Another trip on a train with a difference. This was to be the first request stop on the challenge of visiting stations starting with all the letters of the alphabet. I'm always somehow fascinated by the trains on this route. They start off in the large city of Manchester, come down through the Wales/England border region visiting small stations, enter South Wales for the much larger population centres of Newport, Cardiff and Swansea and then soon get to stations so small they are request stops.
|Ferryside Request Stop - what a lovely station|
Up early and walked the dog then down to Cardiff Central and all aboard. Well, not all, I was picking up my friend at Swansea who also fancied a day's walk. The plan was not just to visit Ferryside, nice though it is but to go from there down to Kidwelly and catch a train back from there.
|Looking over to Llansteffan|
First thing to remember, ask the conductor to stop the train at Ferryside. Paul Merton visited Ferryside when making his TV programme about request stops. I can see why. It's a lovely little place, right on the side of the estuary. So close in fact that you would worry about storm surges and alike but today was tranquil. What a quaint station Ferryside is with its signal box and old fashioned signal.
|St Ishmael church|
We walked down the coast to St Ishmael, some of it walking on the beach, some of it along the lanes. Just the occasional train going past on the nearby line. We pottered around the church in St Ishmael that has been a place of worship for over 100 years.
|The bell on Pengay Farm - wonder if it is an old ship's bell|
Another kilometre past St Ishmael and it was time to start heading inland, initially up the valley and them a steep walk through woods and ending up at Pengay Farm. One reason for choosing this route was to visit some trig points - yes, strange hobbies some of us have, but they always seem to have a good view, well not always.
|Time for a bit of trig point bagging|
By the time we reached the village of Llansaint I was looking forward maybe to a beer but a local told us we were out of luck and the pub not open on a Monday. He told us a lot more actually, about local shipwrecks and all sorts of things and where to go to get a good view south over Gwendraeth estuary and look over towards the Gower peninsular. He wasn't wrong.
|Gwendraeth Estuary and Gower|
The afternoon walk took us not straight down into Kidwelly, that would have been far too straightforward, but NE for a couple of miles over to another trig point and then south after that into Kidwelly.
|Kidwelly Castle - some of Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed here.|
We had a look at Kidwelly Castle. It's a wonder that anything remains of the place after so many people tried to attack it over the years - must have been well built. We read a bit about Gwenllian and he death at the Battle of Kidwelly. It all went on around here.
|Rumsey House - sceen of some very strange going ons just over 100 years ago|
Talking things happening, another place I was keen to see was Rumsey House, the former home of Mable Greenwood. You probably won't have heard of her unless you have been to one of my talks. Poor Mable was poisoned with arsenic. Her husband, the local solicitor, amazingly was found not-guilty of killing her despite the evidence against him appearing strong, including the fact that he married his lover just a few months after his wife's death.
Kidwelly station is a fair step away from the town and as every teashop in town appeared to be shut, I guess because it was a Monday or after 3.30 or both, we wandered down and had a look at the estuary and the remains of the first canal built in Wales.
|Evening sun setting over Kidwelly|
Kidwelly, also being a request stop, meant we got in more practice of stopping a train with the mere bend of the elbow. Made you feel quite powerful.