I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
Yesterday we felt the call of the sea again. That mini-heatwave was still with us and it would have been foolish not to take full advantage of it. We had business to do in Carmarthen, and that sorted, headed towards and past Kidwelly, and paid our £2 entrance fee to get into Pembrey Country Park. Down the years we have been here many times, especially when our children were smaller. There are woodland walks, the fantastic beach, the sand dunes (now sadly battered from the sea surge we had early last year) and there's a good childrens' play area and a little miniature railway too. The fabulous beach - Cefn Sidan, which translates to "silken back" is about 7 miles long, and never crowded, especially once you get away from the main entrance point to the beach from the car parks.
The beach here is very flat and the sea goes out a long way. However, what is good for beach-goers was not so good for shipping in the past and there are records of some 180 wrecks registered as being swept up on these sands, and a further 380 guessed at. The 7 mile long beach holds on to her secrets well though, although one wreck in the dunes was revealed for a short while after that huge storm, noticed by one of the Rangers, but then shifting sands hid it from sight again and the Ranger was left cursing himself for not marking the spot.
Here is one of the wrecks which stays put. I believe this is the wreck of the Paul, which was blown onto the sands of Cefn Sidan in 1925. It's hard to imagine a wooden ship with masts and sails still in use at such a late date. HERE is a link to its story. DiscoverCarmarthenshire says: "The vessels that perished carried cargoes ranging from Juniper berries, indigo, copper and cochineal, rum and silver bullion bars to whale oil, seal skins, brandy, buffalo hides, cotton and coffee. " That sounds so exotic.
Storms threw up lots of shells from deep water, which were crusted in barnacles. I couldn't resist bringing a pocketful home with us!
My darling husband starting to get warm! Temperatures were well up again - amazingly so for November.
A view across the sands to the wrecked dunes. Still, what the sea has taken away, it will bring back again as it has done down the centuries.
The bottom of this robbed dune shows a solid compacted layer - how sandstone is formed over the millennia.
For some the attraction of the beach is worms for bait. I liked the reflection of the sun on the car onto the wet sands.
A bright splash of colour amongst the Marram grass.
Probably Sea Lavender in full flower. Sea-something anyway (I need to go and check my botany books).
More rubbish and robbed-out dunes.
Sea beet. I believe it can be cooked up and is a bit like a superior Spinach.
Above and below, views of the beach. Top one shows the hills of the Gower in the distance, including Rhossili where we were earlier in the year.
Above - looking back towards Kidwelly.
Lots of discarded fishing nets fetched up on the beach.
More rubbish (far too much plastic) on the remains of this stretch of dune.
What I am VERY tempted to go back and collect - berries of the Sea Buckthorn. I remember Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall making something (alocholic?) with these. I ate one and they are lovely, and very health-giving and high in Vitamin C, and a medicinal oil can also be made.
Finally back at the car park. As you can see, there is plenty of woodland (about 500 acres) to explore too, if the beach gets too hot.
Now, surely that must be our final seaside day this year? Watch this space!