GLORIOUS WALES - PART 2


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July 10th 2021
Published: July 11th 2021
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LOTS OF SAINTS AND PUFFINS TOO …



1. SAINT DOGMAELS



Heading south towards Milford Haven our first stop was only a short distance from Rocket House near Poppit Sands where we had spent a glorious week. Llandudoch in Welsh or Saint Dogmaels (our first Saint), an unusual name and a fascinating place particularly for the history enthusiast. This small parish and community had a peaceful setting next to the River Teifi, a mile downstream from the town of Cardigan. Not much is known about Saint Dogmael who has given his name to this Pembrokeshire village, apart from that he was a native of Ceredigion (Cardigan). He preached both in Wales and Brittany and several churches bear his unusual name.



The remains of a 12th century Abbey built on a site of a pre-Norman monastery takes pride of place in the village. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the church continued to be used for a time by the parish, and a rectory was built into the southwest corner of the cloister.



SAGRANUS STONE



The famed Sagranus Stone in St Thomas’s Church located next to the Abbey is inscribed in both Latin and ancient Ogham and dating from the fifth century - it helped provide the key to deciphering the Ogham alphabet. Recognised by scholars of Early Christian inscribed stones as being of great importance it is a 7 foot high pillar-stone thought to date from the late 5th or early 6th century AD, that being the immediate years following the Roman retreat from Wales. This ancient stone probably came from the original cell (llan) of the Celtic monastery. The ‘llan’ in many place names refers to the enclosure containing church or monastic buildings. There are two holes in the stone which means that in the past it was probably used as a gate post, and it may even have been in use as a sort of stepping stone over a stream; maybe this caused the stone to be broken into two pieces. However as a bilingual inscribed stone with its Ogham cipher inscription of notches or strokes on its edges and the Latin (Roman) inscription on its face its safety is now assured. It was only in 1848 that the strokes on the ancient pillar-stone enabled scholars and historians to decipher the Ogham alphabet - the early Gaelic language of Ireland. Both inscriptions, once they are translated, read the same. Although not renowned like the famous Rosetta Stone it is equally important to historians.







Close to the ruins was a water mill known as Y Felin (Welsh for ‘the mill’) thought to have once have been part of the monastic complex - it is one of only a few working mills remaining in Wales. Completely renovated with its original machinery intact it produced a range of flours and milled grains which were on sale in the mill shop. We spent an hour walking around the Abbey ruins and Church reading the informative signs before heading further south - all was really quiet we were the only visitors there and had the whole place to ourselves.





2. SAINT BRYNACH



We stopped at Cwm-yr-Eglwys (English: Valley of the Church) a hamlet in a picturesque cove on the eastern side of the Dinas Island peninsula between Fishguard and Newport - had real difficulty pronouncing this name too … …



It has a full time population of only around ten people but there are 27 homes and a small caravan site for the summer visitors that manage to find this quiet little hamlet. I must say that the narrow road down to this quaint cove was an experience, but we did manage not to meet too much traffic travelling the other way and only had to reverse once along the lane - not sure what happens when its busy as it would be impossible to pass once there are two or three cars close to each other.

One always starts to wonder if one is on the right road and the Satnav is behaving itself when you start to see more grass than tarmac on the road …. but in the end we hit the beachfront and managed to squeeze our car into the tiny car park - where there was an honesty box to put your £2 parking fee into.



A short distance away was what was left of the small church of Saint Brynach - (our second Saint). There are several churches dedicated to this saint who was probably from Ireland since 'Bernach' is an Irish name and he is occasionally referred to as Brynach Wyddel - the Irishman. Being so close to the sea this pre-Norman church suffered so much storm damage, in 1850/51 when the chancel was completely destroyed by the sea and the church footings left hanging over an abyss. At that time the graveyard was severely damaged too, the level being reduced by at least three feet, exposing human remains in large quantities. The church though still hung on until nine years later in the great storm of October 1859 which completely removed the church roof as well as major damage to its walls and the building was then abandoned.



For safety reasons in 1880 the remaining ruins were demolished apart from the west entrance wall and at that time a new sea wall was built to protect what was left of the graveyard. In 1979 after yet another storm the sea wall had to be to be repaired and the gravestones themselves had to be rearranged. Hopefully what little is left of the church now will remain standing above this idillic little sandy beach where people can sit and enjoy the peace and tranquility, storms permitting of course… …



We walked a small part of the coastal path here and once up above the beach we had glorious view of the church and surrounding area. Time to move on though and we drove back up the road and this time did not meet any other traffic thank goodness.





3. SAINT DAVIDS



Saint Davids (our third Saint) was our next stop - the last time we visited St Davids was way back in the 1970s - cannot believe we have not been back to this part of Wales for so long - its not that far away … …



St Davids is named after the patron saint of Wales, a tiny cathedral city actually no bigger than a village with a population of just over sixteen hundred. The cathedral itself was built on the site of a much older monastery founded by St David in the 6th Century but city status was only awarded by the Queen in 1995. Constructed from dusky purple sandstone, it’s one of Wales’ most iconic religious sites and sits tucked away in a sheltered vale beside the River Alun.



To understand the reason that St Davids is so special, you have to know a little about the history of the area. David was reputedly born on a cliff top on the South-West Wales coast during a fierce storm. The site of David’s birth is marked by the ruin of a tiny ancient chapel close to a holy well and the more recent 18th century chapel dedicated to his mother, Non can still be seen near St. David’s Cathedral. He was the founder of a strict monastic order and was the most influential clergyman in all Wales during the ‘Age of Saints’.



The 12th century Cathedral became one of the most important shrines of medieval Christendom – two pilgrimages to St. Davids equalling one to Rome. A container made of wood and metal, kept behind the High Altar, is believed to hold the bones of St David and St Justinian, his colleague and confessor.



Before reliable roads, pilgrims would arrive by boat; there are shrines and chapels dotted all along this part of the coast where they would have stopped on the journey to give thanks for a safe passage.



We parked by the visitor centre and walked down the main street and you soon glimpse the magnificent gothic ruins of the Bishop’s Palace which lie on the opposite bank of the river from the Cathedral - both buildings were awesome to view.



Bishops Palace - Dating from the 14th century but derelict from the 18th, this splendid medieval ruin still conveys the affluence and power of the medieval church. Unlike the frugal founding saint, the bishops of St Davids in the Middle Ages enjoyed all the trapping of wealth and influence. Bishop Henry de Gower’s (1328-47) legacy consists of the simpler eastern range of the building which was his private domain, and the much grander southern range, built for grand banqueting in the Great Hall - the huge number of window openings were astounding.



We enjoyed a picnic lunch beside the river and wandered around the area before heading back to our car for our onward journey.





4. SAINT ISHMAELS



Saint Ishmaels (our fourth saint) - this tiny village where we had booked our last accommodation was about six miles from Milford Haven. We chose this area as it was near to Martin Haven where the boats leave for Skomer Island - the reason we were in Wales really. Monk Haven was a family run B&B set at the end of a wooded valley near the village - a really tiny cove that is every bit as tranquil as its name. The name comes from a monastic settlement that existed here long ago.



Monk Haven manor house which was originally the Vicarage was covered in ivy and had beautifully kept grounds with a small stream running through its centre. We rang the bell and had a nice welcome from our host, Jan. She gave us our key and said that due to covid extreme caution was taken with regard to breakfast and a continental breakfast would be served each morning as opposed to a cooked one and left ready outside our room after a gentle wake up knock from her husband. We had been looking forward to a cooked Welsh Breakfast so were a little disappointed but the breakfast was ample and Jan made her own bread, croissants and jams - oh well good for the health and diet too we though!



5. SAINT CARADOC



Our room at the B&B was cosy with a small living area, bedroom and bathroom - nestled amongst a small group of just five rooms between the church and the manor house itself - the room was actually named Saint Caradoc (our fifth saint). Like many Welsh saints, Caradog was an educated nobleman who rejected the wealthy life and chose instead to live a life of simplicity and faith as a hermit at St Ismaels Once a confident of Rees the Prince of Wales he fell out of favour after losing the royal greyhounds! The stories of St Caradog emphasise his kindness and care for people and animals and his music. - he is widely regarded as the Patron Saint of harpists, dog-lovers and the seasick. He lived in violent and uncertain times, but he was a man of peace to everyone meeting anger with gentleness, treated the natural world with respect and stayed true to his faith and calling. His saintly reputation as a kind and holy man grew, as did his fame on the harp which is his symbol.





ONLY PUB IN VILLAGE CLOSED



Hoping to walk to the local pub for food we were really disappointed when Jan told us that it had recently closed and there was no other options nearby. We thought we might go hungry as everywhere we tried to book in nearby villages were all fully booked - limited indoor space because of covid restrictions didn’t help. Chatting to our host on available options, her son arrived and said he was heading home to Milford Haven and we could follow him as he knew a quick way around the lanes and we may be able to find some where to eat there. He did say that although he knew the area well he sometimes got lost himself on these narrow lanes … … .. We followed him and soon arrived in Milford Haven without getting lost … … Still unable to find anywhere to eat though we ended up at a supermarket and bought a picnic supper and headed home - not quite what we had hoped for but with a glass of wine it went down quite well sat on the small patio outside our room.



A short walk behind our B&B and you were looking out over the mouth of Milford Haven - the beach here was very small but sheltered and offered great views over the waterway and beyond. To either side of the narrow bay were red sandstone headlands, providing further shelter from the breeze. With the only access to the public along this footpath from St Ishmaels Church, Monk Haven was a very peaceful spot and we did not see anyone else during our stay apart from a few other guests. A small pond was nestled behind the house before you reached the sea and we often spotted a resident Heron enjoying the whole pond to himself with plenty of fish to keep him happy.



The parish church of Saint Ismael behind our rooms stood eerily dark and silent surrounded by tall trees, a grade II listed building it had seen many repairs and the cost of its upkeep must have been huge. The graveyard itself was covered in tall vegetation and nearly disappearing from view - completely overgrown. A small memorial at the entrance to the church caught our eye, ‘in memory of those that lost their lives when Hirano Maru was sunk by enemy action 1918’ - google was able to provide more information on the sad story behind the memorial.



SS HIRANO MARU



SS Hirano Maru, built by Mitsubishi Dockyard, Nagasaki in 1908 was an ocean liner of 7936 tons. On October 4th, 1918 on a voyage from Liverpool to Yokohama with 340 passengers and general cargo, the ship was sunk by a German submarine. Of the 320 persons on the Hirano Maru - 200 passengers and 120 crew - there were only 29 survivors. Many women and children went to their doom in a raging storm without the slightest warning when the torpedoes hit. After being struck the liner settled down rapidly, her decks being flush with the sea before all the lifeboats could be launched. Most of the passengers and crew were washed overboard. The survivors were picked up by an American destroyer which arrived 25 minutes after the torpedo attack. The submarine attempted to torpedo the rescue ship, but disappeared when the destroyer opened fire but this delayed the rescue.



Captain Butler, said he was asleep in his state-room, shortly before daybreak, when was aroused by terrible noise, as though there had been a violent explosion. He jumped out of his berth, hastily put on his pants and coat, and, holding a lifebelt, rushed up the companion-way to the upper deck to his boat station. He had just reached the door leading out on to the lower deck when the steamer made a plunge forward and went down by the head. The whole thing happened in a few minutes - four or five, at most. Carried down by the suction of the big vessel, he soon rose to the surface again and swam to some floating wreckage. All around numbers of human beings were struggling in the water, and cries for help, heartrending to listen to, could be heard above the roar of the strong wind, but the big waves soon swept even the strongest away from the pieces of wreckage to which they clung in a desperate fight for life. For fully an hour and a half, Captain Butler held on to the wreckage, which kept him afloat until an American naval vessel came on the scene and picked him and others up.



Mr. L. Dumont from London, a saloon passenger, said that before he could realise it, he was in the stormy waters swimming about as the steamer went down. A floating door kept him afloat. As many as eight persons, one by one, clung to the door to save themselves, but were unable to maintain their hold.



Mr. F. Karach, of Rotterdam, said that with twelve other Dutchmen, he was on board the Hirano Maru, and of the thirteen only four were saved.



The survivors speak of the great bravery of the wireless operator of the Hirano Maru. who never left his cabin from the time the vessel was hit until his cabin was flooded. When he attempted to leave, his escape was cut off and he perished.



American sailors on the rescuing destroyer found the mutilated bodies of several of the passengers and crew floating in the water with lifebelts on. It is supposed the propellers of the ship, as she was sinking, cut to pieces many who were struggling in the water. Bodies were washed ashore in Western Pembrokeshire, so she must have sunk quite close to the Pembrokeshire Coast. What a sad story but glad that they had a memorial to them all.





PEMBROKESHIRE ISLANDS



We were visiting this part of Pembrokeshire in West Wales primarily to visit Skomer Island to see the amazing birdlife. As mentioned in our previous blog our trip the previous year had been cancelled so it was indeed great just to be here at last. We had planned and booked two trips one to sail around the islands just off the coastline and another to land and walk around Skomer Island. Would have loved to stay on the island overnight but you had to be really fortunate to be able to do that these days - maybe in future this would be possible. The numbers of day visitors landing on the island is carefully managed and limited to a maximum of 250 a day to prevent erosion and to control the impact of people on the wildlife and of course Covid has had a huge impact on this as well. We were lucky indeed to get tickets as I got on line just after the tickets went on sale a few months ago at midnight and at one minute past midnight I was already 99th in the queue but kept on hold and did eventually manage to secure two trips before I fell asleep.



CANCELLED TRIP



Our first trip was an evening tour around the off shore islands of Skomer, Skokholm and Grassholm with its incredible Gannet colony and also see the famous Manx Shearwater gathering on the water before they return to the islands after a day’s fishing - this year we were told that there were huge numbers with at least 350,000 pairs - not sure how they count them though … …



We were so excited but sadly in the afternoon we received a telephone call to say that our trip had been cancelled due to rough sea conditions. We had watched the boats earlier in the day and it did look rough but we were hoping that the waters would calm down - sadly they did not. All we could hope for now was that our trip to land on Skomer would go ahead the next day.





SKOMER ISLAND



We awoke the next morning to beautiful sunshine and were so relieved and excited about our visit - we had got lucky at last. We drove to Lockley Lodge Visitor Centre at Martin’s Haven where we booked in and walked down to the sea. On the way we spotted several Swallows swooping in and out of a small toilet block and managed to get a couple of good photos as they flew in above the head of those visiting the loos … …



Skomer Island lies less than a mile off the Pembrokeshire coast and is a world renowned wildlife paradise. The exposed headlands, towering offshore rocks, and sheltered inlets are home to an incredible variety of wildlife, both above and below the surface. Skomer is most famous for its Atlantic Puffins and together with neighbouring Skokholm Island it forms the largest breeding Puffin colony in Southern Britain. The Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica), also known as the common puffin, is a species of seabird in the auk family and is the only puffin native to the Atlantic Ocean



It is also home to the largest and most important breeding colony of Manx Shearwater in the world. Between the Puffins, Shearwaters and Rabbits there are very few spots on the island which have not been burrowed as they all build their nests underground. As such, beneath the visible surface, many parts of the island are a honeycomb of intricate tunnels and burrows. Therefore designated paths are set out for us visitors to avoid damaging any of this extremely delicate habitat.



Also in large numbers on the islands are Razorbills and Guillemots who line the cliff tops and ledges around the islands as well as lots of members of the gull family; Kittiwakes, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls and the Greater Black-backed Gull. Larger seabirds such as Fulmars and Gannets, another favourite of mine can usually be found gliding and fishing around the island. Shags and Cormorants take up position on the surrounding rocks to dry out their wings in between fishing. So a haven for those like us that like to see the different array of birds we are really lucky to have in the UK.



Skomer is also home to a number of resident birds of prey, with Peregrine Falcons, Buzzards, and Short-eared Owls and we were lucky to get a glimpse of a Short-eared Owl as we walked around the island hunting low over the heathland - a special moment. It was too far off to get a decent photo but it was great just to see it glide over its territory.





BIRDS EVERYWHERE



We were on the first boat out to the Island at 1000 hours and were told we would have to get the 1430 boat back but that would give us plenty of time to walk around the whole of the island. Jim our very funny boatman gave us a safety briefing and we set off as he was getting into his life vest a slight wave caused him to fall backwards and he landed in my lap - luckily I moved my beloved camera out of the way … …. He said we were really lucky as this season there were at least 35,000 puffins on the island and another 5000 had arrived recently looking for a mate - this is the largest number since the 1920s which is fantastic news indeed and lucky for us. Even before we arrived we started to spot Puffins on the water and Puffins in the air as well Gannets and Razorbills too. It was only a 15 minute boat trip and the water was really smooth we were indeed blessed with calm seas and sunshine at last. Just before we landed we spotted a beautiful Gannet skimming the ocean - too quick for the camera though but good to see having missed out on a visit to 'their' nearby island home.



On arrival the Island’s resident Warden gave us a safety briefing and a detailed introduction into the many birds we might see during our visit as well as where we could walk - a circular walk, just under 4 miles around the coast line had to be walked in an anticlockwise direction but the tracks in the middle could be traversed either way - no straying off the paths at all. We set off into the centre of the island towards Old Farm where the only basic self catering accommodation is located as well as a Visitor Centre which was closed because of Covid. Even if you were staying overnight you had to bring all your food in as there was nothing on the island at all - we had a picnic lunch supplied by our B&B so had plenty to keep us happy. Overnight visitors also had to bring in extra rations in case the boat was delayed because of bad weather ... ... ... There was a small toilet block at the farm as well as picnic tables but we were told that we had to take everything back with us and leave nothing at all on the island. It was great to see that the island was immaculately clean with no rubbish at all - pity this could not happen elsewhere too.



Skomer is a beautiful place and this time of year flowering red campion carpeted huge swathes of the island - it was like walking through a pink maze. Massive rabbits which we thought were Hares as their ears were so long were in great numbers and were not afraid of you as you walked quite close to them on the designated paths. The numerous burrows of the birds and rabbits covered most of the island and it was sad to see so many feathers and the small bones of Manx Shearwaters - a favourite food of the gulls who stood on the rocks waiting from them to return to the island at night - with 350,000 pairs I suppose they could afford to loose a few.



What an incredible memorable day we had - so lucky as we really got our fill of this beautiful island. Of course we particularly loved the Puffins - they are so comical to watch and look like a small Penguin in colour but with a very colourful beak. The beak is only distinctively coloured in summer; the large red and grey scutes (horny plates) together with the fleshy bright yellow rosette in the corner of its mouth are grown late winter for use in display. After the breeding season they are moulted, the winter bill is relatively small and constricted at the base, and blackish in colour as is the face.



From the moment we landed they were dotted up the cliffs and along the paths as we walked up the steep steps from the boat mooring. We were told not to wander of the paths but the Puffins did not have any restrictions and often walked across the path in front of you searching for their burrow.



The Puffins usually migrate to the islands in mid-April, gradually building up in numbers as the egg laying season approaches and stay in the area for breeding until late July so we timed our visit to coincide with the most activity breeding season and it definitely worked for us.



They nest underground in burrows, not only battling with each other for these, but also with Manx Shearwaters since both species use the same sort of burrows for nesting. Puffins prefer nest sites close to the cliff top since the parent birds can come in quickly and then escape again to sea, giving the predatory gulls the minimum chance to attack them. The Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, often chase Puffins that are bringing food back to their chick and try to steal it, but the Great-backed Gull will kill and eat the adult too - these gulls are huge. We didn't see any dead puffins but plenty of Manx Shearwaters.



The nest chamber may be many feet underground and is often lined with bits of dead grass, Sea Campion and Bluebell stems. In this, the female Puffin lays her single egg, usually in the early part of May. In size and appearance, the egg closely resembles a white hen’s egg and is incubated by the parent birds in turn for about six weeks. The newly-hatched chick (puffling) weighs about 35 - 45 grams and looks rather like a darkish-grey powder-puff since the down is so long that it almost completely covers the small bill and the legs and feet.



The chick remains in the burrow for about six weeks and reaches a weight of about 300 grams during this time. Both parents bring food to the chick; the commonest item is Sand eels which the parents catch by diving. Having caught a Sand eel, it is held between the tongue and upper mandible, enabling the bird to catch another, and another. On Skomer, the average number of fish carried back to the nest at each visit is about 10 but we saw birds with many more than this - one puffin only had ‘one’ but it was a rather large mackerel or the like. Most chicks receive some five to eight feeds a day, each averaging about eight grams. Watching these parents arrive with their mouthful of fish was endearing indeed - several got a little disorientated and would wander around looking at several burrows trying to find the one with their own precious chick inside … …

Towards the end of July, when the chicks are ready to leave the island, they are still not fully-grown, being about 70% of the adult’s weight. However unlike the young of Razorbills and Guillemots, they can fly reasonably well at this stage. They are still very vulnerable to attacks by predatory gulls though, so they leave at night, working their way down to the cliff-edge and taking off into the darkness. They go by themselves and are out of sight of land by day-break.



Thereafter, they are on their own and receive no further parental care. The young Puffin remains at sea for almost two years, almost no one year old Puffin makes landfall at the nesting colonies. From the age of two onwards the young birds spend more and more time at the colony in summer, looking for a mate and prospecting for a burrow. Although a few may start to breed at the age of four, most do not do so until they are five.



The breeding success of Puffins is not very high; on average each pair rears a chick every two years and less than one in five of these young survive to reach breeding age. Once they have attained breeding age, they are long-lived birds. In good times, as many as 95% of the breeding birds may survive to breed the following year (though in recent years on Skomer the survival has been nearer 85%). A 95% annual survival means that the average expectation of life for a Puffin that has just started to breed is about 20 years, so that counting the five years of immaturity, the average life expectancy of Puffins is about 25 years. Some birds live much longer - the current record on Skomer is more than 38 years!



In August they all migrate to the North Atlantic and the island is abandoned once again until the next year when it all starts over again. These birds are not only cute but very clever - it is still a mystery how they navigate back to their nesting home in Skomer again and again … …



We would have loved to have stayed longer on the island but did get plenty of time to walk around the whole circuit and at times it felt as though we had the island to ourselves. We spotted most people at the largest concentrations of the Puffins on the Isthmus between North and South Haven and at The Wick but there was always plenty of space and room to enjoy the birds and the scenery too.



The Wick was a great spot to get really close to the birds but the near vertical drop to the sea below was extremely close to the path but I was so enthralled with the birds that I managed to overcome my vertigo quite well - the mind does play tricks with you and its hard to overcome these fears at times. In the ledges of the cliff face we spotted the chicks of Kittiwakes and Razorbills in the deep crevices but they were a long way off - not like the puffins.



Finally on the way back down the steps to the boat we spotted several Razorbills with chicks really close - they are such a strange looking bird and really hard to photograph but endearing too.



We felt so lucky and privileged that we had finally got so close to the Puffins and would remember our day on Skomer for a very long time to come.





LAST DAYS



We enjoyed our stay at Monk Haven and met some lovely neighbours in our B&B. We enjoyed a few glasses of wine with Sally and Tim on our little patio although Tim disappeared to watch a particular football match there was going on … … If they read this we hope they enjoy their retirement we certainly have.



We particularly liked the coastal walks in Pembrokshire but it was a shame that the only walkable pub had closed as driving around the lanes was not much fun particularly when you had to keep reversing back to find a passing place - the many tractors we met didn’t help … .. .. The walks made up for it though - one short but spectacular walk around the end of the Marloes Peninsula starting by Lockley Lodge Visitor Centre at Martin’s Haven was in an area named Deer Park which was once home to an Iron Age settlement. You will not spot any deer if you come here though as the name itself relates to a failed attempt to establish a deer park in the late 18th to early 19th century.



We climbed up through the thick gorse bushes (you really need long trousers) to the coastguard hut on its peak and spotted lots of Linnets and Stonechats singing on the top of the bushes. Did you know, Linnets are named for their favourite food with the name coming from Linseed. Welsh Black cattle graze the area but were quite friendly which was lucky as we had to get really close to move them out of the entrance gate to get on to the coastal path … …. We also enjoyed a brief visit to Dale, an unspoilt village in the heart of the Pembrokshire Coast National Park



What of course we will remember most though of our visit to this part of Wales will be our trip to Skomer Island and walking amongst those comical colourful puffins - hopefully we will come back again one day.



So it was all too soon and we had to cross back over the bridge that links Wales to England and head home to Winchester - a welcome sign greeted us as we drove over the Prince of Wales Bridge out of Wales and back into England.



We hope you enjoyed reading our blog and seeing a little bit of Wales with us through our eyes. Not sure where our next travel journey will be as we still live in strange times but I am sure we will head off somewhere in the not too distant future - hopefully we will see you there - keep safe everyone.



Cheers

👣Paul & Sheila

Silvernomads



https://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/silvernomads/


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15th July 2021

Puffins
I went to Skomer Island in July 2018 and stayed at the Monk Haven B&B. I only stayed there for 1 night but what a beautiful location. I loved reading your blog which prompted great memories of being surrounded by so many puffins flying or crossing the paths. I remember them being so noisy and agree with you that they're certainly comical. I certainly hope to go back one day.
18th July 2021

Puffins galore
Glad you enjoyed Skomer too and Monk Have B&B - yes definitely a place to go back too again and again - just hope for good weather so the boats go out ... ...
16th July 2021

Puffins!
Wow, such wonderful photos of puffins! Well done, and well done on having been able to book the tickets there just after midnight. I guess something good out of these tricky times is that when you do get to book somewhere, it's usually much quieter and more peaceful. It seems that you had a wonderful time in Pembrokeshire on your trip there. Hopefully we'll all be able to travel even further in times to come. All the best to you both 😊
18th July 2021

Just Puffins
Hi Alex - thank you enjoyed taking the photos of these wonderful comical birds and Pembrokeshire is stunning. Also, yes hopefully we will all be able to start venturing a little further in the coming months - but what a dreadfully long time this virus has got a hold of us all .... ...

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