Carn Ingli – A Walk in Wet Rain

The summit of Carn Ingli in the rain

My host at the Seaview Hotel in Fishguard explained that there are two types of rain in Pembrokeshire: the dry rain (which only wets your clothes) and the wet rain (which penetrates your clothes and wets you).

With rain forecast for the coming day, she said she hoped that I would encounter only the dry variety on my walk up Carn Ingli, the Mount of Angels.

In fact, my ascent of the holy mountain (in the 6th century the home of St Brynach) introduced me to a completely different kind of rain: the horizontal kind driven by a southerly wind that penetrated not only my clothes but also felt as if it blew straight through my body and out the other side.

By the time I reached the summit, following ever-narrowing green paths and clambering over increasingly slippery rocky outcrops, the wind made it very clear that I needed its permission to stand up without clinging on to something – and it wasn’t going to give it.

Everything I was wearing beneath my allegedly waterproof jacket was drenched. But I could hardly complain about being in this amazing place and finding myself thoroughly tested by the elements; there was a certain ecstasy here that Brynach would no doubt have recognised.

And then, to the north, I saw a rainbow, a beautiful gift that seemed to be a timely reminder that the rain and the wind would not beat down for ever.

Instead of descending and circling the Carn to the east and south as I had planned, I followed the rainbow – and sometimes treacherously sodden paths – across the moor, through the ferns, gorse and heather, with the wind at my back.

It blew me towards mist-covered Newport, but near the edge of the town I turned west to join the road south to New England which took me soaked but happy back to the car park near Ffordd Cilgwyn, below Carn Ingli.

Legend has it that those who spend a night on Carn Ingli either go mad or become a poet (is there much difference?). But if you spend the day there, particularly in the rain, tread carefully on grass and stone `– as you could end up neither a poet, nor mad… but in A&E.

The moorland around Carn Ingli is crossed by multiple paths and there are also car parks near Penlanisaf to the south and near Bedd Morris to the west – all of which makes it possible for you to plan your own circular walk.
The Seaview Hotel, Fishguard SA65 9PL, 01348 874282,

Horses turn their backs to the rain on the lower slopes of Carn Ingli

Nigel Summerley

Nigel Summerley retired from The Oldie magazine to return to freelance journalism. He previously held executive staff jobs at the London Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Express before freelancing for 20 years for newspapers including The Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian and the ‘i’ paper, plus a wide range of magazines. He continues to write about music, travel and health, and blogs at

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