Day out (Part 2)

Good morning all. Welcome to the eagerly-awaited follow up to last Wednesday’s post from my guest blogger….

After the climb to St Winefride’s Well and descent to our cars we drove a couple of miles to our next port of call on our day out. Abakhan Fabrics is one of those places that have everything you could ever want for knitting, sewing & craft making. We had a look round each of the shops in this little enclave before setting out on the next part of our excursion into North Wales. A brief walk along the main road brought us to the path which leads down to the sea. This was a much shorter flatter walk than the St Winefride’s bit but the path did go under a rather low bridge. Here are two ladies walking under it and you can see how low it is. Some of the gents had to dip their heads to avoid the roof.

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Just beyond the bridge was this next pic – A ship, apparently abandoned.

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It is called the Duke of Lancaster but is obviously past its sell-by date. How did it get there? Why was it there and obviously not likely to move? In fact it looks like local vandals have sprayed graffiti along the side. Our leader informed us that the council had actually employed someone to do the artwork. The intention was to convert the vessel for use as something else. For a time it became a shopping centre with traders bringing their stuff to it to sell from inside the ship. However they moved on and due to our modern health and safety regulations further plans had to be shelved. This is because any use involving the public nowadays would have to have access for emergency vehicles; and of course neither ambulances nor fire engines would get under that low bridge (probably clearance of barely 6ft/1.83m) on the path into the berth. Given that, it is unlikely permission would be granted for anything like a visitor attraction of any kind.

The ship was originally built, in 1956, as a passenger ferry and was also used for cruises. (It could carry 1,800 passengers.) That was until about 1966 when it became a car ferry doing the Belfast to Heysham run. However demand dropped and with no other apparent employment for the vessel it was moved to Mostyn in 1979 and was concreted in. If you fancy a watch of some info about it there’s a YouTube clip (5 mins) which is part of a series of programmes called “Coast” which ran in the UK a few years ago. (The BBC2 programme is in its 8th series now with a 9th planned for next year.) It shows you the guy who lives on board (or lived on board at one time). He’s got a very emotional tie to the ship which you can see in the clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2rZWtX844w

We walked a little further past the ship along what is now part of the North Wales Coast Path enjoying the sunshine.image

Then we returned and just before passing under the low bridge back to our cars we saw this little boat. Its name, as you can see on the hull, is Girl Al.

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I couldn’t find out much about it but when I checked Flickr I found this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/58735253@N03/6892776955/

Now you can see it actually looks like a completely different boat. The cabin is boarded up; the hull has a fair number of barnacles; the paint on deck is peeling; however, as you can see, it has the same name (Girl Al) and the same registration number (CH101). This means it must have either have been extensively re-built and repainted or it’s actually a new boat after the old one was scrapped. And what’s the reason for the name? I’m sure there’s a story there if only I could find out who knows about it.

Next stop was a very ancient village inland for a drink on the way home – The Red Lion at Llanasa, a place with, at the latest count, just 240 residents. And very nice it was too. (The pub dates back to around 1600.) Despite the Bank Holiday the place was not too crowded and we got the drinks far quicker than the cup of tea episode earlier in the day (mentioned last week).

The village & church have a history dating back to about 600AD (and possibly even earlier than that). It used to be called Llanasaph because it was where the remains of St Asaph were kept; they were moved to St Asaph Cathedral in the late 13th century. The other interesting thing is that the church is the burial place of the guy who was the father of Owain Glyndwr. (You may remember my post of 13.3.13 which mentioned Owain and the Welsh Revolt he led, during the reign of Henry IV, at the start of the 15th century.) His tombstone is still there with the words here lies Gruffudd Fychan” engraved in Welsh.

If you go to this site and scroll down to the 4th image you can see an outline drawing of the tombstone with a brief and interesting explanation of the markings on it:

http://llanasaconservationsocie.homestead.com/page2.html

Just across from the pub was the local parish church so we decided to have a quick look.

On the way over I spotted this sign outside a house which clearly had had a significant former life.

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It was a real reminder of how, in all the cutbacks the The Post Office has had to make over the years, so many village post offices were closed down. It was nice to see the owners had, at least, hung on to the name so there’s a reminder for future generations of what the building used to be. I wonder how far the village folk have to travel now to get the services it used to provide.

Here’s the path leading round the back of the church.

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What you probably can’t see from the pic is that all those stones laid as edges to the path are actual gravestones. I could only assume they must have been ones that were falling over and had been laid flat. Cemetaries have to be very careful now because if a gravestone is loose or leaning and it falls and injures someone they are liable for compensation. Thus there are lots of gravestones which have been laid flat to avoid claims being made. One of my own family ancestor’s grave has had this done to it and I can’t read the inscription because it was put face down! Well done the council. I was told I could pay someone to come along and lift it so I could get a picture of the information but that it would have to be laid flat again for “health & safety” reasons.

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Next I went to find out if it was possible to see inside the church. It wasn’t. However there was a notice pinned to the door and here it is:

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Well there’s a curious one. I wonder why swallows seem to be the main culprits. Where I live it’s pigeons that get in these kinds places and cause mess & havoc.

If you don’t know what a swallow sounds like have a listen to this:

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rmhttp/radio4/science/birdsong_swallow.mp3

A local property website has a couple of places up for sale in Llanasa: one for £750,000 (approx $1,152,000) and a 7-bedroom one for £1,000,000 ($1,537,000) if you fancy splashing out!

And so it was home time. We joined the queues as everyone else thought it was a good time to go home as well but at least it kept moving. Great day!

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