My previous post on Wales was Walking the Coastal Path.
For Thursday we had planned an outing to Aberystwyth. From Aberystwyth, meaning “Mouth of the It’s OK, They Speak English, the pronunciation of Aberystwyth is given as: æbəˈrɪstwɪθ – now I ask, it that really helpful? To continue … from Aberystwyth we planned to take a ride on an old steam train on the Vale of Rheidol Railway that would take us on a “nostalgic journey through some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery”.” – I need to interject here – harking back yet again, to
So again we set off at 10.30 a.m. – this had become our norm; we just couldn’t seem to get moving any earlier – and we motored north along the A487 … but before long we veered off to follow a winding road to Porthgain.
This turned into a delightful sidetrack. It’s hard to believe that this sheltered little harbour was a bustling port in the early 1900s and home to a thriving slate and brick industry. We took time for a coffee in the Sloop Inn – “the social heart of the village, often referred to as the best pub in the county”, and enjoyed the works in the little art gallery.
We headed back up the way we had come and soon veered off again on ever narrowing twisting roads on our way to Strumblehead. It amazes me that narrow as they are, there is always a way to squeak by oncoming traffic. We came around one blind curve to find a shear drop-off on our right, a little unnerving but it wasn’t a long stretch before we found ourselves at the lighthouse at Strumblehead.
This lighthouse is situated on an islet—Ynysmeicl … forget it, I have no idea, but it translates as St-Michael’s Island. This islet is separated from the mainland by a very narrow gap that is bridged by a footbridge, which is closed to the pubic.
We headed along the High Street and arrived at the Library where we had learned there was something called the Fishguard Tapestry. Now I had missed the opportunity of viewing the Bayeux Tapestry in Normandy in 2008 which is a 230 foot embroidered cloth depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England as well as the events of the invasion itself. I thought the Fishguard Tapestry might be an interesting substitute.
The Fishguard Tapestry is 100 feet long, took four years to complete and is an embroidered depiction of the last invasion of England, which occurred in Fishguard in 1797. The Tapestry was completed for the bicentenary in 1997. It actually was quite interesting and we spent a bit of time viewing it.
On departing I asked the staff if the Tapestry had been designed for the hallway where it hung, or if the hallway had been designed for the Tapestry. Apparently the hallway was designed to accommodate the Tapestry.
Following that I suggested going another three miles or so to Newport, which I had read was a beautiful spot. But before getting there we had veered off yet again and got as far as Dinas Head and a place called Pwllgwaelod …as a comment to my previous post, I learned the pronunciation of this to be: pull-th-gway-lod (thank you to eyeonwales).
So, we’d had quite a day—ports and coves, art gallery and pub, winding roads, light house, all the way to Fishguard and the Tapestry … on checking the map once back in St-David’s I found that Fishguard is a whole 15 miles from St-Davids. It took us all day. So, back to our plan for that train ride out of Aberystwyth to the Vale of Rheidol. Aberystwyth is an additional 65 miles beyond Fishguard and we would have needed to arrive there for a 10.30 departure. Considering 10.30 was our usual start to the day we made a sad but wise decision to forgo that adventure.