Thursday, 17 July 2008

Fast Cats & The Last Invasion 17/07/2008

Launching from the slipway by the Celtic Diving Base at Goodwick, I paddled quickly over to the ferry terminal to take some pictures of the Stena Lynx III (the vomit rocket!) before she left for Rosslare. She does the crossing in 1 hour 50 minutes, but has done it in 1 hour 30 minutes. She has a top speed of 44 knots, a lot faster than me so I didn't hang around for long.

I then paddled across Fishguard Harbour to the picturesque little harbour of Lower Fishguard overlooked by Castle Point.

I have seen dolphins between here and the Lighthouse on the North Breakwater, but today I was not in luck.

On leaving the North Breakwater I passed the normal ferry on its way into Fishguard, which takes 3.5 hours, not nearly as fast and sleek as the Cat.

Today I decided to paddle straight to my intended destination of Strumble Head using the tide to my advantage making progress against the wind a lot easier, I would do the exploring on the return leg.

On reaching Strumble Head I had the second period of rain of the week, so far it was only a small amount but enough for the light to come on and after many attempts I managed to catch it with the camera!

Leaving Strumble Head numerous small beaches are passed before reaching Carregwastad Point, where on 22nd February 1797 a French force of 600 soldiers and 800 convicts in 4 warships under the command of an Irish-American Colonel William Tate landed here.

Carregwastad Point

'Valley of Cwm Felin' is this where they actually landed?

They were ill prepared with few provisions and raided local farms looking for food but instead found a cache of liquor recently 'rescued' from a Portuguese shipwreck by the locals. This helped to incapacitate the invaders who signed a surrender on 25th February in the Royal Oak Pub in Fishguard.

The local heroine of the invasions was Jemima Nicholas who, at the age of 47 armed with a pitchfork, captured 12 Frenchmen. It is thought the French may have mistaken local women like her dressed in their tall black hats and red cloaks for British Grenadiers. So ended the last foreign invasion of mainland Britain.

I had planned to have my lunch on one of the numerous small beaches of Aber Felin around from Carregwastad Point but there were numerous seals hauled out probably preparing for the pupping season. A very large bull seal appeared and kindly escorted me out of his harem!

All along the coast to Pen Anglas there were seals basking on rocks and beaches so I decided to paddle across Fishguard Bay to Needle Rock where I knew there were plenty of small coves.

Needle Rock is a large stack with an arch through it's base. Opposite this there are 2 smaller arches which make quite good photographic material.

A little further on towards Lower Fishguard I found a tiny steep pebbled beach with a large cave that went a long way back into the cliff, ideal for smuggling.

It was here, whilst having my lunch that I had to make a quick dash for my kayak as the wave from the returning Cat hit the beach. I would dread to think what it is like when it is further out at sea and going faster.

It was now a leisurely paddle in the sheltered waters of Fishguard Harbour back to the slipway. Yet another brilliant day covering a distance of just over 16 nautical miles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this - particularly as I am giving a talk at our local museum in Plymouth on Oct.28, 2008 and will be mentioning this last invasion on British soil.