vrijdag 19 mei 2017

Wild about Wales

Once again, the weather has been playing yo-yo. After we were treated to two days of 27°C and more on Tuesday and Wednesday, a nosedive of at least 10°C followed on Thursday.

So far, Spring has been a disappointment, and it hasn't been easy to get into holiday mood. No time to dither, though, as in only four weeks time we will be making our way to Wales again.





Over the years, I must have made well over a thousand photographs, which I've been browsing through to get me in the right frame of mind, and I thought I'd show you some of my favourites places in the process.

Why not start with this one of me, masquerading as a Welsh lady in traditional costume, at Devil's Bridge in Ceredigion?

For those of you who have been watching Hinterland, Devil's Bridge is where the body of Helen Jenkins was found in the very first episode.








We have been going to the same area, always staying at the same delightful little cottage-for-two, since 2011.

We have twice tried to break the habit and go somewhere else, but here we are, on the brink of our seventh visit.


Our first visit was in May 2011, and the minute we stepped over the cottage's threshold, we felt right at home. With its thick walls, the old cottage keeps out the day to day sounds of the outside world, while keeping it warm and cosy on a cool day, yet deliciously cool on a hot one.



Waking up under the eaves, the plaintive calling of the gulls drifting up the estuary is the first sound you hear, and from the bedroom's skylight window the ever-changing view of the estuary, over the roofs of the cottages which tumble down the hill, always invites you to stand and stare. And then stare some more!

The village, St. Dogmaels, is a delight too, its houses climbing the hillside above the meandering River Teifi making its way to the sea. and boasting the ruins of a 12th century abbey.



We are in Pembrokeshire, if only just, with the neighbouring county, Ceredigion, almost literally on our doorstep, on the other side of the estuary (the meadows and fields we can see from our windows).









Nearby is the large expanse of Poppit Sands, perfect for blowing away the cobwebs on the first day, when we're not inclined to venture too far, or for a short evening walk, watching the sun disappear behind the horizon and lengthen the shadows.











One of our favourite places is Mwnt, just over the border with Ceredigion, waiting at the end of a narrow country lane. Down a steep flight of steps is the beach, overlooked by the green hump of Foel y Mwnt, while at the other end there's a lonely whitewashed little church.


It was at the end of a blustery June afternoon, and ours was the only car left in the grassy car park.


Vying with Mwnt for my favourite nearby beauty spot is Ceibwr Bay, along winding up-and-down lanes from St. Dogmaels. Surrounded by tall, spectacularly folded cliff formations, it feels wild and remote. Another place to stand (or rather, as I did here: sit) and stare, wondering at the forces of nature which must have been at work to create a place of such drama.


About a mile along the coast path is the Witches' Cauldron, a collapsed cave where in rough weather the sea comes surging into, creating a boiling mass of water and spray.


From here, the nearest town of any significance is the small seaside resort of Newport. About two years ago, I made this nostalgic collage of photographs taken in and around the town, which our cottage's rental office, which is based in the town, liked so much that they posted it on their Facebook page.



We are skipping along in a south-westerly direction, rounding a couple of headlands, until we arrive at Aberreidy, famous for its Blue Lagoon, a small slate quarry flooded by the sea. It is the slate which makes the water appear such an unfathomable shade of sapphire blue.



Onwards to Whitesands Bay near St. David's Head. The sky was looking ominously grey on our first visit, giving the wet sand an unearthly colour. St. David's Head itself can be seen beckoning in the distance.




The weather was glorious on our way up for our second visit one year later.

Nearing Whitesands, however, we could see mist drifting in from the sea. As it wasn't looking too bad, we decided to proceed with our planned walk up to St. David's Head, but visibility became worse the higher we got.

We were supposed to see Coetan Arthur, a 4000-year-old Neolithic burial chamber, silhouetted against the sky, but we didn't, and in the end roamed from one rocky outcrop to another, getting slightly panicky until a gap appeared through the cloud, through which we could see the path we had come up on.

A shortcut down a bracken covered slope put an end to our attempted walk. We have plans for a third attempt next month!



Inland to nearby St. Davids. Although only the size of an average village, St. Davids is in fact Wales' smallest city, a status it has been granted because of its cathedral, which they have cleverly hidden in a little valley of its own, so that it cannot be spotted from the sea.

Further south, there is a choice of castle ruins to visit.

Carew castle (top) is standing on a ridge at the head of a tidal inlet of the Carew river.



Pembroke Castle (bottom), idyllically set on the banks of the river estuary, is a mighty fortress steeped in British history. Exploring the castle, you will meet figures of its former inhabitants, telling you their story, either in English or in Welsh. 


We often pushed the Welsh button, especially when there were other people around, so that they would think we were Welsh and actually understood what was being said.

Here I am in conversation with a brave Welsh archer: Bore da! Sut dach chi?

I'm definitely beginning to get into the mood for more Welsh adventures by now ...

However, the weather seems to be in a Welsh mood too, as it's started raining.

 Oh, well, here's what I think of that ...



26 opmerkingen:

  1. I have to confess to a personal interest in this post, Philip is half Welsh and his his father's family all live there, in New Quay, near Aberaeron. It beautiful isn't it, we hope to get over there ourselves this year. The photo's are beautiful. Noswaith dda (good evening) to you! Xxx

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    1. Diolch yn fawr! We have been to New Quay (it's about half an hour from where we are staying), and Aberaeron is one of our favourite places. It's a beautiful area, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed you will be able to get over there this year! xxx

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  2. Haha! I was reading along your marvellous blog post, admiring your lovely pictures...when I came to your last sentence. That photo of you is priceless! It made me laugh.

    Beautiful pics! I can see why your collage is on the rental cottage FB page...well done!

    Happy thrifting ;)

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    1. Glad I made you laugh! I came across that photo while I was browsing, and just had to include it ;-) xxx

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  3. You take such beautiful photographs. I can understand returning to a place year after year-particularly one that beautiful.

    I like that last photo!

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    1. Thank you Goody. My camera is a constant companion and I have a recurring nightmare that I've forgotten to take my camera on holiday ...

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  4. You've certainly picked a beautiful area for your holiday all these years. It's so nice when you find your happy place, we are like that about our caravan at Grange Over Sands in the Lake District. Xxx

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  5. It looks amazing there! What a wonderful place! And you're not so far away!x

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    1. It's a wonderful place indeed, and we just can't seem to break the habit of going there. xxx

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  6. Isn't it lovely to have a special place? I wonder if you have Welsh ancestry just like I'm sure I've got Indian blood.
    Your photos are fab, you can see your love for Wales shine through.
    When we watch Hinterland both of us say to each other that if you'd never been to Wales then watching that series would put you off for life, it looks so bleak and rain splattered!
    27°C? In my dreams! If the weather is anything like it has been here you'll need to pack an ark and a sou'wester! xxx

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    1. It looks especially bleak since it's almost all filmed in winter, but although it looks prettier in summer, the Cambrian Mountains are still truly wild and remote. But it's true that it always rains in Aberystwyth. It was raining both times we were there ;-) xxx

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  7. What wonderful photos Ann, and the collage is brilliant. No wonder the lettings agency used it!

    There is something lovely about returning to the same place again and again and both your words and photos spell that out so clearly.

    I do hope you have some decent weather and get to do your walk on the third attempt.

    Where do you go charity shopping when you're in Wales - I'm curious and you didn't mention it...

    Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Thank you Veronica. I really hope we can make it to St Davids Head this time. I don't think the area's brilliant for charity shopping, but there are quite a few shops in Cardigan, near where we are based, and Haverfordwest has an abundance of charity shops. xxx

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  8. These photos are lovely, and are of some of our favourite places! A few new to us too - never been to the Aberreidy's blue lagoon. It has indeed been a little temperamental weather-wise here in Wales - Friday was lovely and sunny, felt warm in the sun, but yesterday it rained heavily and felt decidedly chilly. Let's hope you get decent weather for your upcoming trip xx

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    1. Another lovely place near Aberreidy is Porthgain, where there's a lovely pub, The Sloop Inn, which does great food. xxx

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  9. totally see why you´r drawn to wales! that coast is just spectacular! and your fav cottage looks very cosy and inviting - and the view!
    congrats to that great compliment of using the collage for the rental office´s website - its a lovely vintage-y feeling that you created.....
    hug you! xxxxx

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    1. I really can't get enough of that view, and when it gets dark, you can see all the little lights twinkling in the village below. xxx

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  10. Lovely photos Ann. My nan came from St David's. Her whole side of the family came from Pembrokeshire and it's a place I would like to explore further. I hope the weather is kind for your holiday xxx

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    1. How fascinating, Melanie. The area's definitely worth exploring, Melanie, especially with the family connection. And Meirionwen would feel right at home! xxx

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  11. Ah, that looks lovely! My university (Lampeter) is in Ceredigion; it's a lovely part of the world. Devil's Bridge appears in the latest series of Hinterland too. Like Vix says, they do make it look really bleak!

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    1. Since you told me you went to university there, I always think of you when I hear the name Lampeter. Oh, and we're currently watching the latest series. We've actually been standing on that platform where Iwan Thomas's body was found ... xxx

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  12. mwahaha, such a lovely place to go for some walks and enjoy all those fab landscapes!, everything looks very inspiring!
    Wales is in my list of places to visit!
    besos

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    1. Wales is well worth a visit, Monica, if you're prepared to put up with a little rain ;-) xxx

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  13. Absolutely breathtaking, my kind of beauty! And your collage is indeed is very charming, I am glad they appreciate it and used it!

    Isn't it a great mystery how some places take over our hearts? I am in love with this whole area where we live, not even with just one specific spot, just all around this region, but especially with Puget Sound. It's forever. And for vacation, we also tend to go to the same places over and over again, especially when we go with our daughter - then for sure the gorgeous Oregon coast is in cards for us! Some think it's too touristy, but it isn't, we usually go off the season and streets are almost empty. And the parks are so vast that there is no way it feels crowded there.

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    1. Thank you Natalia. I'd love to one day visit the area where you live. And we always visit the Belgian coast the week after the school holidays have finished. Usually the weather is still gorgeous and most the tourists have gone home. xxx

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