Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Castles, castles and more castles

Well at last I've managed to squeeze enough time to blog about my holiday in Wales. the photos are not in any particular order. For some reason the photos when downloaded came down jumbled despite there being in the correct order on the sim, ah well I suppose that's another job - putting them in order. I haven't discovered yet how you move photos around in blogger without deleting them so I'm leaving the photos be. Monday was a was a wet day and we spent part of it in Tenby. The harbour is pretty with painted houses and a beach on either side of it. Although that day the beaches were deserted. The town is at the top of the hill I(where else would it be) was full of frustrated, damp, parents trying to entertain bored, damp, youngesters carrying buckets and spades and floaty toys.
On the same day we called in Black Pool Mill which wasn't really worth the visit and Carew castle. Pembroke is full of castles, I thought we had lots in Durham but I think they beat us, we have more accessible beaches though. As I said it was raining and by this time we were sick of it going down the back of our necks, Carew had an interesting history but gave us little cover from the rain which was getting heavier. We went back to our holiday cottage to put our feet up and watch telly.
Pembroke Castle on the other hand was wonderful, this was a bright sunny day and it could have influenced our opinion but not by much. It's every little boys idea of a castle and there were lots of them around running up and down towers, hanging over battlements, peering down the dungeons. Much of the castle was destroyed during the Civil War when Cromwell's army blew up its walls. However in the 1880's restoration was begun and today much of it is restored. It is possible to walk through lots of connecting rooms and corridors leading to more rooms and towers. This was great fun for the children that were there. I just wish I'd taken my two boys there when they were small, I could have left them and gone back for them in a weeks time. Apart from missing someone to give them a meal they wouldn't noticed we'd gone.
We were staying just outside of a village called Bosherston (it got its name from the once time Lords of the Manor who were called Bosher). Nearby is Govan Head where St Govan landed in the 6th century. History has it that he was being pursued by pirates when a cave appeared in the cliffs. These same cliffs closed around him and hid him thereby saving him for posterity. In gratitude he then proceeded to build a church on the cliff path and lived there as a hermit and converting the heathen (that's Keith outside St Govan's church, Ithink he's lookng to see if he can get a mobile signal!!).

Rumour has it that the steps down to the church cannot be accurately counted and I know I got 76 and Keith got something else. It was amusing to hear everyone coming up the steps counting them, all different totals.
This sunset was just after a rainstorm, the sun came out just to leave us again - typical.

A typical Pembroke coastline, very similar in places in Devon, Cornwall and North East.
I said these weren't in order - Whittingham Castle fwe stopped here for a break on the drive down to Pembroke. Whittingham is in the Welsh Marshes (border country) and was one of the castles where the Marshall tried to keep the peace - or something like that.
Lower Fishguard where herring fishing used to be the local way of life, now it's tourism and second homes for people with boats. At the top of the photos is FishgardFort this was built to defend the port from Napoleon. Apparently Fishguard was invaded by the French but they didn't get any further into Wales.
We did find a beach that was accessible without a long climb down from above and it wasn't too far from where we lived. We came across Freshwater Beach on the way back from diner at the Hibernia Inn in Angle. There were lots of people hanging around in cars just waiting so we stopped to see what was going on. They were waiting for the waves to build up then out they went on their surf boards. The coast around here was a surfers coast unfortunately we left our skateboards at home.
This I found interesting, though you might not. It was a triangular hut on the top of the cliff at Freshwater Beach. It's a seaweed drying hut, not in use now but it was up to a couple of decades ago. The wives of the fishermen would collect the seaweed, leave it on the floor of the hut to dry (they'd turn it over at regular intervals) then sell it to shops to be made into lavabread. Well I thought it was interesting, Keith just grunted.

Barafundle Bay - castellated walls again and another steep climb down to the beach. The beach was completely devoid of people but pretty. It's on the StackpoleEstate and you can walk from here back to our holiday cottage if you have the stamina, we didn't.
Stackpole Quay, the smallest UK quay in daily use. These men were unloading crabs from their nets, some of the crabs got away....
One of the best places we visited was Castell Henllys (don't ask me to pronouce it can't get my tough round those double ll's) Iron Age fort. This place has apparently been on tv and I think I vague remember seeing it. The large hut facing you at the top of the picture would have been the headman's hut as the doorway has the best view and faces out over the valley. There were three large huts and a couple of smaller ones and several marked out for restoration. They do activites for children, paint their faces, show them how to build a hut, take them hunting for their dinners, baking bread etc. They are dressed in iron-age woollen shawls and all seemed to be enjoying themselves, wish I'd been a kid.

There is a communal fire outside as well as inside one of the huts. Inside the huts were painted with patterns, there were beds, tools, looms as well as a really good herb garden at the back.
On the way to Wales we got misplaced (no not lost, just misplaced) and found ourselves in Llanidloes. We decided to stop for a meal and have a quick look round and guess what I found!!!
The Minerva Quilt exhibition where SIX (Bobby Britnell, Laura and Linda Kemshall, Edwina Mackinnon, Catherine Nicholls and Marie Roper) were exhibiting. I was blown away by their quilts and came away with a cd of their work. I also found a quilting shop in Narbeth where upon I bought the fabric for the baby floormats. As yet though I've not put hand to needle, maybe tomorrow.


McIrish Annie said...

Looks like a fabulous trip! I LOVe all the castles. the only place we see castles in the US is at Disney WOrld!! LOL

Liz said...

That's funny, we ended up in Llanidloes too but on the way to North Wales!! It would have been funny if we were there the same day.... July 26th we were there...

MargaretR said...

It seems you had a great holiday in Wales as you would expect Annette :))
I love your photos and all those places you visited. I was at Narberth recently but that exhibition was not on then. Isn't it a lovely little market town?
How annoying for your M that they didn't admit to tearing her wallpaper!