Sunday 11 October 2020

Homage to Home II: Wales

So. Wales. I only lived there three years, Sharon six, but it was a very significant time for both of us. We studied there, found our faith there, fell in love with the mountains there and met each other there. And love for each other? Well that came a bit later. But wild wet and windy Wales will always have a special place in our hearts.

Following on from last week's first instalment looking at parts of Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, this week I'm focusing on a previously unvisited part of Wales.

Tenby: All the Weathers || Olympus 11 mm, f/8, 1/50 s, ISO 200 

Last year after taking Joshua to Pontypridd to carry on the family tradition of studying west of the Wye we spent a week in a cottage on The Gower, the peninsular west of Swansea. We had a great time exploring a corner of the country that we hadn't seen before, but despite the fantastic scenery, I struggled to find great images.

This year we (i.e. Sharon) found a cosy harbour-front cottage in Tenby (view from the kitchen window above). I don't think I'd ever been to Pembrokeshire before and fell in love with it on the spot. It took us a while to get our bearings though - we couldn't work out why the main beach faced east rather than south, facing the morning sun. Once we got our heads around the concept of the south beach all was well.

Tenby Town and Beaches

Tenby Harbour and Castle || Olympus 14 mm, f/8, 1/200 s, ISO 200

The tidal range in Tenby was incredible. At the time we arrived it was spring tide with a massive 7.5 m tidal range. Seeing the harbour rapidly empty and fill twice a day was unnerving to start with. 

Tenby by Night || Olympus 14 mm, f/f, 3.2 s, ISO 200

Old Tenby || Olympus 16 mm, f/3.8, 1.3 s, ISO 800 

Tenby has two icons, the old lifeboat house and the painted houses along the top of the east bay. Both are very grateful photographic subjects and I unashamedly shot both to death in all sorts of conditions. And we had all the conditions bar snow.

The Old Lifeboat House || Olympus 12 mm, f/8, 1/160 s, ISO 200

And the New One... || Olympus 47 mm, f/6.3, 1.3 s, ISO 800

Sundown over the Old Town || Olympus 12 mm, f/8, 1/400 s, ISO 200 
Driftwood on the Beach || Olympus 29 mm, f/8, 2.5 s, ISO 200
Harbour by Night || Olympus 12 mm, f/8, 1/8 s, ISO 200
St. Catherine's Island || Olympus 18 mm, f/8, 1/200 s, ISO 200
First Light || Olympus 12 mm, f/8, 1/250 s, ISO 800

Castle Bandstand at Dawn || Olympus 31 mm, f/22, 1/15 s, ISO 200

Tenby Surroundings

After having had to drive through the pedestrian centre of the old town in our massive Kodiaq, we essentially didn't dare move the car for the first 48 h after arriving, exploring the town and walking along the coast to Manobier and beyond.

The rest of the coast is as stunning as the town, if not more so, offering gorgeous views over the craggy cliffs and turquoise waters.

Rocks below Giltar Point || Olympus 50 mm, f/14, 2 s, ISO 64

Pembrokeshire Coastal Path || Olympus 17 mm, f/5.6, 1/320 s, ISO 200
Pembrokeshire also has a north-facing coast - the Angle Headland on Milford Haven, a huge natural harbour. Here views across the Haven to St. Anne's head were just as stunning as anything we'd seen on the south coast.

Angle to St. Anne's Head || Olympus 29 mm, f/8, 1/125 s, ISO 200
Surprise Bracken || Olympus 12 mm, f/8, 1/80 s, ISO 200

Abandoned Inn || Olympus 12 mm, f/8, 1/200 s, ISO 200

Right outside our cottage there were several booths offering a variety of boat trips along the coast. Most of these were closed due to Covid, but the 90 min trip round Caldey Island was still running. Unfortunately, it was impossible to land on the island when we were there - the 40 elderly Cistercian monks were self-isolating to avoid succumbing.

Sightings of seals are almost guaranteed year round. Sadly we were too late for the puffins, razorbills and guillemots (oh dear, we'll have to come back!), but the close-up views of the blubbery sea dogs more than made up for it.

Caldey Seals || Olympus 300 mm, f/5.6, 1/640 s, ISO 800

Caldey Cliffs and Gulls || Olympus 100 mm, f/4, 1/640 s, ISO 250

Lastly, a trip to Amroth and the Colby Woodland Garden gave us some wonderfully green Welsh woodland, moss and ivy growing abundantly on ancient oaks.

Ancient Forest || Olympus 66 mm, f/4, 1/600 s, ISO 1600 

I hope you've enjoyed my visual homage to Wales (and England). We'll definitely be back to chase the waves and try to spot some of the other wildlife visitors. Until then it'll be back to our usual haunts in Bavaria and Austria.

Glass Mural || Olympus 44 mm, f/8, 1/20 s, ISO 800
St. Catherine's Island || Olympus 16 mm, f/8, 1/200 s, ISO 200
South Beach Surf I || Olympus 18 mm, f/8, 1/250 s, ISO 200 
South Beach Surf II || Olympus 18 mm, f/8, 1/250 s, ISO 200 

South Beach Bar and Grill || Olympus 13 mm, f/8, 1/250 s, ISO 800 

Goodbye Tenby || Olympus 8 mm, f/8, 1/80 s, ISO 200

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