Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Atlantic crossing (almost)

Tuesday 30 June 2015

This was the voyage we'd all been waiting for - our 11 mile Atlantic crossing to the island of Grassholm, then on to Ramsay Island. It was scorching hot with the clearest blue skies ever - so we had no doubts our boat would sail and hot footed it down bright and early to St. Justinians Lifeoboat Station near St David's, clutching our suncream and pre-packed snap.
We'd soon be 'sailing' - bit of music while you wait . . .
We were so excited!  A real adventure coming up on two islands
Had a closer look at the lifeboat while we waited
and those brave missions - which left me humming 'for those in peril on the sea' to myself for the rest of the afternoon!

So we were shocked to learn that the swell was too great around Grassholm to take the boat out!!!  Atlantic crossing hopes dashed!!
But, undeterred, the intrepid travellers set out on the shorter crossing to spend the day on the glorious Ramsay Island instead.
and what a wonderful day it turned out to be.  Purple foxgloves at every turn, deep blue seas and endless cloudless skies.  Bliss.
We set off across the island - cairns and distant views as far as you could see.
Seal and seabird spotting as we went
Felt like we owned the whole island - only a handful (or a boatload!) of other souls there.
It was magical to be able to walk round a whole island in a day - surrounded by glorious cliff, blue seas and an abundance of wild flowers.
And this has got to be the winning pic of the whole week . . .
Spot the fossilised dog?
 Ha ha - this was so funny too . . . look carefully . . .
 as more and more (including the two headed beast!)
 stags rose up from the bracken
Such magnificent specimens - and we were so close to them
This is what the RSPB board said we should have spotted
but did we?  You'll have to wait and see in a few days time . . .

So we sailed back to dry land and enjoyed a meander around St David's - smallest cathedral city in the UK.  Loved their 'City Hall'!
The lovely Cwtch in St David's where we will eat for our last night's feast . . .
Alison and Jeff's immaculate garden at Yr Hafan - with that ever tempting sea on the horizon
And to end the day, we popped into St David's for a really tasty Indian meal at Saffron.  
We found out on the news later that today was the hottest day of the year so far - 28deg

Welsh word of the day: ogof = cave
and to read on to Wednesday's adventures just click here . . . .
(or if you want to go back and start at the beginning of this holiday - then click here to go back)

Monday, 20 July 2015

the quest

Monday 29 June 2015

Yet another hot-sunny-blue-sky-day dawns!!  Sun tan lotion all round and off into the wilds of the Preseli Hills in search of the missing Bluestone that never made it to Stonehenge!

Legend, according to Roger Worsley's 'Pembrokeshire Explorer', has it that when the ancients carted off the bluestones from Preseli to deepest Wiltshire, to erect the innermost circle of 12 stones at Stonehenge, they damaged one en route and had to make the 12th up from sandstone.
However, they went back to Preseli and carved up a replacement 12th bluestone, complete with tooled sides and bulbous foot, ready to take to Stonehenge - BUT, for some unknown reason, this 12th stone was left abandoned in the Preseli Hills at the Carn Meini hillfort.

The quest of the awesome eight was to find this stone!!!! 
So, all for one and one for all, off we marched across the windswept, craggy hill forts in the steps of the ancient celts.
until we neared our destination - sustained by flapjack and bara brith and guided by a flurry of Duke of Edinburgh explorers, who pointed us in the right direction
This was what we were looking for - the said stone lying prone on the ground

and as we rounded the corner - what did we spot but . . . 
 the missing bluestone .  . . .
and here are the triumphant conquerers, astride said stone of great powers.
And compare this to the above sketch - uncanny!!
(Loved these eight rocks also craning to get into a photo!!)
So it was a descent to the plain and a quick viewing of Gors Fawr stone circle and standing stones
before retiring to the most amazing pub ever - the Dyffryn Arms at Pontfaen.  This is the CAMRA entry and in the CAMRA guide it has a special star as one of the rare remaining unspoilt pubs left in the UK,
 and what a gem - beer served from jugs through the little hatch.
and we managed to put the world to rights for an hour or so!
Loved this portrait of Bessie herself, the 85 year old landlady.  She was under the weather the day we visited, but it was nice to hear her chatting from her parlour alongside the bar. Her granddaughter served us, saying that Bessie wasn't too well today so she was helping out.
You can read about Bessie's 80th birthday celebrations back in 2010 here: Western Mail
I found this great video on Youtube which will bring the pub more to life
and this was the entrance
complete with sleepy hound
 and outside loos
So we tore ourselves away and headed back along the coast to Newport where we had time for a quick saunter down to this port before our cafe opened at six.  Note the grassy estuary bottom - the tide was out - and a few days later you'll see my pics when the tide was in - a glorious little port.
Back in the town, we discovered the fabulous Canteen - trendy and friendly and everything homemade with a cheery smile.  Take a look at their menu - I had the amazing Land of our Fathers pizza and glorious it was too!

Welsh word of the day: carreg = rock

Postscript - Want to know the EXACT location of the missing bluestone - look no further!

Why not read on to Tuesday's adventures by clicking here . . . .
(or if you want to go back and start at the beginning of this holiday - then click here to go back)

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Life without care

Sunday 28 June 2015

The adventure begins - and what an amazing week we eight had.  Wall to wall sunshine with friends from forever.
Breakfast to fuel us at Yr Hafan then off along little trodden lanes to find the Wales Coast Path - 87 miles in all but . . . small steps and all that ...
 To a wild rose . . .
 you are my honeysuckle - songs at every turn!!
and in all the hedges and hillsides, deep purple foxgloves - never seen so many - as striking as all the red fuchsia we saw everywhere in Connemara one summer 
Our path really felt like the road less trodden - "Because it was grassy and wanted wear" as Robert Frost said in his lovely 'The Road Not Taken" poem
Then suddenly our first glmipse of the Atlantic Ocean (or the Irish Sea bit anyway!!)
 Bird spotting pause - but more on this later (yes, Bryan - we kept a list!!)
 followed by seal spotting
 and he's down there somewhere - really!
 loved that this arch might become a stack at any moment!  Geography in action
 free fresh wind in our hair
  Abercastle nestled down below
 Carrreg Samson - our neolithic tomb (and thanks Vince for the brilliant pic)
with neolithic man taking a rest nearby
After which we had a welcome cuppa and cakes at the lovely little Mill Cafe in Trefin

and back to the ranch to plot tomorrow's adventure
before getting spruced up and off for dinner at the great fish restaurant - The Shed, Porthgain
 until night fell over the little harbour
Our 'Shed' shut up for the night and we wended our way back

Welsh word of the day: siani flewog = hairy caterpillar
And if you'd like to read on to Monday's adventures then please click here for Monday . . . .
(or if you want to go back and start at the beginning of this holiday - then click here to go back)