgrim staff is strongly recommended on the Coastal Path.
Please also be aware that there is no phone signal along most of the route in Wales and few convenience facilities (toilets, shops, food) so you need to take everything with you for each day’s walk. It is recommended that you download the Outdoor Active maps before venturing out.
And finally, it is not recommended to walk on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path in strong winds of any sort (offshore or onshore) or poor weather conditions due to the terrain and the proximity of the path to high cliffs.
Maps and Waymarking
The path is digitally way-marked already and physical way-marking is underway. You can download the digital map at Outdoor Active to enable you to find your location at all times. Once downloaded the map does not need a mobile phone signal to be viewed.
In Wales, 90% of the path is on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Coast Path. This path is already way-marked with an Acorn symbol and additionally with the Wales Coast Path shell. Where the path takes short inland diversions these will be physically way-marked with the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Path symbol.
Footwear and Poles
Walking boots with a strong grip are a must for the Wales stages as the coast path is rocky and slippy when wet. In Ireland, around 80% of the route is on minor back-roads so trainers/runners are fine there. If you’re doing both parts of the route in one go it might be a good idea to bring both walking boots and trainers/runners as the latter can be used away from the path too. We strongly recommend walking poles or a pilgrim staff as the Wales sections include many rocky ascents and descents that are slippy if wet.
Weather and Clothing
The weather in Ireland and Wales is very changeable and all four seasons can be had in one day even during the summer. Seven days forecasts can be found at Met Eireann (www.met.ie) for Ireland and the Met Office for Wales (www.metoffice.co.uk).
It is important to bring a lightweight waterproof jacket and over-trousers/pants. A waterproof hat that also provides shade is important. Factor 30+ sun-cream is a must for the summer as you can burn even on cloudy days. It is important to keep hydrated and as some of the path is remote we recommend that you take at least 1 litre of water with you each day. There are biting insects on the particularly in July so a deet-based insect repellent is a good idea.
Most people embarking on a long-distance pilgrimage will have concerns (however fleeting) about whether they are fit enough for the journey ahead.
Training is the key making sure that you are capable of the distances you need to cover on the terrain you are likely to meet. On the Wexford–Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way, you will find that the Irish side is mostly small roads and the Welsh side is mostly coastal footpath.
How Long Will It Take
We have broken the way down into nine stages (five in Ireland and four in Wales) each of which can be walked in a day if you are able to walk up to around 20km (12 miles a day). If you prefer shorter days it can be comfortably walked in two weeks.
Accommodation and Food
Locations of toilets are mentioned in each of the stage descriptions. There are some sections without facilities.
Virtual Audio Guide
You can listen to our virtual audio guide of the path by toggling on the Audio Guide button (denoted with a headphones icon) in the Outdoor Active app. This guide provides exclusive audio content at key points along the path and plays automatically when you reach each location.
Are There Guided Tours?
The path is suitable for dogs but they must be kept on a leash/lead at all times. Much of the coast path in Wales is shared with livestock in the field and cars can appear quickly on back roads in both countries.
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