Porthlleuog is an almost circular rocky cove tucked into the cliffs just east of Strumble Head near Goodwick.
It is only a mile or so along the National Park Coastal Footpath west of Carreg Wastad, where there is a memorial stone commemorating the abortive French invasion of Fishguard in February 1797.
Where it got its name is a mystery, unless the spelling has been altered over the years, as Porthlleuog means Lousy Harbour, which is not a bad description as it is virtually inaccessible to boats because of its rocky shore and high cliffs.
This north-easterly corner of Strumble Head is rich in historic and geological interest. Guarding its north-western entrance is a long rock called Carreg Gibi (Gibi or Gybi’s Rock) named after the Celtic priest whose name is also commemorated on the coast of Cornwall as Cuby and Tregonny and in Llangibi in Cardiganshire and Llangybi near Pwllheli in Anglesey, North Wales. Holyhead is in fact known in Welsh as Caergybi. This spread of the name of this Cornish priest reflects his long journeys north via Llangibby-on-Usk.
At Carreg Gibbi and across the little bay to the headland at Trwyn Llwyd (Grey Nose) the geologically-minded will find two classic examples of pillow lava flow low down in the cliff, resembling jumbled heaps of rounded bolsters, often in cross-section. These huge gobbets of lava were extruded through the sea bed and rolled up by small water movements, and are among the many fascinating and dramatic examples of Ordovician volcanic action to be found in so many places around the Pembrokeshire coast. In the accessible cove next door to Porthlleuog to the east is another geological feature, a large plug of glacial sands and gravel.
Tucked in under Trwyn Llwyd is another legacy of a wandering Celtic priest at Cnwc St Degan (St Degan’s Knoll) where the saint would have come ashore to found his little chapel just inland of the headland known as Pen Degan (Degan’s Head). He was also known as Tegfan and, like Gybi, is also commemorated on Angelsey at Landegfan. Part of the roof of the chapel survived until 1750 and there is also a well nearby which still bears Degan’s name. Some standing stones in a field just inland of the chapel have the appearance of antiquity, but they are believed to be simply 18th century rubbing stones erected for cattle.
No need to go into detail about the French Invasion of 1797 which is well-known and described in tourism leaflets, but it is worth making a diversion of a few yards off the footpath to read the words on the stone at Carreg Wastad a mile or so east of Porthlleuog. It is called the French Invasion but the French were being pretty naive if they believed 1,400 untrained, undisciplined and unreliable men, many of them mercenaries released from prison for the expedition, could carry out a successful invasion. Needless to say, they failed miserably.