"get away from it all"

Croeso / Welcome

Our four luxury courtyard holiday cottages are set in 8-acres of private land and gardens in an idyllic countryside location near the market town of Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd, North Wales.

The cottages are decorated and furnished to the highest specifications and are perfect for “getting away from it all” holidays in peaceful surroundings, benefiting from a children’s playground, barbecue areas and private parking. The coastal resorts of Pwllheli and Nefyn, many stunning beaches, pubs/restaurants and shopping facilities are all within a 10-minute drive. The Snowdonia National Park is within a 30-minute drive.

Ideal for larger families and group of friends who enjoy holidaying together whilst still enjoying their own privacy. Bed linen, gas, electricity and Wi-Fi is included in the price, as is full use of our extensive kitchen garden, seasonal herbs, fruit and vegetables. Strictly no smoking in the holiday cottages please. Small pets welcome by prior arrangement.

Geraint Jones

Nefyn, Nant & the German spy?

Nefyn, Nant & the  German spy?

During the second world war people in Britain often listened to German propaganda from a German based radio station in Hamburg. It always began with ‘Germany calling , Germany calling. The broadcaster was known in Britain as Lord Haw Haw, it was a strategy that the German army had to undermine the resilient spirit of the British people.

Lord Haw Haw purposely mentioned different locations in order to unnerve people and quite often he would name Porthdinllaen and Boduan Woods according to R. Gerallt Jones. As you can imagine this caused some anxiety within the local community , especially on the Northern peninsula as is was well documented that German U boats were often in the area.

With the Abergeirch cable line 2 miles down the road, a prominent target, and the German Planes always flew over the Llyn on their way to their bombing campaigns in Liverpool and Manchester. One can imagine the people of Nefyn were expecting an imminent invasion any day.

There are a couple of occasions when the Nefyn Home Guard had been called to various incidents. The first being to a rather eccentric retired gentlemen living a quiet life, again reputed to be a big player in the military during the great war but did have some nazi sympathies. People were very weary of him especially when walking his dog on the coast late at night. The second incidence is when 5 home guards were called to the beach just above Wern , they could hear a boat coming ashore in the darkness(bearing in mind there was a night time curfew for fishermen), they could hear whispers in the distance getting closer and closer , they mounted their guns thinking this was it , the invasion has started only to hear the gentlemen speaking in welsh, they were local fishermen flouting the curfew.

During the Second World War a mysterious stranger called Mrs Margaret Gladys Fisher moved from Beddgelert to  ‘Four Winds’ ,  an isolated, wooden  bungalow above Carreg y Llam, on the western side of Nant Gwrtheyrn. Mrs Fisher had 4 dogs, Irish wolfhounds maybe from the description, was a tall lady and kept herself to herself, when she did venture in to Nefyn which was quite seldom, usually to buy paraffin and other essentials, she never had much to say, from descriptions her accent was strange. Some were convinced she was a man dressed as a woman, others say she was a German lady, all sorts of stories were circulating about her.

Due to Mrs Fisher’s strange behaviour, local people speculated if she was a German spy. They believed that she had come to the Nant to flash signals to German boats in the bay below.

Whether she was a spy or not will never be known because in the early hours of one Sunday morning in 1943 her wooden bungalow was burnt to the ground.

Her dogs didn’t bark, no one raised the alarm, some accounts say that there were no charred remains, others say there were remains but they could have been her dogs.

As it happened it was a high tide early following morning with the tide having been at perfect height for mooring boats, rumours were rife that Mrs Fisher had staged her own death and escaped on a ship back  to Germany.

No one ever heard or saw anything from that day on , its as it she never existed.

 

That is the mystery of ‘Mrs Fisher’  The German spy. History or folklore – we shall never know.

 

 

 

 

 


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Careg Yr Imbyll

Careg yr Imbyll or in English ‘Gimblet Rock’

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Carreg Yr Imbyll was once an impressive large lump of dolerite rock(commonly known as granite) protruding out of Cardigan Bay, before it was carved by the quarrymen during the late 19th nineteenth and early 20th Century. There was huge demand for Setts in order to pave the quickly expanding Major cities of England such as London, Manchester , Liverpool and Birmingham. What remains of the rock today is a pale shadow of what once sat in the middle of the bay.

This was one of many quarries operating during this period on the Llŷn , others being in Llanbedrog, Nefyn, Pistyll, Nant Gwrtheyrn and Trefor.

It was operated by Liverpool and Pwllheli Granite Company from late 19th Century( not sure on exact date) until its closure in November 1915, when 50 men lost their work, at this time is was a big employer in such a small market town as Pwllheli. Unfortunately, many of the other quarries were also closing their doors so many of the quarrymen left the area to find employment elsewhere. It had its own loading jetty of which remains can still be seen today.

The rock can still be seen today as a landmark of Pwllheli, perching over the sea, helping to guide people in to the safe harbour behind. It is now a very popular spot for fishermen. The far side of the rock is now the basis of a large holiday village, Gimblet caravan park . On low water you can still see clearly the plateau of solid bed rock stretching in front of the park and out in to the sea.

There is even a Hornby railway carriage decorated and freely available in the livery of Liverpool and Pwllheli Granite company.

Quarrying at Nant Gwrtheyrn

Modern day quarrying began at Port Nant in 1851 under Hugh Owen from Anglesey, producing rectangular granite setts.

This was very productive and in 1861 a company based in Liverpool, Kneeshaw and Lupton took over production at y Nant. At that time there was great demand for setts for use in paving the roads of the towns and cities of Lancashire. A jetty was built so that steam ships could carry the setts by sea to Liverpool, Manchester and Birkenhead. There were two sets of barracks built for the quarry men who travelled long distances over the mountains in order to get a week’s work in then returning home to their families at the weekends.

In 1875 Capel Seilo was built for the exploding population of Calvinistic Methodists chapel goers who worked and lived by now at Port Nant.

Port Nant was proving to be proving to be such a successful venture in the remote back waters of the northern coast of Llŷn that Kneeshaw and Lupton decided to develop some more accommodation. In 1878 two terraces of houses were built at right angles to each other. One was known as Sea View as it faced west towards the beach, the other Mountain View as it looked towards the mountain and the quarry. Workers were joined by wives, partners, and children. Five years later the Plas was built, a stunning, detached large imposing house for the quarry manager, west of Mountain View.

In 1886 when in its hay day the census return showed that the number of people living in Nant Gwrtheyrn had increased to 200. By now there was a further 2 quarries being run by the company, ‘Cae’r Nant’ on the eastern mountainside  with inclines and ariel ropeway carrying stone from the top of ‘Garn Fôr’ all the way down to the beach, a huge achievement in its day, the remains can be seen clearly even today. ‘Gareg Llam’ on the western side, a very dramatic sight indeed.

Weekly there were numerous 150 – 200ton ships carrying stone back to the cities and in return bringing back coal, wood, food and other materials. Occasionally some of the wives from the Nant would get a free trip on the ships to the cities and bring back some fancy goods to decorate their homes.

As it was becoming a booming village, with houses, chapel, school, shops, its own very vibrant economy, in 1910 the local authority decided to change its name back to Nant Gwrtheyrn.

The 1930’s arrived and the demand for granite declined dramatically, granite sets were out of fashion, granite chippings were to expensive due to Nant’s location, there was still some demand for blocks for projects such as railway bridges. The population of the village decreased as quickly as it had grown. Families left the Nant one by one, the shops closed, the school closed, and the chapel closed.

In 1939 the quarry ceased production. A few of the residents decided to remain there. When a reporter from the Herald of Wales visited the village in March

1954 there were just three residents, Mr William Owen and his sister Mrs Williams at No. 3 and Mr George Scott at No. 10.

This was the end of an era…

 

Eglwys St Beuno, Pistyll .

 St Beuno, Pistyll, Pen Llŷn .

The roots of this wonderful church date back to the 6th century, It was a popular stop off point on the famous Pilgrims trail to Ynys Enlli, named after St Beuno.
The current church mostly dates from the 15th century, some of it possibly from the 12th. The roof was thatched until the early 20th century, when a slate roof was added. Holes for the ropes which secured the thatch are visible in the timbers.

Inside are rough stone cast walls and a very old wooden beam ceiling. The walls used to be covered with plaster. On the north wall, in a surround of yew branches, is the remains of the medieval plaster with a crude red ochre wall painting, thought to be St Christopher, the patron saint of travelers.  At the back of the church is a round stone font thought to be 12thC. It has a Celtic swirl pattern round the bowl.


The church floor is traditionally covered with rushes and herbs.   On one of the walls inside is an ancient wall painting depicting two people. Services are held monthly in the church, on Christmas Eve and to celebrate Lammas in August.
Buried in the churchyard is actor Rupert Davies (1916-1976), best known for playing the detective Maigret on television.

In modern Welsh, Pistyll means fountain. Here the place-name refers to a spring below the farm near the church.

 

h .Pistyll Church

A truly wonderful little church.

 

 

A sunny winters day on traeth Llanbedrog

Word was out that some major work was going on down at the beach at Llanbedrog, me being my nosy self and in the interest of all my blog followers I thought I’d better head down and have a look. Any excuse really to get out for a walk on one of the favorite places on the Llŷn.  As you drive in to the National trust owned car park, what hits you first this time of the year is the remarkable tapestry of vibrant colour against a very dramatic  canvas of grey behind. The beach boasts a superb array of colourful beach huts during the warmer summer months, but for obvious weather related issues they are retired to the carpark  for winter, all 85 of them. They are all owned, managed and maintained by the National Trust and are available to rent for the summer season at  a reasonable cost as well. Walking around them brought back some good memories. We  rented one for about 6 years whilst the children were younger, no 29 if my memory serves me correct, good times they were too. We used to carry everything down in April, buckets, spades, nets, mask, goggles, we even had a table, stove, endless supply of water, tea, coffee, crisps ….. the list goes on. It was sorted then for the summer, going to the beach was a doddle, just us and no gear. Many a happy summers day as well as some cracking evenings spent down there.

The beach is accessed via some lovely steps from the car park on to the road , 50 mtrs and beach. Its a very popular place with locals as well as visitors, even this time of the year with plenty of of walking going on. Sands change dramatically with the tides , today is was lovely clean sand with remnants of the winter storms having brought up some seaweed and some litter. The usual form is turn left, walk halfway and back, the hardcore amongst us go threequarter of the way to Carreg y Defaid, towards the point and of course the die hard’s go all the way to the end. Today was a halfway kind of a day.

Some major work was going on, now i’m not getting involved in the politics. Some say it was not necessary and has spoilt the beach others say it is essential in protecting the properties above. One thing I can tell you is the scale is pretty impressive, its a long way up that cliff, one didn’t realise the height somewhat when the trees were there. It would be interesting to know how many tonnes of stone has gone in to constructing the wall. Well the local kids will be happy this summer, somewhere new to explore and climb.

On the way back up to the car you can see the local beach cafe, very popular during the summer months. It has been called or known as  ‘The Galley’ or  ‘Y Gali’  for years,  In 2017 it was taken over and re-branded  as the ‘Aqua beach bar’, what a truly awful name for such a pretty little place, obviously done by someone with no feeling or spiritual connection to the area. Thankfully new owners are taking over for 2020 and they have the wisdom to use its original name once more.

If you have time then pop in to the quaint local Church, St Pedrog’s, only tiny mind you but a lovely piece of architecture, or the stunning  Oriel Plas Glyn y Weddw, again just around the corner, there is even a lovely little shop selling ice creams, beach ware and local gifts .

Our work was done , fresh air for myself and Crazy Nel , some good memories, few tears , and photos for this blog .

 

buy for now

 

G xx

 

  

Seaview – Borth y Gest, Porthmadog

After a lovely, brisk walk on Black Rock sands we decided to pop over to see if any of the lovely coffee shops at  Borth y Gest were open.  We parked up in the village car park only to be amused by an old Volvo hearse converted in to a people carrier, dear wife couldn’t stop laughing. Mind you a big sign ‘The Fun Bus’ taking up most of the back window was quite funny. It was also a peculiar site watching two elderly ladies making their way to the back to sit down and belt up for their journey ahead, giving me some ideas for a future campervan…….

Just opposite the car park you notice the delightful Seaview Coffee shop & Lounge with its array of lovely wicker chairs outside. I must applaud owners such as, making a consented  effort on a dreary day in February to open and make the place look and feel so welcoming. We left Nel and Sali in the pickup but after realising the dogs would have been more than welcomed inside as well as out.

Upon entering we noticed two or three tables full  of a good healthy mix of  ages enjoying what was mostly cake, cake and more cake along with some coffee, even a chap enjoying a rather large brandy with his cake, rather a civilized concept I thought. As we neared the counter a lovely lady invited us to make ourselves comfortable and she would pop over to see what we fancied. I had my usual ‘Flat white’ and before you say anything, I have been a fan of the flat white far before they became super trendy – I blame McDonald for that, the good wife had her usual  Latte.

The biggest problem we had with this little gem of a place was the exuberant amount of cakes that they had on display, must have been a choice of  at least 10, freshly baked of various types and form. Home made scones, bara brith , red velvet cake … by this time I had lost interest as my eye had been drawn to the superbly sounding  courgette and avacado cake with a lime frosting, heaven here we come. On the plus side , it must have counted as one of my five a day with all that fruit and veg in it. I did think of a small brandy but the good wife’s face implied otherwise. One healthy portion fed both of us, and was it worth it I hear you say, well it certainly was, delicious is an understatement.

I quickly passed my eyes over  the menu whilst enjoying my coffee,  they had some divine breakfast options as well as some lovely lighter choices for lunch, nice selection of wines. I cannot think of a nicer place to sit on a sunny afternoon sharing a nice bottle of something whilst enjoying the view, I might just have to return.

We settled the bill which was just over nine pounds, superb value and said our goodbys. If ever you are passing, be it for a coffee, a bite to eat or just an ice cream , certainly worth a gander.

 

bye for now  xx

 

G

Black Rock Sands

For most of you from Gwynedd, it seemed to be a right of passage, learning or attempting to drive on ‘Black Rock’. Who remembers that first time behind the wheel, trying to keep it in a straight line on a three hundred meter wide piece of sand whilst trying one’s best not to make a fool of yourself by making the car look like an ill kangaroo.

Yes, that’s the place, Black Rock Sands for our short visit today. Nothing has changed much down there, still plenty of cars driving up and down the beach, plenty of ‘donut tracks ‘ in the sands, Alas the Lewis Hamilton  boy racers wannabee  like it here as well.

Black rock is a vast expanse of sand on the western side of the river Glaslyn with Portmeirion and Harlech on the other side. Its a very interesting piece of coastline for us as we are not used to such flat open spaces. At one part , the north bank , the tide is so far out I cannot even see it mind you I am well overdue for an eye test. The banks themselves are amazing, akin to a collection of golden yellow fields with contours, water courses, flats and small rises. Its easy to see how one could get trapped easily with a rapidly rising tide .

It was a dull, overcast day , a tad windy but it’s certainly the place for a good brisk walk with any direction possible. I was accompanied as usual by Crazy Nel or ‘Two tail Nel’ as we call her now, Sali Bach who really did not want to come out of the pick up today and my dear wife who always dresses for the occasion. Nel was on form terrorising all the seagulls, she still thinks she can catch them by doing an impression of a cheetah’s  0-60 in 6 seconds,  not a hope Nel, when will you learn. Dear wife was not impressed by having so make her way across a couple of very light water courses in her sparkling doc martins- with heels I must say , yes doc martins with heels, you heard correctly the first time. For those of you who know dear wifey you will agree that this is the equivalent of Bear Grylls dressing down and wearing a pair of flip flops. God only knows how her usual heels would have fared. To her these are a proper pair of  hiking boot – with a heel.

Mother Nature had yet again been busy on the artistic side, creating all sorts of wonderful shapes in the sand , sculpturing at its best, I could walk around all day just looking at these masterpieces, I can see why artists sit and gaze at nature for their inspiration, makes complete sense.

Ciara , Dennis and whoever this last storm was called had certainly left their mark there , you can see clearly how their cold winter breath has cut vertical steps in the dunes similar to a warm knife through cold butter , as the saying goes ‘shifting sands of time’

On the way back we called in the lovely village of Borth y Gest with its picture postcard harbour , always worth stopping off there and sampling the delights of one of their intimate  cafe’s after a nice long walk. We popped our heads in to the  ‘SeaView’  only to find a few people in there, what more would one expect on a dull February afternoon.  We had a couple of coffee’s and a lovely piece of cake to share before heading back to Rhosydd.

This really was what you might call a classic winter walk on a nice quiet beach, the sort of thing you see in the latest  Boden catalog.

I will be writing a separate blog on all cafe’s we visit so please keep an eye out for this.

bye for now .

G xx

 

The New Harbour Entrance

Over the past  fortnight some rather large lorries have been passing through Pwllheli with some staggeringly large grey stones in the back, destined for the harbour entrance I was told, well, this  can mean only one thing . Time for exploring.

I headed down there soon after lunch, making the most of the brightening afternoon sunshine, both dogs in tow. Nel is similar to an overactive kangaroo bouncing everywhere but poor Sali Bach is now well over twenty years old and very selective as to her walks, but I do try and get her out at least every other day. I understand very well the term ‘selective hearing by now’.

Sali, Sali, tyd wan, tyd Sali , am dro bach, doesn’t move yet she can hear a twix wrapper from a good 30 yards……..    .

Parked up by the posh ‘Gimblet Rock Clubhouse’ and walked down, this time of the year there is a distinct lack of Range rovers and other vehicles with price tags larger than local properties, only my battered pick up today.

The last few storms have certainly left their marks. A few small breaches in the waist  high embankment of the right. There is the remnants of an old landing jetty going back to the 19th century, the remains of the old Gimblet rock  granite quarry. I photograph it quite often but its the first time I have ever seen some cross members on it, shows how much height has been stolen by mother nature.

With it being low water I was able to cheat and get closer to the works at the end, looked like the scene of the latest transformer production , two huge 50 tonne plus tracked excavators dancing in the wind, throwing around 4 tonne boulders as if they were small pebbles on the beach.

The old groyne which was built when the marina was constructed over 30 years ago, this is the term used for a peninsula of stones protruding out to sea creating a harbour wall entrance, 30 years of tides, traffic and storms have certainly played a part in its demise. Many say it was never right in the first place, but that is another story, one discussed most weekends over some pints of beer by the local fishermen and sailors. The new structure seems to be much bigger than its predecessor, the powers at be are hoping that this will stop the vast amount of shifting sands and gravel which is clogging up the channel. Only time will tell.

After many photos, a good conversation with one’s self it was time to head back home for some cake and Coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

Dennis comes to ‘Porth Neigwl’ – Hell’s Mouth

Storm Dennis had certainly arrived, on the whole we were lucky on the Llyn, some rain Saturday as well as some very strong winds but nothing compared to South Wales and up North. The usual few trees down having been dancing to Dennis’s wild composition of wind and rain requiem. It is a rather strange tradition I do believe naming all these storms as if they were good close friends. Many moons ago we just called it ‘Winter’.

In any case Sunday afternoon we decided to make our way down to Porth Neigwl otherwise known as Hell’s Mouth, you must admit the true welsh name is more forgiving as well as being a tad romantic, why ever not. Porth Neigwl is one of the largest bays on the Llyn with the shoreline making nearly eight mile long curve on the south side of the Peninsula. The bay itself is very shallow hence a very strong tide running and when the wind gets behind the tide, huge rolling waves delivering the ferocity of the Irish sea if not the North Atlantic ocean. Do you know if you took a straight line from the shoreline out to sea the next port of call is Cuba, leaving southern Ireland  a few miles to the right of the plotted course. I’ve said before my talents are wasted here, I should be in the local pub quiz team. There are reputed to be over one hundred shipwrecks within the waters of Porth Neigwl.

The coast is accessed from a small car park down a path which cuts through the dunes, it was very wet down there but when we arrived down on the beach I thought we had arrived at some magical winter wonderland, with sea foam – Ewyn Y Mor we call it in Wales, replacing snow. It was everywhere, making foam drifts, flying in the air, Crazy Nel wasn’t too sure though, she saw it akin to being chased by some mythical sea monster, never have I seen a ferocious Westie diving for the dunes for shelter and security.

The sea was certainly awake from its winter slumber, waves breaking everywhere, a good hundred meters between breaking waves, some getting to a good 3 mtrs in height, all to the wonderful sunny backdrop of Mynydd Rhiw. The sea has once more taken more land in to its property decimating the cliff edges and dunes. You can see from one photo the roots exposed of a ‘yesterday dune’, a manhole on the cliff top now receding on the beach and the hanging fence-lines awaiting their fates. Call it global warming, climate change, over development, call it what you want, its here to stay – that is for certain.

Now back to pub quizzes.  A very interesting fact about the area. As part of the RAF airfield at Pen y Berth, Penrhos in 1936 Porth Neigwl became a bombing range and practice range for trainee airmen  until 1945, you will notice all the concrete walls and strange structures around the fields. There was an oval narrow gauge railway  where a model aircraft was propelled along for trainee gunners to practice on. There is a very good video of it on the web, I shall try my best to find it for you…

 

 

Lan Mor Berch and Scallops

It was 4 o clock and I needed a break,I was aware that this week we were on springs(spring tides), for those who don’t know, the height of the tides vary from day to day in a monthly oscillating patterns from high to low dependent on the state of the moon. Sometimes they can be even higher than usual,this is called a spring tide. Basically it comes in a lot more, when it coincides with a storm then you can imagine the consequences, what also comes in more also goes out more so springs are a good time to get to parts of the beach not normally accessible. This was low water on a spring.

‘Lan Mor Berch’ as we have always called it is the local name for Abererch Beach although we are two miles from the village of Abererch, that’s the way its always been, the actual beach at Abererch is actually known as ‘Abererch Sands’ due to the campsite which is located there, don’t you just love the origins of names. In any case tide was on a low water spring and out for a very good distance ,not seen it like this for years, dogs could run and run and run. It was quite chilly down there at this time of the day, three  deg I reckon and beholden to me a lady passed me with a pair of shorts, coat and a bright orange bag, heading 1/2 a mile out towards the sea on the horizon, I could hardly make her out at this stage, she takes off her coat and dives in to the breaking waves of the sea, spends about twenty mins in there and them makes a hastily retreat, now that’s hardcore .

We have a few scallop beds of the coast at Pwllheli and after a violent storm such as ‘Ciara’ some get dislodged and end up being swept up on the beach, a fantastic free bounty from the sea. After such a storm you can always see two or three people walking the mud flats with baskets in hand collecting the scallops, they can be there at times at first light or late at night, but you must be there first to get the pick, somehow this task always fails me. Fresh local scallops pan fried for a minute in some local welsh butter and a drop of wine – now it doesn’t get any better than that .

Well,all I can say that after an hour on this lovely beach with wind blowing in my face,I shan’t say hair as the years have not been kind to me when it comes to hair,the batteries were certainly recharged.