Wales

Newport Castle, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Last weekend, September 2017, we were in Wales, and we only had one day of exploring, but you can do a lot in a day.  On the way back from visiting the lighthouse at Strumble Head, in North Pembrokeshire, we were driving through Newport on the way back to New Quay, when looking right, I saw a castle.  Now….. we have driven through Newport several times, but I guess I have never looked up that particular road before, so it was a lovely surprise to see a new castle to me, in an area that we thought we knew really well.  There is no access to the Castle, as it is a private home, but you can get a good view from the road, or go further up the hillside as we did.  I would have loved to have got closer, but it is someones home, so I didn’t creep up the drive, hiding behind trees, but I so wished I could have done.

I also visited the church, which had some early photos of the church, but with castle and then the Tourist Board had a few more.  It’s always interesting to see some earlier references to theses ancient castles.

 

A little history…….It is suggested that Newport Castle was founded by the first Lord Marcher of Kemes, Martin de Turribus in 1191 and rebuilt by his son William at the end of the 12th Century.  None of this original castle survives, with the oldest remaining parts of the building thought to date to the late 13th century. The castle was captured by Llywelyn the Great in 1215 and Llywelyn the Last in 1257 but on both occasions was recaptured.  Ownership of the castle was transferred to Lord Audley in 1324.

The castle suffered extensive damage during the Welsh Revolt at the start of the 15th century. The castle was temporarily transferred to the crown when the then Lord Audley, James, was executed for high treason and all his lands seized in 1497, but these were returned to his son in 1534. William Owen of Henllys bought the castle nine years later.

A three-storey private residence was built in 1859 on the site of the castles gate-house, as part of renovations carried out by the owner at the time, Sir Thomas Lloyd, during which one of the flanking towers of the gatehouse was demolished. Three other towers at the corners of the building remain, along with a curtain wall.  A vaulted crypt adjoins the south-eastern tower.

The castle was listed with Grade I status on 16 January 1952. Today, the building remains in private ownership and is not open to the public.

Fishguard North Breakwater Lighthouse, Wales

The lighthouse that I had noticed on our way to Strumble Lighthouse, in Wales, September 2017, was in Fishguard Harbour which opened in 1906. The new development included a stone breakwater, extending from Pen Cw at the north end of the quay into Fishguard Bay. This breakwater was later lengthened to about 850m and a octagonal brick lighthouse, lower part black and upper part white, was constructed on the eastern end.  The light is operational and flashes green, every 4.5 seconds.

 

Aberaeron By Night, Wales

On a visit to Aberaeron, which is located between Cardigan and Aberystwyth in Wales, last week-end, September 2017, we went for a fish supper in one of the best fish and chip restaurants in Wales……..well we think so 🙂  After stuffing ourselves we went for a walk and I tried my hand at taking some night photos, not something I often do, but it look so pretty with the reflections of the lights in the water.  

I have added a black & white version, as I quite like both, not bad for a real first attempt, could be worse 🙂

Strumble Lighthouse, Strumble Head, Nr Fishguard, Wales

This weekend was our yearly visit to New Quay in Wales, to attend our ‘Welsh Family Reunion’ . I’m not sure how much longer it will continue, the oldest relation is now 91, and the rest are in their late 80’s, but we did have a wonderful family meal and enjoyed every second.  On Saturday we went to look for the Trinity Lighthouse at Strumble Head, near Fishguard, which is on the north west tip of Pembrokeshire.  I wasn’t quite prepared for how stunningly beautiful Strumble Head is and also, how in all the years of visiting, we had never been there.  Also the Strumble Lighthouse was perfect, perched on the small island of Ynsmeicel and is a great one for my ‘Trinity Lighthouse Category’

The one thing that I did find amazing, was the lantern room in the 55ft high circular stone tower, still has it’s original lantern.  I took so many photos to catch the flash, which I did a couple times out of many, but it was well worth it.  

The lighthouse was erected in 1908 and is reached by a small metal footbridge, which is gated with a large padlock.  The Lighthouse is automated so unfortunately there isn’t any access onto the island.

 

A Little About Strumble Head Lighthouse

Strumble Head Lighthouse stands imposingly on St. Michael’s Island (Ynysmeicl), an islet to the west of Fishguard, separated from the mainland by a very narrow gap through which the sea boils and froths in stormy weather.

The station was built in 1908 by Trinity House for the greater safety of sea traffic between Ireland and the new Fishguard Harbour which is located behind cliffs and a breakwater three miles to the east. The new light also formed a link with the existing South Bishop light, 29 km (18 miles) to the south-west. This stretch of coast is very dangerous, and some sixty vessels are known to have been lost along it in the 19th Century alone.

The original revolving lens system weighed 4½ tonnes, supported in a bath of mercury to reduce friction. A massive clockwork mechanism rotated it, driven by a 0.25 tonnes weight which, suspended on a cable, dropped gradually down a cylinder running from top to bottom through the tower and had to be re-wound every twelve hours. The optical system was replaced by more compact equipment when Strumble Head lighthouse was fully electrified in 1965.

Despite the footbridge to the mainland across the narrow sound, Ynsymeicl’s isolation and steep slopes set building problems typical of more remote rock towers. Building material and regular supplies were swung across by jackstay cable, between the winches near the cliff-top on the mainland and beside the lighthouse. The handrail of the footbridge and the steps to it also had a special purpose, as the pipeline to carry oil into the tower basement.

The lighthouse was converted to unmanned automatic operation in 1980.

The surrounding views are spectacular and really do need to be explored more on a longer holiday.

We also saw some wildlife, apart from the birds on the islands, a seal came to say hello.

On The Sea Shore

This is what I would have love to have done today, paddled in some lovely cold water, but this was taken in Wales 2016 of a family on the sand, but just looking at it makes me feel a little cooler.  We have had it hot again here in Norfolk, 4 days running of, 29, 31, 34, 33 degrees and with hotter weather due….. and no rain forecasted……hope not…..it will mean a hosepipe ban.  One good thing is that its so warm at night, we can work out in the garden until about 10pm, so getting lots done, but not a lot of time for blogging, but it will soon reverted back to a normal English summer……maybe.

Welsh Rocks

Every year we used to spend Easter in Wales, then we stopped, I think because there was too much traffic on the roads.  Well today, Good Friday, the traffic on the main road to the North Norfolk coast from the other side of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, was pretty horrific.  I have never seen so many caravans and motorhomes on the road in the ten years that we have lived here in the Fens.  It was a shame as no-one was going anywhere for a quite a while, thank goodness we were going the other way.  It looked like a mass evacuation and for once I was pleased we were not going away……we had a pre Easter trip two weeks ago.

 We had a good day despite the weather, three churches, two firmly locked and hurrah, one open.  Good Friday and two out of three churches locked.   I did actually think over Easter they would be open, but we were in Cambridgeshire, a county that I find most of the churches are locked.

A photo from a previous Easter Holiday in Wales.