Wednesday, June 20, 2012

if it ain't pembroke don't fix it

Here's a few snippets of potential interest to accompany my photographs of our trip to Pembrokeshire last week - be warned that the photo gallery contains an unnecessarily large number of photos of my beautiful baby daughter being impossibly cute and adorable in a variety of ways, for which I make no apology whatsoever.
  • We stayed at a cottage at Treseissyllt Hafod, which is available for hire via the Pembrokeshire Coastal Cottages website. Plenty of accommodation space, nice gravelled courtyard area for parking and barbecues, huuuuge kitchen, all very nice.
  • Just down the coast are the interesting beaches of Abermawr and Aberbach, both of which were presumably at one time your basic bog-standard little tidal harbours with estuarial mud-flats and the like, but following an enormous storm in 1859 (on the 25th of October, to be precise) now have high shingle banks shielding the area behind the beach from the tides, and as a consequence the protected areas are now little marshy nature reserves teeming with plant life and no doubt all sorts of fascinating creepy-crawlies as well.
  • In addition to all this Abermawr has a surprisingly rich industrial history, particularly for a place relatively inaccessible by road. Not only was it the landfall point for an early pair of undersea telegraph cables between Britain and Ireland, but it was for a while intended to be the terminus of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Western Railway (this eventually ended up being at Neyland, further south - the branch up to Fishguard was added later). There seems to be some dispute over how much preparatory work was actually done at Abermawr, but supposedly there are some earthworks which you can find if you take a walk in the woods in the south-west corner of the beach. We didn't really have time to do this, though.
  • An interesting feature of Pembrokeshire (and some bits of Carmarthenshire) is the historic enclave of cultural and linguistic (and possibly genetic) Englishness that exists in its south-west corner. This is colloquially known as Little England beyond Wales and its border known as the Landsker Line. This is 15-20 miles south of where we were staying, and is illustrated quite nicely by this map (from the excellent Strange Maps) of the distribution of Welsh speakers in Wales.
  • That is indeed a Buff that Nia is wearing in the photo - baby-sized Buffs are available in a variety of colours and designs. My advice is to go for the pirate bandana configuration (which is what Nia is sporting) as this offers maximum size adjustability for small heads.

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