Gwahoddiad(The World's Largest Male Choir) - We go West to Cardigan,Fishguard and St David's,West Wales -19th August 2016

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August 19th 2016
Published: August 23rd 2016
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As forecast the rain and wind did arrive overnight and this morning it is still raining so a good excuse to stay in bed a little longer as we are going to be later hitting the road to the far west of Wales.

By the time we thought we had better be stirring, the sky was starting to look a little more like clearing. We haven’t had much rained off on us on the BBA V3 with the wettest days being when we have been travelling between accommodations.

The west coast of Wales comes with some wild beauty and it may be that the wind that got up overnight might have made the seas on the coast the weather was coming from a little rougher and provide some photo opportunities.

Our plan is to head northwest to Cardigan, and then follow the coasts south to St David’s and return home giving us a sort of triangle trip for the day.

There were still spots of rain as we left Ammanford and got onto the A48 and then to the A40.

We were amused by Serena’s (GPS) attempt to pronounce the place names in Welsh rather than the English equivalent where there was one. She didn’t try to do this in Ireland or Scotland for some reason where often there were Gaelic options.

However we had the atlas with us as well and could keep an eye on the direction she was taking us.

We had assumed by the small map you get after typing in the destination you wanted that she would take us along the A478 to reach Cardigan.

However, although we were heading in that direction she had discovered another more rural road taking us over the Preseli Hills with the road rising ever steadily up to where the mist swirled around the car.

It was pleasant enough territory to be driving through and there was very little other than what appeared to be ‘local traffic’. Every so often there would be a small settlement with a shop or a pub or both.

We had Cardigan already logged in as the destination so we knew eventually we would get to where we wanted to be and sure enough our track turned more westerly and we were soon entering Cardigan.

Cardigan was a busy coastal service town for the surrounding countryside and with the rain stopped and the sun coming out it seemed like everyone had headed to town. So much so that the only large parking area we found was already full with other cars waiting ahead of us ‘kerb crawling’.

We decided to head for what hopefully would be a quieter town to try and find a coastal walk and carried on down the Pembrokeshire Coast as we had planned on the A487 to the oddly named town of Fishguard.

We arrived first, as you do coming from the north, in Lower Fishguard which was where the town was originally established.

This narrow bay extending out towards the Irish Sea was first settled around 900AD and while they had been in plentiful supply was known for excellent catches of herring. Sadly today the herring are fished out and the tidal bay is used as an anchorage for yachts and small fishing boats.

Parking wasn’t difficult here and we took a walk along the quay where there was a row of what would have been fisherman’s houses back in the days of the herring. The houses had all been painted recently in soft tones of yellow and blue and were looking quite smart.

There was a small cafe on the quay and we stopped for a coffee and our afternoon scone with jam and cream which is becoming quite a ritual that it is going to be hard to give up. The cost at 11 quid for the two of us won’t be hard to give up though and really it is a bit over the top when we could have two meals from a Wetherspoons pub for that money. However it is all about experiencing and enjoying the English or in this case, Welsh, way of life and anyway we hadn’t had any lunch.

From the end of the quay we could see a Stena ferry boat at the terminal which was on the other side of the bay and as we sat looking out at the scene she departed for Rosslare Harbour a short crossing away over the Irish Sea.

As we were driving towards Lower Fishguard we had also spotted briefly another larger ship that appeared to be entering the harbour. She had disappeared out of view and from our position at the end of the quay we still couldn’t see whether perhaps she was going to sail in and replace the Stena Line ship that had just sailed at the terminal.

We then decided to drive to the main settlement of Fishguard located on the hill above the bay to see if we could see where this other ship had got to.

We found the local car park and unlike at Cardigan there were plenty of places for the Skoda. We struck out heading towards the end of the point above the bay thinking that we should then be able to see where the other ship was.

We had to get all the way to a coastal walking path to see that the other ship was in fact a small cruise ship at anchor in the bay and passengers were being ferried back and forth to the town and available buses in the life boats from the ship. We had noticed other tourists between both the lower and upper towns who didn’t look like they were locals and we passed a few walking the coastal path whose accents sounded decidedly German.

With that mystery solved and the fact that we had done a bit of a walk along the coastal path we decided to get back to the car and head further south to St David’s which was the town that got us interested in coming out west.

The day was coming to an end as we found a place to park the car near the nearly 900 year old church that started out its life as Roman Catholic until the mid 16th century when it changed to the Church in Wales which is also known as the Anglican church in Wales.

It is a striking building that has a lot of history relating to the development of Wales as a country over the centuries.

There is also a Bishops Palace adjacent to the Cathedral which was built between the late 13th and early 14th century for the Bishop of the Cathedral. Later when the seat of the Bishop moved elsewhere the ‘palace ‘was used less and less and eventually fell into disrepair and today it is really just ruins that is visible.

We had a look inside the Cathedral with its impressive timber ceiling but otherwise rather stark interior.

A shower of rain spread over the area as we left the Cathedral and so we kept our look of the ‘palace ‘to what we could see from the pathway. As we headed back to the car the shower became heavier and it was just as well we started back to the car or we would have got soaked.

It was time to head home from the most westerly point in Wales and the initial part of the drive took us down to and along St Brides Bay for a short distance before the road headed inland more.

Showers came back as expected as we got onto the A40 and drove east towards home through Haverfordwest and St Clears and finally the A48 into Ammanford.

The rain had stopped by the time we got home but the wind had increased and was expected to become rather strong overnight. The weather was being generated by a low pressure system deeper than usual for this time of the year so we hope it finds its way quickly over the country.

We have got out and about and covered all the ground and towns we wanted to see in West Wales even if we didn’t get to do the hikes we had hoped to.

West Wales is a lovely, picturesque and quiet part of the UK and we think we would like to come back again given the opportunity sometime in the future to complete our unfinished business of finding a hike along the coast and/or in the Brecon Beacons.

PS:Don't miss the Worlds largest male choir singing the beautiful Welsh hymn.Avaialble on Youtube as usual

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