Martin's Blog

from a Slovenian living in Bromyard

Tag: Pembrokeshire (page 1 of 2)

Pembrokeshire will finally go fibreoptic

fibre-optic-cableOK, some of it. But it should all start happening in the spring of 2014. BT and and Superfast Cymru have announced the expansion of their super-fast internet based on fibre-optic technology in many exchanges in Pembrokeshire in the first half of 2014.

Haverfordwest will seem to be the first one as would be expected with a roll-out starting in March 2014. June 2014 will see a roll-out for exchanges in Pembroke, Johnston and Milford Haven, No news currently on other Pembrokeshire exchanges.

Sources:

Google StreetView hits Pembrokeshire

Taken from Google StreetView

Google StreetView’s coverage has been extended to about 90% of the country and that now includes Haverfordwest and Pembrokeshire. The images are pretty high quality. I have heard there is a bit of an anomaly with the High Street in Pembroke Dock as part of it was filmed in once season and the other part in another, with Christmas decorations still visible.

Taken from Google StreetView

As I did and most of the people I showed this to, also did, we went and had a look where we live and where we used to live. So go on, knock yourself out.

http://maps.google.co.uk/

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Stranded sheep in the Blue Lagoon

The Sunday between Christmas and the New Year I spent hiking around Pembrokeshire and this time I went for walk no. 12 (Around Ynys Barry) taken from the book mentioned in some of my previous posts There is a local attraction called the Blue Lagoon that is just a few minutes away from the Aber Eiddy (also known as Abereiddy) car park where the walk originates from. The lagoon is actually an old man-made slate mining pit. The wall between the pit and the sea was later blasted to open it up making an artificial bay for ships to find shelter in high tides in case of rough seas.

A bit of trivia:  The Aber Eiddy Blue Lagoon was also used as a filming location for the video for the techno anthem Silence by the Canadian group Delirium (Featuring Sarah McLachlan). By the way the video was also filmed at Newgale beach.

As I entered the lagoon I saw a sheep on the cliffs about halfway between the top of the cliffs and the lagoon floor. I though it was a ledge that the animal accessed to get to some grass and didn’t think much about it. A few days later I overheard a colleague at work saying how her dog got fixated on a sheep on the cliffs while walking and it transpired that she was walking the dog in the Blue Lagoon and that was quite probably the same sheep. I went to check as soon as possible half expecting the sheep to be gone or even worse, dead. To my surprise she was still there and I took these pictures:
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The problem is the rocks are vertical and very slippery below. Above, from the top of the cliff, there is a very steep slope. I managed to report about the stranded sheep to the RSPCA and they confirmed they have already received reports about this incident and that there is also a farmer that is checking it daily. This all happened yesterday, Saturday January 3rd. Today I went and checked it again and it is still there, alive. This makes it at least 9 days since it has been stuck on that ledge.

Does anyone else know anything more about it? The RSPCA call centre mentioned that a rescue is considered but also mentioned health and safety which fills me with a bit of a worry. I don’t want to start an upset but I don’t want to see an animal suffer further and am quite willing to go and get the sheep myself. I have tried out rock climbing a couple of times and this should be an easy climb/descent with the proper equipment. The only problem would be restraining the sheep and convincing her that I its supposed to be rescued and should not feel threatened.

I have also tried contacting the local newspaper to get them involved. So far no reply. I would appreciate any suggestions or help. Will post any updates as they arise.

Update Monday, 4th January 2010 at 13.15

Checked on her again yesterday at about 2pm. Was still looking relatively OK. Just spoke to the RSPCA inspector. A rescue is planned this week. The farmer who is checking up on her is the owner so if all goes well she should be back with her hers by the end of the week unless she has any medical condition that needs to be treated first. Apparently sheep often get stranded in those parts and a lot of times will get themselves out of trouble.

Update Tuesday, 5th January 2010 at 19.20

Sheep still OK, were a couple of people from the RSPCA that were trying to get some food down to her. The problem today were very strong winds and icy snow. The snow was only up on the junction with the Abereiddy road which is where I had to leave my car. When I arrived I though the snow would be on the beach as well – there is a rather steep road just above Aber Eiddy. The B4330 was quite slippery on the way there as the snow was just starting at about 13.40. I left Aber Eiddy at about 14.40. This was a photo of the road:

The Abereiddy road after the snow on January 5th

The Abereiddy road after the snow on January 5th

I came home at about 18.40. That is 4 hours later!!! The trip should have taken me about 45 minutes!. This was the route I took and my average speed was 5 miles per hour. The problem wasn’t the very icy B4330 – that part took me about an hour to the Ford roundabout. It took the rest to get from the roundabout at Ford to Johnston. Nuts!!! That part had an average speed of  1.7 mph (3 hours for 5.3 miles).

I have received some news from a journalist from the above mentioned local newspaper. She received information that the rescue was planned for tomorrow but due to the adverse weather conditions I doubt this.

Update Thursday, 7th January 2010 at 19.30

Received a call from the Western Telegraph newsdesk this afternoon. The reporter had learnt that the sheep was successfully rescued yesterday, Wednesday, January 6. I was just trying to get some feed arranged for her for tomorrow but it now wont be necessary. Great!

Update Thursday, 8th January 2010 at 19.35

Talked to the RSPCA inspector today who told me the sheep was so cooperative that it didn’t need sedating and lifting it up was not such a problem. There were also another two sheep further along also on the cliffs but they could have possibly got themselves out of trouble but they helped them out non the less.

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Pembrokeshire snow in January 2010

Had a big snowstorm last night that covered Pembrokeshire with a bit of snow. These photos taken from a hike up to the highest peak in the Preseli hillsFoel Cwmcerwyn. Very windy at the top!
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The requested URL /data/feed/api/user/martin.mcdowell/album/PembrokeshireSnow2010?kind=photo was not found on this server. That’s all we know.

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How I got bullied by three horses

This is not a photo from the incident

This is not a photo from the incident

Recently I haven not been writing about my treks round Pembrokeshire and how I have been working my way through the “Walking in Pembrokeshire” guide. I’ve done so many now I have been repeating some of them two to three times. This last walk I did for the first time and is worth mentioning as it was one of the more unusual.

It is the walk no. 24 starting in Landshipping Quay and the day wasn’t to promising as weather was concerned. I though there might be just intermittent drizzles, but it ended pouring down all day and soaking me throughout. I recently invested in some wellington boots as the grounds in Pembrokeshire were becoming more and more water-logged in recent weeks and months. They proved to be a saviour on this occasion starting as I took on the river banks of the Cleddau river in Landshipping Quay.

Not long after the start of the trip I ended up in a field that was filled with, what at first looked like bullocks (castrated bulls). However as I got much closer I realised that one of them, how should I say – did not have the deed done to him. He was entire, un-castrated, missing the two-brick job. Now I know they can be very dangerous and show aggressiveness against almost everybody, including their owners, however he just seemed to have that smug look on his face like “I could have you, I could break you like a little twig and squash you like a bug”. I got the hint and did not stick around to find out if I might have misread his intentions. I later found out that bulls of this breed even if un-castrated are very timid and not that dangerous.

About half way into the walk I came on this field (just after Beggar’s Reach) that, at first, looked like it was only populated by loads of sheep. Then almost out of nowhere three huge thoroughbred horses that looked like they were trained by “I’ll be back” Schwarzenegger himself. They were massive. Not like the many half feral horse mutts you see in the Preselis that are quite shy and will usually run in the other direction of you approach them. Not only were they not afraid of me, they took an uncomfortable interest in me. The fact that haven’t been many walkers on that public footpath probably for days made their curiosity even bigger. When they first came up they did that typical horse thing where they come right up to you but once you try to pat them they shy away. I am not a horse person and I had a very limited contact with them through my veterinary career so I tried to interact with them as best I knew. I soon got bored and continued on the path only to realise I was being closely followed by all three horses. The close-stalking continued as I tried to find a way out of the field and ended being cornered in the field with these three guy (they were probably female, actually). Then they started what looked to me like an increasing aggressive behaviour and for the first time I thought, “Shit, I might get hurt”. It was a bit like primary school with the older boys bullying. I wasn’t sure whether I have to take some command over them, shout at them or continue ignoring them. I ended up with a strange combination of all three but I think the shortness of their attention span did the trick in the end. Needless to say I hastily exited the field and thought little of the psychological damage I might have sustained 😉

The next exciting bit (NOT!) came after the Broadley farm. The track and surrounding fields were so saturated with water that the mud was nearly getting into my wellies. The problem was also I got completely stuck as my boots got sucked into the mud and moving my legs became was very very difficult. Not a completely un-dangerous situation as there was no soul around and the mobile phone reception was patchy at best. I somehow managed to almost crawl out of the very thick mixture of water, cow excrements and mud only to get myself corned at the end of the track. To get back onto the path I had to crawl under a barbed wire. Of course it wouldn’t be me If I didn’t get stuck nice and proper. Luckily none of the clothing I was wearing sustained any serous damage.

I got back to my car in Landshipping Quay properly soaked, covered with all sorts of filth and with a new founded respect/fear of horses.

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Snemanje Robina Hooda – malce bližje

Slika z BBC strani, avtorja Scotty

Slika z BBC strani, avtorja Scotty

Včeraj sem šel spet malo na ogled do lokacije snemanja novega filma o Robinu Hoodu na obali Freshwater West in zadeve so se precej spremenile od prejšnjega tedna, ko sem bil nazadnje tam. Varnostnikov ni bilo veliko in tokrat so me vsaj spustili na plažo, kljub temu, da je na tam potekalo snemanje. Povsod sami statisti, večinoma v horizontali. Če se nisem spotaknil ob statista, sem se pa skoraj ob kako sulico. Mnogi so bili pokonci že od 4. ure zjutraj, da so jih ustrezno pripravili na snemanje in ko sem bil tam so morali biti pokonci okoli 10 ur, povrh vsega pa je še sonce žgalo. Ti res, spet so se mi zasmilili. Vsi so bili obleženi v obleke iz tistih časov (vsaj upam, da so bili iz tistih časov, kakšnih ustreznih prič nimam na voljo), na severnem delu plaže so bili, tako kot teden prej, statisti na konjih. One glavne zvezde me niso zanimale in opazovanje snemanja od blizu mi je bilo precej bolj cool.

Najprej sem se sprehodil gor in dol po plaži – svetovali so mi, naj hodim bolj vkraj pa se mi zdi da to ni bila najboljša ideja saj so ves čas po tem delu drveli avtomobili in štirikolesniki raznih vrst. Eden se je celo ustavil in mi ponudil prevoz do produkcijskega tabora na južnem delu. One hute, ki sem jih videl prejšnji teden, so že podrli. Od varnostnika sem izvedel, da trenutno poteka druga faza snemanja, in sicer snemanje podrobnosti, kjer glavni zvedniki niso vpleteni. Prav tako je bilo zaključeno snemanje večjih scen, kjer so bili vklopljeni številni statisti in konji.

Danes so se v lokalnem časopisu tudi razpisali o gospodu Crowe-u – kaj sočnih podatkov niso razkrili, so pa potrdili, da je njegov plan, da bi se vsak dan prevažal na snemanje s helikopterjem iz prijateljeve posesti v Buckinghamshire-ju, ni bil izvedljiv, tako da je snemanje preživel v produkcijskem taboru ob snemališču. Verjetno je malo precenil oddaljenost Walesa od Londona. Matr sam smo res daleč od prestolnice, mi noben ne verjame !!!

So pa v zgoraj omenjenem lokalnem časopisu tudi objavili, kako je šel na večerjo s soigralci in čisto lepo se je obnašal in popolnoma nič zvezdniško. Gostilna se imenuje Carew Inn in je v neposredni bližini srednjeveškega gradu Carew. Še celo toliko se je sprostil, da je pobral kitaro in zapel par pesmi – ena od teh naj bi bila “Leaving on a jet plane” Johna Denverja. Za hvaležnost je uslužbencev dal 350 britanskih funtov vredno napitnino. Imam tudi nekaj fotografij s tega gradu, ki jih je posnela moja mama.

Ajd, dost je, sem dal danes ven modrostni zob in se mi ne piše več. Mi je zobozdravnik dal navodila in me ddrugim tudi piše, da se moram izogibat alkoholu. Ja, pa še to!!??

Nekaj super fotk z BBC-jeve strani…

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Snemanje Robina Hooda – od daleč

P6230013V mesecu juniju 2009 so pričeli nedaleč od tod s snemanjem naslednje filmske upodobitve princa tatov – Robina Hooda.

Lokacija, kjer poteka snemanje, se imenuje Freshwater West in gre za eno lepših plaž v Pembrokeshire-ju in Wales-u nasploh. Tu so pejšnji mesec celo snemali naslednji film o Harryu Potterju. Produkcija za Robina Hooda pa je precej večja in vključuje veliko več ljudi in opreme. Pred tedni so imeli v bližnji dvorani avdicijo za statiste in prijaviti se jih je hotelo veliko več, kolikor je bilo mest na voljo.

Ker je produkcija tega filma tako velika, so uspeli pri občini (izraz občina upoorabljam kot nadomestilo za county council, v tem konkretnem primeru Pembrokeshire County Council) dobiti dovoljenje za dvotedensko zaprtje lokalne ceste, ki poteka mimo plaže, kjer se bo snemalo največ prizorov. Očitno prihaja do manjših zamud, saj so morali zaprositi za podaljšanje tega dovoljenja za nekaj dni.

Sam sem bil priča snemanju prejšnji torek. Čeprav so govorili, da bo plaža odprta za javnost, to skoraj ni bilo mogoče realizirati, saj je med snemanjem tam ogromno opreme in statistov, tako da do plaže sploh nisi mogel, je bila pa odprta pot ob plaži in ima tudi posebno ime – Pembrokeshire coastal path. Na njej je bilo kar nekaj opazovalcev in fotografov, ki so opazovali dogajanje med snemanjem. Očitno so se pripravljali na snemanje spopadom med nekakšno srednjeveško pehoto s sulicami in konjenico. Stal sem ravno nad severnim delom plaže, kjer so ravno takrat počivali konji z jezdeci. Na sliki se prav dobro vidi, da so precej izmučeni in da se jim kaj dosti ne da. Ko jih je šef začel klicati naj grejo na konje, jih je moral včkrat nadreti naj že spravijo riti na sedla in odsmrdijo do snemališča.

Sredi zaliva pred Freshwater West plažo je bilo kar nekaj plovil, nekateri v stilu robinhoodovskih časov (baje) in nekateri malo bolj današnji. No, iz enega iz slednje skupine se je vsake toliko časa izpustil gost oblak dima – verjetno je šlo za posebno meglo, ki jo uporabljajo za snemanje. Ta megla se je najprej razprostrla preko zaliva in potem še naprej na celino in prav čudno je smrdela.

P6230029Tik pred snemanjem se je potem pojavil še helikopter za katerega sem najprej sumil, da je pripeljal glavne zvezde – najverjetneje pa je bil uporabljen samo za snemanje – na nosu je imel namreč namontirano ogromno okroglo belo ohišje s kamero v njej. Ko snemanja ni bilo, je šel začasno “parkirat” na bližnji hrib. Takoj, ko se je snemanje nadaljevalo, je zopet zaštartal motorje in nadaljeval delo. Meni je bilo vse skupaj precej zanimivo, ker še nikoli nisem bil na prizorišču snemanja filma, kaj šele za snemanje tako velikega holivudskega filma. Bi bilo kar kul, če bi me spustili na plažo, da bi si zadevo bolje ogledal in kaj poslikal – avtogram Russel-a Crowe-a me namreč niti malo ne interesira.

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Na trenutke je bilo dogajanje na plaži kar gledljivo, prav kamlu pa se mi je začelo dolgočasit. Prav hecno pa je bilo gledati eno prvih vaj pri spopadu prej omenjene pehote in konjenice. Ko se je režiser zadrl “Action” in ko so planili eni proti drugim, se je režiser kmalu zadrl “Cut”. Statisti so bili očitno toliko zagreti ali pa so začasno oglušeli, da so nadaljevali z bitko, tako da se je moral režiser še večkrat zadreti Rez …  rez, da so končno prenehali s klofanjem. Fotograf, ki je spremljaj dogajanje mi je povedal, da gre za igralce rugbija, ki so bili precej zagreti za dober “fajt”.

Na koncu sem si še mimogrede ogledal prizorišče snemanja, ki naj bi še prišlo na vrsto – ob plaži, nad plitvimi pečinami, so postavili nekakšne manjše enostavne koče.

Na dan pa že curljajo novice iz samega snemanja. Čisto slučajno se je kolegičina mama uspela slikati z glavnim igralcem Russelom Crowom. Sem pa iz zanesljivih virov izvedel, da je nek statist, ki je bil zaposlen kot veslač v filmu, stopil do Russel-a in ga poprosil za fotografiranje ali avtogram. Russel mu je obljubil, da ni problema in se lahko zmenita, ko pride nazaj. No, nazaj je prišel le nek asistent , ki je tipu (veslaču) zabičal, naj ne nadleguje glavnega igralca in naj se pod nosom obriše za fotografijo in avtogram. Pijar, da mu ni para.

View towards the south. You can see a tractor "combing" the sand next to the wood stacks

View towards the south. You can see a tractor “combing” the sand next to the wood stacks

Slišal sem tudi za novico, da se je pri snemanju prevrnila barka na kateri so bili konji z jezdeci. Kar nekaj jih je bilo pripeljano v lokalno urgenco. Konjem, po poročilih, ni bilo nič hudega. So pa imeli še eno težavo, ko so spet druge barke pri snemanju, nasedle na mivko. Pri tem je prišlo do hujših težav s posebnimi motorji Mercury Verado saj so se ti, kljub mehki mivki, poškodovali. Poklicati so morali neko lokalno podjetje, ki je zastopnik za te motorje, da so zadevo rešili.

Snemanje bo potekalo še kar nekaj dni in na dan bo, prav gotovo, prišlo še kar nekaj zanimivosti.

Ogled galerije.

Freshwater West meets Harry Potter and Robin Hood

Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire

Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire

Of course not literally, but it was published today in the local newspaper that the Freshwater West (the location of one of my recent trecks: The difference is in the Angle) will be used as a filming location for the upcoming movies Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood remake.

The debate is now mostly concerning whether the beach will still be opened to the public and when the road will be closed during the filming in May and June 2009. The biggest problem I see is that there isn’t much parking available close to the beach anyway so I suppose that is why they will shut the road off.

See the gallery from the hike here and here are some photos taken of the beach…

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Blackpool Mill and the Old Slebech Church

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This one the walk no 27 taken from the book and is a bit of a deviation from the books theme – it being that there are 41 circular walks in Pembrokeshire. Well this walk is still in Pembrokeshire but it is not at all circular. However the authors can be forgiven for this as it is a very nice easy walk with some nice views, especially at the main Slebech estate (see their website for more details. If you are a birdwatcher then this walk should definitely not be missed. In quite a few places along the road you can reach the Eastern Cleddau and gaze upon the views of the river and the bird population that occupy it.

See the complete photo gallery here.

There is also quite a bit of history related to the Slebech estate and the church. It dates from the 12th century A.D. when the grounds were owned by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem who “have their roots” in the first crusade. Cool.

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I just love this photo, I think it is good enough to be framed 🙂

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Great Treffgarne Mountain

gtm_011

This walk seemed the muddiest of them all, in fact I am wandering how exactly to wash my walking shoes and the washing machine is getting to be the favourite. This is the walk no. 32 and can easily be combined with no. 33 (Treffgarne Gorge) as they both start from the same point. That was actually my plan but my walking shoes got filled with lots of lovely mud hindering any furter hikes that day. OK, I admit, am being a bit of a wus, but I was lucky this happened towards the end of the walk.

The hike starts from the Nant-y-coy Mill and takes you on the right side of the valley north-westerly. The first part worth seeing is the valley in about mid-way into the hike – around the farm at North Hill. The path after that is a bit different from the one mentioned in the book as the Pembrokeshire County Council approved some modifications to the public path. These were made in September 2008. It now takes you round the farm to the left and then joins the original route at the top of the hill – the Great Treffgarne Mountain. That is the most spectacular part with great views in all directions. There are also these peculiar stones dotted on the top of the hill, each some way from another.

After that the path became very unpleasant as one farmer completely ignored the fact there is a path there. It was changed to a mud-bath instead of a field. At one moment, thinking I was stepping onto a reasonably solid mixture of mud and cow poo, I instead stepped into something much more liquid-like making my foot sink way beyond ankle deep. My left foot got completely soaked and my right one didn’t fare much better. Grrrrrrrr!!! I thought the farmers were supposed to be more considerate about the public paths – in fact it seemed that in that area the farmers trash the paths to discourage hikers from using them.

I was later told they have no such obligations and the paths are of secondary importance to their ownership of the land the path is on. I feel a bit nostalgic for the days in Yugoslavia (Slovenia) where a lot of land was nationalised for the common good.

Hmmm, gives me ideas 😉

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