The latest photographic hymn to Wales’ most westerly county to be published by Graffeg (via their Bird Eye Books imprint) began life as a series of social media posts – “a virtual coast path photo tour” that award-winning Pembroke-based photographer Drew Buckley conceived as a means of offering succour to those unable to walk it in person during the COVID-19 lockdown. The result, he stresses, is “not a definitive walking guide”; instead, it’s a coffee-table book to be enjoyed by a holiday cottage fire, as you dry off and warm up after a blustery clifftop walk, or at home in the depths of winter, when seeking inspiration for your next trip out west.
Buckley’s prose can be somewhat pedestrian, lacking in personality and quirky detail, and inevitably his focus falls firmly on the coastline’s wild, rugged beauty rather than on its industrial past and present (Goodwick and Milford Haven barely merit a mention), no doubt with the tourist market in mind. But most importantly, the images are consistently stunning, every page filled with the sort of knock-out picture you instantly want to frame and hang on the wall.
While fellow photographer David Wilson displays far greater interest in Pembrokeshire’s people, his landscapes pale in comparison to Buckley’s, largely due to the latter’s decision to work in colour rather than monochrome. So it is that Buckley is able to capture the deep blue of the Atlantic, the soft pinks and purples of the thrift and heather and – most spectacularly – the gloriously rich russet skies as the sun sets over beaches and crags.
Pembrokeshire: Discovering The Coast Path, Drew Buckley (Bird Eye)
Price: £30. Info: here
words BEN WOOLHEAD