It’s the Stackpole Quay car park in Pembrokeshire on a Wednesday in April. There are no other cars in sight, there are no car parking charges, and no other people with dogs. It’s cold and it’s wet but it’s peaceful and beautiful.
Compare that to Bank Holiday Monday at the end of May. The car park is full. Parking attendants are waiting to take your cash, and other attendants are directing traffic into the smallest of spaces, with calls from colleagues to “squash them in, any space they’ll fit”. This is after dodging traffic on the ‘quiet’ country lanes that had been deserted only a week before.
Holidaymakers come to beautiful Pembrokeshire from all over the country, all over the world. The scenery is nothing less than spectacular. It’s warm and sunny and the sea is flat calm. The water is a gorgeous blue-green and crystal clear. The car park leads off to Stackpole Quay itself, and to the coast path in both directions. Barafundle Beach – voted the best in Britain – is just a ten-minute walk away. The Quay itself has benches for sitting and admiring the view – and what a view. So can someone explain this to me please? Why do dozens of people unpack and eat their picnic’s, squashed between parked cars, with other cars for a view, and the sweet smell of exhaust fumes for their fresh air?
They’re not just grabbing a quick sandwich before heading for the beach though. Oh no. These are serious picnickers. Blankets are spread out on the ground, baskets in the centre and deckchairs placed around them. Some are reading books and newspapers, obviously aiming to be there for some time. But why? What’s the point of braving traffic jam’s, dodging car’s on single track lanes, paying exorbitant charges to park, in the best countryside and on a beautiful Bank Holiday Monday, to sit in a hot, dusty, smelly car park to eat your lunch? Are they just too lazy to walk to the nearest picnic table?
What a waste of a glorious day and the most beautiful scenery.