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A Week in Welsh Wales!

 

At the end of Sepember we found ourselves with a weeks holiday and nothing booked. After a quick Google we booked a week staying in a watermill not far from Carmarthan.

1st of October found us heading West (and a little bit North) leaving Sunny Somerset behind for the Wilds of West Wales.....

We had to bribe the border guards at the bridge, but once they let us through we nipped into Caerleon for some lunch. While there we visited the Roman Baths.

The Baths are run by Cadw, and they've done a great job...there are even ancient romans swimming in the water....

The remains of the hypercaust that heated the steam rooms, or Calidarium

and the colourful mosaics that adorned the floors

There were computer games for the "kids"...of course we had to have a go...you could play in English or Welsh, well, when in Wales do as the Romans do...we played in Welsh of course

It didn't really matter what language we played in...Brian won anyway!! :-)

At last we reached our destination...the beautiful Godremamog Mill in Capel Irwin...it took about 2 minutes to know we'd definitely made the right decision!

We awoke on Sunday morning to this lovely view from our bedroom

and had a little explore of the Mill gardens before heading off for the day towards Carmarthen

After the travelling of the day before we wanted an easy day, so the Gwili Steam Railway sounded perfect, especially as they were holding a 1940s day...

There were Steam Trains....

Soldiers....

Storytellers...

Stations....

Seamed Stockings....

and Signs that had to be obeyed...actually, I'm probably breaking the rules by posting this...don't tell, will you!

It was the best way to spent the first day...not too much thinking required, and very entertaining.

Monday dawned bright and fair, so we headed for the coast, to the little town of New Quay, the town that inspired Dylan Thomas to write about the village of Llareggub (say it backwards) in "Under Milk Wood"

Strangely enough the residents seem to prefer his other description..."the hill of windows...." can't think why :-)

We took a boat trip out into the bay to search for dolphins...

There were basking seals....

and crashing waves....

What's that?!?!

Hoorah!! Dolphins!!

They put on quite a display for us...

:-)

Then it was back to the town for fish and chips on the beach

and a bit of people watching...

Who would believe it was the beginning of October?

On the way back to the mill we stopped at the closest town, Newcastle Emlyn, and eventually found the eponymous castle....it wasn't very new!

but we did find a rather friendly dragon.

And the castle was small, but very lovely...

According to legend the last dragon on Welsh ground was killed at Newcastle Emlyn...

...but one day an egg will be borne up the river in a coracle...

...and out will hatch a dragon,

Fulfilling Merlin's Prophecy....

We checked the river, but couldn't find an egg laden coracle, so we're probably safe for now.

Tuesday was our 14th wedding anniversary, and we were off to Cardigan

To visit the ancient St Dogmael's Abbey

and then up off the road to the even more ancient Pentre Ifan, a bronze age burial chamber.

This place was just magical!

And then by serendipity we came upon Castell Henllys, and iron age hill fort with reconstructed roundhouses.

"Who lives in a house like this....?"

Well, actually my good friend Anne Rickard did, as she and her family took part in the BBC series "Surviving the Iron Age" which was filmed here, though we didn't know this was the venue when we visited...they really don't advertise the fact.

There were little surprises around every corner!

We ended our little anniversary trip out in a perfect way...stood on top of a hillfort in the soft drizzling rain discussing the blue stones at Stonehenge, and the Incredible String Band with an archaeologist....OK so it isn't everyone's idea of a good time, but we enjoyed it! :-)

Wednesday dawned with a dampness supposedly typical of Wales, but neither we nor the late roses let it get us down. For Brian and me it was an "I've always wanted to do..." day...

I'd wanted to visit St David's Cathedral for many years, ever since I'd seen it on Blue Peter when I was about 9. Those of you who were at York already know that I'm a dedicated Church Crawler, so the lure of the Cathedral was strong...

...but what we didn't know about was the stunning Bishop's Palace!

This must have outshone the Cathedral next door in it's heyday!

Just a few of the many carvings decorating this astounding building...I loved the mermaid :-)

We were worried that the Cathedral would be a let down after this....

...but it wasn't!

Amazing detail in the decoration.

Bishop Gower, the one responsible for building the amazing palace...I must admit I couldn't help wondering where the money to build it had come from....

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of very old graffiti that is visible in our ancient cathedrals and churches...as if someone's gone along and thought "I know...I'll just carve my name on this amazing piece of masonry..." can you imagine it happening today???

A few of the Misericordes in the choir...there were lots more, but it was very dark, and it didn't seem right to use flash....

and the lovely ceiling above the choir.

Brian's "treat" was a visit to Pembroke Castle. He'd visited Pembroke for work some years ago, but had never been able to do any sightseeing, and now was the perfect opportunity to visit that imposing castle...

there were lots of towers to climb, each one seemed higher than the last...

until we reached the top of the Great Keep, we really were above the whole castle here! But as you can tell, the weather was deteriorating badly, so we headed back down the spiral stairs...

and underneath the castle, where there is a large cave. There is evidence of habitation in the cave from the stone age...though why they would want to live down here when there was a great big castle above their heads I don't know.... ;-)

And back again to the daylight.

Pembroke Castle is the reputed birthplace of Henry Tudor, who went on to become Henry VII. This rather cozy reconstruction is probably not what his birth was really like!

They seem to have forgotten that his mother, Margaret Beaufort was married at age 12 to a man twice her age. She was widowed aged 13, 2 months before her son was born. The birth was so traumatic that it probably left her infertile, for although she married three more times during her lifetime she never had another child, but devoted her life to promoting this precious son.

(History lesson is now over...sorry about that - I get a bit carried away at times!)

One last look at these wonderful walls before we head homewards to the mill.

Thursday arrived bright and blustery with scudding clouds, and the seaside and steam trains were calling us again...

The views were breathtaking as we headed towards Aberystwyth

and the reason for the journey! This lovely narrow guauge railway climbs 700ft in the 11 miles from Aberystwyth to Devil's Bridge. If you're up that way, do take the journey...

The views are glorious

and made even more so on this day by the ever-changing light.

Chuffing....

all the way to Devil's Bridge (if you're English) or Monk's Bridge (if you're Welsh).

And the Bridge(s) that give it the name. The top bridge dates from 1901, the middle bridge is dated 1708 and the lower bridge is 11th century, bulit either by the Devil, or by the monks from the nearby Strat Flora Abbey, depending on which legend you believe.

A slightly closer look at the 11th century bridge.

The Devil's Cauldron, carved over centuries by the astounding power of nature!

The View from the bridge...it was a long way down!

Just look at those amazing trees...

Time to head back again...

more beautiful views...

These horses seemed to enjoy racing the train.

Back in Aberystwyth the weather was very windy, giving a very dramatic seascape.

Definitely not a day to go dolphin watching...so glad we did that earlier in the week :-)

Friday, and sadly the last day in our beautiful holiday home...where to go? Well we'd only been to 2 castles, and it's bad form to go to Wales and not go to at least 3, so we decided to make up the difference with a visit to the nearby Cilgerran Castle.

Oh look, a spiral staircase...up we go!

And the view from the top :-)

Inside the tower.

If there's a pillary to be found you have to put your husband in it! It's the Law!!

Then back down the woodland path

To the River Teifi...

Himalayan Balsam...yes I know it's an alien weed and it's taking over our river banks, but it IS pretty :-)

On our final afternoon we decided that since we'd been staying in an old mill we should maybe head over to the National Woollen Museum to see hoe the Mill would have looked in it's working days...We expected a small static museum...how very wrong we were. The National Woollen Museum is a working Wool Mill, still producing cloth in the traditional way.

The willowing machine starts the process of refining the fleece to be spun.

The carding machine continues this until the fleece is soft and smooth.

An older carding machine made with teazles all the way from Somerset! (Hoorah!!)

The Spinning Mule, spinning the fleece into yarn for weaving.

And the weaving looms...

...These were so noisy...

Making up...

And a sample of the amazing work that can be produced on a weaving loom.

Loved this fantastic museum...so glad we made the effort to get here.

All too soon it's Saturday again, and time to leave our lovely retreat....

Back across the Brecons,

and the Black Mountains...

No need to bribe the border guards going this way...back home to England across the Severn.

So Farewell to Godremammog Mill, thank you for some wonderful memories...I think we'll be back another day :-)

  Well if you've managed to get this far, thank you for your patience and perseverance! I think you can tell we had a lovely holiday, and if you want to visit that way Godremammog Mill is a perfect retreat. We'll definitely be going back.

Thank you for looking - I hope you enjoyed a little trip around beautiful West Wales!

Jacqui x

0 people like this.

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Date Sun, 23/10/2011 - 16:49
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Hello Jacqui.

I didn't peek, I just want to wish you luck.. We are going to loose some great bloggers if this carries on much longer.  Stick at it girl. XXX

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Date Sun, 23/10/2011 - 18:16
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well i did look, very interesting so far, I had trouble with my blog as well.

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Date Sun, 23/10/2011 - 18:30
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I will add words eventually...there are still another days worth of pics to go up! Smile

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Date Sun, 23/10/2011 - 20:00
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So far looks like it's a great blog x look forward to the finished project x

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 14:51
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 Hi Jacqui. Had to have a look in. Recognised all the places. Hope you enjoyed your ride up to Devil's Bridge. Will call back sometime when finished.

Best wishes  Christine

Christine Smile

  new Blog       http://www.myfinepix.co.uk/blog/1424

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 19:30
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Getting there slowly! Smile

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 21:32
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I am so glad that you persevered and successfully downloaded this blog.  It has to be the best one I have seen.

So much of interest and such good narrative.

One thing that puzzles me though... Why did it take as long as 2 minutes to know that you had booked the right place to stay?  I would have known in ooooh.... about 0.2 seconds.

Wink

Wonderul.  Truly wonderful.

Bokeh

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 21:38
Comment

What a great time you must have had Jacqui and thanks for your patience compiling he blog so we can all enjoy it.

Some great pictures and narrative made me feel I want to visit quite a few of these places. Well done and thanks for sharing.

Alan

Bokeh competition entry - http://www.myfinepix.co.uk/competition/entry/697953

 

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 21:54
Comment

this is EXCELLENT!!! never fancied going to Wales till now.

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 21:55
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What a fantastic blog, possibly the best I've ever seen on here!  I know 90% of these places too, and it's lovely to see them again.

Liked (Loved)

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 22:03
Comment

Wow!! Jacqui, that's a blog and a half!! Superb stuff.

The photos are stunning and the narrative is really interesting. Thank you for persevering cos it was well worth it.

Viv

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 22:08
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A very interesting and informative blog.  Thank you for taking me on this lovely journey.

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 22:08
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Not a blue sky to be seen...and so much the better for it !

You've caught some very dramatic scenery and images which just wouldn't have looked half as good in bright sunshine.

Excellent blog and a great advert to help the Welsh Tourist Board attract even more foreign invaders to sample the delights of the Land of the Dragon

Cheers Stuart

 

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 22:16
Comment

Good blog Jacui the only thing i would say if it was me i would have made it into a 2 parter or even 3 parter thanks for sharing and taking the time 

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Date Mon, 24/10/2011 - 22:33
Comment

Well, I never, Caerleon is on my doorstep, what a shame you didn't give us an itinerary.  The Beacons too, both places we could have had afternoon tea together.

Every place you have photographed here, I would place a bet I have a similar one.  Strange thing life, ships that pass in the night and all that.

Anyway, glad you enjoyed my country, come back soon.

Jen xx

I wish I was a Glow Worm, a Glow Worm's never glum, 'cause how can you be grumpy, when the sun shines out your bum?

http://www.myfinepix.co.uk/competition/entry/688492

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Date Tue, 25/10/2011 - 02:34
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What an excellent blog really enjoyed this a like from me. Thank you for sharing

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Date Tue, 25/10/2011 - 07:28
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Hello Jacqui, came back again.  Well done on getting it all posted.  By the response you are getting, I guess you think it is now all worth it.  Let's hope many more come by the see a brilliant, informative and well put together photoblog.  XXX

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Date Tue, 25/10/2011 - 10:20
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 Came back to see the finished item Jacqui. And it's lovely, if I could like it again I would. I loved comparing your photographs with the ones in my blogs. You were very brave putting them all in one I think I did it in Three. lol

Regards  Christine

Christine Smile

  new Blog       http://www.myfinepix.co.uk/blog/1424

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Date Tue, 25/10/2011 - 18:47
Comment

re visiting blog,fantastic variety of pics, well worth the wait for the narrative, lovely photos, thanks for persevering. well liked.

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Date Tue, 25/10/2011 - 18:53
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Super, super, Jacquie.

Really one of the most enjoyable blogs ever. So many fantastic photos and varied subjects. Really loved it.

Thanks.

Monty.

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Date Tue, 25/10/2011 - 18:57
Comment

Great work/blog. Devils bridge been wanting to go back there for years. Still one of the most stunning places in the UK. I love wales spent most of my teen years camping all over wales.

Liked and faved.

Phil.

This Post May Contain Nuts  Wink

http://www.myfinepix.co.uk/gallery/245884

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Date Tue, 25/10/2011 - 19:17
Comment

What a superb blog Jacquie, I'm glad you persevered with it.

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Date Tue, 25/10/2011 - 19:42
Comment

Is your surname Tolstoy, Jacqui ? this is an epic blog,a very enjoyable epic though,very well done Smile

 

 

Flickr Page

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Date Wed, 26/10/2011 - 12:25
Comment

What a blog, I hope I don't offend but al blogs should imho now aspire to be this full and informative.  Some superb pics and narrative, shadow the other best blog i've had the pleasure of reading/viewing.

All the best

Please feel free to check my gallery :-    http://www.myfinepix.co.uk/gallery/351672

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Date Wed, 26/10/2011 - 22:22
Comment

Well Jacqui I don't think I can add anything else to what has already been written!

thank you for taking so much time and effort to put this brilliant blog together Smile

gallery http://www.myfinepix.co.uk/gallery/62093 ;

Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitedove7/

still checking on you all every now and again !!!

 

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Date Fri, 28/10/2011 - 22:33
Comment

you should publish it, fantastic blog, Tourist board would do well by you

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