Ramsey Island and Whitesands Bay

image1847029452.jpgMichael, mum, dad and I took an ‘Exciting Jet Boat Adventure‘ around Ramsey Island, leaving close-by from St Justinians.

Explore the caves, venture through rocky gorges and across some of the strongest sea currents onboard our powerful, shallow draft, water propelled jet boat. Experience the swirling currents and turbulent water in Ramsey Sound. Marvel at some of the highest sea cliffs in Wales. Search for our resident Harbour Porpoise, the Atlantic Grey Seal colony and hundreds of seabirds. There’s also a wildlife guide onboard.

Apparently we timed our trip well, as in two weeks almost all of the nesting seanbirds will be gone. We saw guillemots, oystercatchers, razorbills, auks, cormorants, kitehawk, fulmars and a buzzard. Seagulls were circling waiting to pounce on any undefended chicks. The guide was excellent and had a dry sense of humour, so we had a good time. Michael and I sat behind mum and dad, using them as an effective winbdbreak. There were only eight passenders on board the 500hp Ocean Ranger which jetted across the water pretty fast. After leaving St David’s Lifeboat Station, the boat made a couple of sharp turns, pitching nicely! We had a look at ‘The Bitches’ rocks, jagged, serrated and nasty. The guide told us that the tide reached up to 15 knots over them, the almanac in the pub said 6 knots at springs. Fast either way. We saw The Bitches at slack water, and at the end of our hour tour when there was already an impressive race over the rocks.

The skipper was great an manoeuvring the jet boat into the coves and bays of Ramsey Island. We went completely into a small cave, which will be used in the autumn by seals having their pups. We saw quite a few young seals on our tour around the Island.

Very enjoyable trip. Ramsey Island would be well worth a day visit. According to the guide when Ramsey was operated as a commercial farm, sheep, cows and horses used to be tied together and swum to the mainland. Pigs lacerate their throats with their trotters when they are swimming, so they ended up being floated across in barrels. Another tall tale? 🙂

We picked up Elisabeth from the cottage and visited Whitesands Bay and had lunch in the little cafe there. The weather was sunny but a bit windy. Spent an hour at the beach, on the little picnic tables.

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Michael and Whitesands Bay
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Jetboat tour otf Ramsey Island


image1653886244.jpgDad made another fry-up for breakfast, and we had a leisurely start. Drove to Porthgain to check out The Shed for dinner tonight. Porthgain is a lovely, tiny harbour and The Shed is a big building in the middle. Sadly The Shed was closed today, and open tomorrow subject to bookings, so that wasn’t encouraging. We checked out The Sloop Inn, which Sarah recommended. Lots of seafood on the TV screens for specials, but we decided against eating there this evening. The weather picked up over midday and we settled on a BBQ for the evening, saving my driving.

Fishguard was a bit confusing when we arrived—ended up at the Ferry terminal looking for the old harbour. Stopped for lovely tea and cake at No 14 coffee shop, sitting in the sun in the garden and sharing a selection of cakes. Mum had a bottle of lager with her cakes. Drove down to the old harbour after tea, which is lovely. Fishguard seems like a nice town, but not great for the visiting tourist.

Back to St David’s, where Michael’s mum went shopping enthusiastically in the National Trust shop. I left mum and dad in the city to explore on their own, and picked them up again at 5.

Lovely BBQ in the evening. Michael served a moscato from piedmont as an aperitif, which was great. Started with a couple of crabs with samphire, which was gorgeous on wholemeal toast. The crabs came in imitation plastic shells which was a bit of a shock. I can’t understand why they’d be prepared like that? Anyway, the crab was very good. The BBQ was cooking a bit cooler than earlier in the week and we had to toss on some more charcoal mid-way through. I think the food was on for about 45 mins in the end but was cooked through nicely. BBQ’d some slices of pineapple as a desert, and there was just enough heat left to finish these.

Mum, Michael and I walked the Coast Path to Whitesands after dinner, and watched the sun set. A lovely still, warm evening. Eton Mess awaited our return 🙂

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St David’s Bishop’s Palace

image258720367.jpgDad made a hearty breakfast this morning (he was the only one that could face black pudding). We spent a few hours visiting the Bishop’s Palace, at the end of our road in St David’s. The 13th C Palace is very fine, the main rooms on the first floor, with an impressive undercroft where the beer, wine, food and servants were kept. The building has lovely corbels and also a great checker-board tiling pattern which looks great now and must have been very dramatic 500 years ago. I liked the kitchen, which was separated into quadrants each with a vaulted chimney that covered the area of the kitchen. The carvings and checker-board pattern made great use of lovely deep purple Caerbwdy stone, which would have looked dramatic against whitewashed walls.

The palace was built for the powerful Bishops of Wales as one of their state homes. It fell into disrepair when the bishop who really developed it, Henry de Gower, died and later Bishops preferred their palaces at Bridewell in London.

We were impressed by the wheelchair access for Elisabeth, including the lift to the first floor and stair lift into the restaurant. Had lunch in the refectory which was good (but not cheap!). I had a cheese and laverbread quiche. This was a special for Pembrokeshire Fish Week and was good (but not enough seaweed!). The sandwiches were lovely (and huge). We had a wander around St David’s Cathedral after lunch, which is interesting: the floor and pillars are on a slope and the tombs inside are vell maintained.

Made it back to our holiday cottage just as the rain started, to find that the neighbours had taken our washing in and folded it up and left it for us (dry) in a black plastic bag. Very kind (and they joked with us that they didn’t have time to iron it for us too).

Had to get a locksmith out to unjam the yale lock on our front door in Cambridge to let the person feeding our cat in. Again our neighbours (in Cambridge) were marvellous.




Enjoyed my fun birthday meal at Cwtch*, a modern restaurant in St David’s. Cwtch means a hug, or safe place in Welsh. Michael had arranged fir birthday glitter on the table, which was a lovely welcome. We started with cocktails—Mayflower Martinis for Michael and I that had apricot brandy and elderflower in it. quite sweet. Lots of fish on the menu and I had a smoked haddock and cockle fish cakes to begin. Michaels cold, rare welsh black beef was very tasty too. I had tasty brill on a bed of laverbread risotto, which worked well. Michael had hake with clam chowder. Quite rich.


Tweets this Week (2010-06-27)

  • Rather sad bookshelves in iBook. Waiting for Winnie the Pooh, then will search for some poetry. http://tinyurl.com/3yzwnng #
  • Nearly at Bicester for a night with Tony. Missed Coffee Bean Roundabout on our way through Milton Keynes because we went the 'North Route' #
  • Stopping for lunch at the White Hart at Littleton-upon-Severn. Good drive from Bicester. #
  • Just crossed the Severn Estuary. Lovely views. #
  • We're in Wales! #
  • Arrived in St David's, barn is lovely. Weather is lovely. 🙂 #
  • Wales smells lovely: fetched my towel in from the misty washing line, and it smells of the sea and the sky. Beautiful. #
  • We think we're on a duck farm, from all the quacking that's going on outside. Didn't expect a duck farm by the sea #
  • #MapCard
    Hafod y Gwynt for my birthday
    http://twitpic.com/20ey29 #
  • I'm at Cwtch, 22 High Street, St Davids http://www.qype.co.uk/place/1335487 for a birthday meal. Having a rather camp mayflower martini #

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St David’s and Solva

image790715174.jpgSpent a couple of hours in St David’s yesterday exploring the town. Lunch at The Grove, which was good and explored the shops. Stocked up on some huge steaks of Welsh lamb for BBQ and some Pembrokeshire new potatoes. Finished with an ice cream in the market square in the centre of town. St David’s is a lovely village with winding streets and every pub looks lovely. Hope to get a chance to try a few!

We drove down to St Justinians on the coast, but there was nowhere to park, so we came back to the barn and walked across the fields to get to get to the beach at Port Selau. Elizabeth stayed at home, and my Dad wished he had because the trip nearly did him in. especially the trip back up the hill. Mum went in paddling, and Michaal and I had a swim. The sea was chilly, and smelt and tasted (yes!) wonderful, very fresh and clean.

Michael did a lovely BBQ in the evening and we sat in the sun having the smokiest BBQ I’ve seen (lump wood charcoal, or fatty lamb?) Loads to eat and lovely wine to accompany.

Michael and I had a stroll down to Port Selau again in the evening, and watched the deep red sun set over the sea. As we got back to the barn the mist was rolling in and there was a fresh sea tang in the air. So peaceful.

Today (Sunday) I drove mum and dad to church and they were very complimentary about the tiny catholic church (St Michael’s) with a congregation of 30. Michael cooked a lovely brunch (we’ll call it a Welsh breakfast because everything was welsh!). I opened my birthday presents, lots of lovely gifts including a bottle of Penderyn Welsh Whisky from mum and dad and a mini bottle of absinthe from Michael, with spoon and sugar cubes and a bottle of welsh water (brought all the way from Cambridge, wrapped in gift paper!). lots of cards too, including one from Ethan, who is only eight weeks old.

Spent a couple of hours in the very pretty village of Solva. Walked across the harbour at low tide to clamber over the old lime kilns, then popped into some art galleries. ended up for refreshments at the Cambrian Inn, a 15th C inn with nice beer. My dad had some scrumpy cider, Michael had Newlands, Redcastle Cream which was good. I had a cup of tea (designated driver).

Having a read of the papers now, and the football is on. Good time to blog!

Mobile Blogging from here.

Michael in Solva (tide's out)