Monday, 26 March 2012

Some photos of South Wales

I promised (threatened?) a few photos of the trip I took with my husband, last week, to South Wales. We stayed, as usual, in Cardiff. This time we were determined to get to the museum (we've put it off several times) so that was what we did on the first day. The National Museum Cardiff turned out to be well worth the wait, with a rather amazing art gallery in the top storey. I don't believe we saw half of what there was to see so a return visit is on the cards. My favourite paintings though were by John Brett, John William Waterhouse, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Edward Lear. They also had a couple of Turners, a Constable and a Lowry scene of Abertillery, S. Wales. If you're ever in Cardiff, its museum is *well* worth a visit.

Day two we set off exploring, working our way along the coast from Porthcawl (below) back to Cardiff.

Llantwit Major has a beach about a mile from the village with very strange rock formations along the cliffs. Not sure what geological name they come under, I must find out sometime.

From that coast you can see across the Bristol Channel to Somerset in England. If you click twice to view this better you'll see a dark shape in front of the cliff which looks like an island. It is in fact part of the cliffs at Minehead known as North Hill and we looked out on it from our house when we lived up there 10 years ago.

I liked these stripey stones in a brook that was pouring out onto the beach.

Later in the day we stopped off at the Cosmeston nature reserve near Penarth. Very pretty spot. Lots of wildfowl and so forth.

Some trees there... I loved the bare, twisted branches against the blue sky.

The next day we planned to visit Castle Coch outside Cardiff but we got our directions mixed up, decided it was not meant to be this trip and took off for The Valleys. The heritage there is coal mining and there are various museums and experiences you can visit, which we have on numerous occasions. This time we just wanted to look at the scenery. It was a very hazy day so the photos are not as clear as I would like.

This is a small church we came across in the middle of nowhere - Llanwonno church. My husband chatted to the retired church warden while I took photos. Apparently they've had trouble with thieves pinching copper piping - and lead off the roofs. It seemed incredible to me that this could happen in such an out-of-the-way place. And incredible that anyone would stoop that low.

The view from the churchyard across the valleys.

My husband had to take this photo. I have no head for heights and we were practically on top of the mountain looking down on the mining village of Ferndale. It was one heck of a drop!

A bit further on, on another road. This is a spot called Craig-y-Llyn. My photo doesn't do the view justice.

What you're looking at - the stones in the field - is the remains of either a stone-age or iron-age village. I can't remember which it is now. But what a view those pre-historic villagers had.

Another spot further along the same road... the village, I believe, is Ogmore Vale.

Looking in the other direction from the previous photo. All over the valleys were the stunning colours of dry grasses and heather.

I daresay we'll be back again later in the year as Cardiff and Glamorgan continue to hold us in thrall. We haven't seen the half of it really - not history-wise or scenically. I love a place where there is always more to discover.


DesLily said...

great shots Cath!!! I love that you love going out into "the country" instead of staying in towns and cities!.. that's a shame about the old church..I often wonder what's wrong with people that do things like that...I know they need money for one reason or another but I think I'd try to find another way to get money! I'd rather steal food if thats what it's for..."a thief that steals food is only trying to feed his family or not starve"..not such a bad crime when you think about it

Anonymous said...

Such lovely, lovely pictures, Cath. Thanks so much for sharing them with us. I loved them. The old church is beautiful, but yes, I can believe that people want to steal from it. It's awful, but I think copper is valuable for scavengers or thieves. And easy to get away with stealing I suspect from such an out of the way spot.

Stacy said...

What beautiful sights! I loved the old church which I hope the thieves will not get the better of. Is nothing sacred? I couldn't help but draw the parallel between a great place and a great book... each time you return there is something new to discover:)

fiction-books said...

Hi Cath,

Some amazing pictures and great that you remind us of what some beautiful places we have 'on our own doorstep'.

There are so many churches whch are permanently locked and bolted these days, it is just a sad reflection of our times. Even when times have been hard in the past, I can never recall a church being closed for public prayer.

There is some great information about the Geography of the area around Llantwit Major, so thanks to your mention, I have just spent an enjoyable half hour or so reading up on it

I love the Brett painting that you linked to, however I'm afraid that Rosetti just isn't to my taste .... 'The Fair Rosamund' looks extremely 'manly' from my perspective.

Welcome back to the blogosphere.


Marg said...

Gorgeous! I lived in the UK for several years but didn't make it to Wales. I really should have seeing as my grandfather came from there!

ruHenry said...

Lovely pictures, Cath! Sue guided me toward them. What a place!

Chris said...

That is all SO gorgeous!! I wish we had places like that here in the states with that kind of scenery!! thanks for these pics :)

Cathy said...

You're making me wish the next twelve months would fly by so Denis and I would be in the UK!

Cath said...

Pat: Yeah, P and I are really country people rather than city types. A day in the city is enough. lol. I think a lot of these thieves are stealing to feed a habit and it's not habit for eating Cornish pasties...

Kay: I'm glad you liked them. I think the slightly creepy thing for me is that these thieves must have been watching this little church for some time before they struck. The ex-warden said he goes there every day to visit his wife's grave and these awful people must have been watching his movements. Scary.

Stacy: No, I don't think anything is sacred any more. I'm not a very religious person but I still think that that's a really terrible thing to do... steal from a church.

Yvonne: I think we're so lucky in this country to have such a huge variety of landscapes to enjoy.

I'll check out your link in a minute.

The John Brett was my favourite painting of the whole gallery. I bought a postcard of it to put here on my desk. I hear what you say about Fair Rosamund but I still like it. I suppose I thought it was nice to see that you don't have to be conventionally beautiful in order for someone to want to paint you.

Marg: Ooh, Welsh heritage - how nice! I hope you make it back to see Wales one day.

ruHenry: Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

Chris: Oh, you so *do* have places like this. LOL. It reminded me so much of the Blue Ridge mountains. There is even a similar mining heritage I believe.

Cathy: How exciting to have a trip like that to look forward to!

Cath said...

Stacy: I forgot to say how much I agree with this sentiment of yours:

I couldn't help but draw the parallel between a great place and a great book... each time you return there is something new to discover:)

Perfect. :-)

Vintage Reading said...

Stunning pics, Cath, especially the stones under running water.

Kailana said...

Wonderful pictures! I am glad you had a wonderful time!

Cath said...

Nicola: My favourite is the stones too... I was intrigued by the stripes.

Kelly: Thank you. It was a break that recharged our batteries quite nicely.

Penny said...

I can certainly understand your love for Cardiff, Cath, and all it holds in its scenery, stones, and architecture. Your pictures are wonderful.

Cath said...

Penny: Really pleased you enjoyed them. Yes, Cardiff and its environs holds much to be discovered... I can't believe we found so much this visit that we'd not seen before.

Nan said...

Oh, so very beautiful. You lived near there! Very lucky.

We spent a week in Llangrannog

in 1992 in a beautiful rental house. It was an idyllic spot. Really. We visited Aberystwyth and rode that cliff railway. I was frightened to death that it would just let go. :<)

Susan said...

I love those photos! And believe or not, I think Llanowo is one of the places my ancestors might be from!!! Gorgeous....and looking across to Minehead in Somerset - that's the other location close to where some more ancestors come from!!! This is like looking at my next planned vacation there! lol I'm glad you had such a lovely time, and that Wales reveals more every time you go. The picture of the stones is lovely too.

Cath said...

Nan: We're about an hour and a half from South Wales here in Devon. It's an easy trip, up through Somerset to the bridge over the Bristol channel and along the coast to Cardiff. Where you stayed is a beautiful spot. Tell the truth, Wales is almost all beautiful.

Susan: Goodness me, how strange is that? And it's a tiny, tiny place too.

We lived in Minehead, on the Somerset coast, for 8 years. A nice area too. Glad you enjoyed the photos and thanks for the mention on your blog. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, those are lovely pictures. I agree that the hilly vistas are very similar to many Appalachian areas, including East Tennessee and Kentucky, where my Welsh forebears settled (Hopsons on one side, and Guinns on the other) — perhaps because it looked so familiar and like home to them. Even the rock formations in the cliffs at the seashore look like the interior of hills that were cut open when the Interstate Highway was built through the area.

If you hadn't remarked on the striped rocks in the stream, I'd have thought the effect was just a reflection from the water, but on closer inspection it's very mysterious looking.

Also I agree: it takes a warped and perverted disposition to rob a church. That's an appalling thing to do to any building, though. The problem has grown to such proportions here in the Detroit area, there are plans afoot to make metal dealers stop paying in cash and only issue checks, which can be traced somewhat. People are indulging their vilest impulses, I think, because the very top level of government today is rotten to the core, larcenous, venal and cruel. It starts there and seeps down to all levels of society.


Cath said...

Guin: I've answered this comment elsewhere - thanks for taking the time to comment.