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MOAC Annual Conference 2006

This is my photo-diary of the 2006 MOAC Annual Conference held at Broadhaven YHA, Pembrokeshire, and the "scenic route" my group took on the way back to the university which included Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber, Red Kites at Gigrin Farm, Stokesay Castle, Iron Bridge and more.

Thursday 4th May

After picking up my passengers it was a straight forward drive south to Broadhaven YHA in Pembrokeshire for the third "MOAC Annual Conference". After a simple lunch, we had talks from the 2005 intake MOAC MSc students on their first mini-projects. I didn't even get time to sneak off to the beach because I was trying to co-ordinate the first BBQ dinner.

Friday 5th May

The conference continued, but we had a free afternoon - most of which I spent on a short coastal walk north from the hostel, bumping into a lot of the other students en route:

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Saturday 6th May

More exciting conference events including an evening poster session, but we had the luxury of a second free afternoon. Taking advantage of the car, I headed south to Martin's Haven. Unfortunately the last boat out to Skomer Island was at 1pm, so I had to settle for a walk round the headland - a former deer park:

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Sunday 7th May

The conference finished after lunch, and after doing our share of the tidying up we ended up being the last vehicle to leave. With a full car this time (Martin, Hiroko, Antony and Yi) we headed North, taking in some sights on our way...

Solva / Solfach

By chance the village and its harbour was hosting "Dragon Boat racing" (which turned out to be four person sea going rowing boats). This meant all the car parks were full, but we found somewhere, and went for a walk on Gribin Hill just South/East of the village, over a hill fort, and the somewhat disappointing St. Elvis Burial Chamber (OS grid reference SM812239, map by Streetmap.co.uk). The return leg of the walk followed the cliff tops from where we could see some of the "Dragon Boats" at sea.

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The end of our walk took us round Solva Harbour, with the remains of its Lime Kilns shown in the first photo below. Only seven kilns remain today, but there were a dozen originally, built at about the end of the 18th century, to convert limestone into lime for fertilising the soil. They are now in the care of the National Trust.

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Our plan to visit the Woollen Mill just a mile inland fell through - it was closed.

St. David's Cathedral

We had time to have a little look around before the 6pm Sunday Service.

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St. David's YHA

St. David's YHA has recently refurbished to a very high standard.

Before dinner, while the guys had a nap, Hiroko and I went for a little stroll on the headland. On the way we found a hostel room key dropped on the path, which we were able to return to two german ladies we bumped into later on our walk. On the warden's recommendation we ate at The Farmer's Arms in St. Davids (a short drive away) which did a fair pub meal.

Monday 8th May

We headed up the Welsh coast, stopping en route, before heading inland to the village of Clun, where we stayed for the night.

Porthgain Harbour

Having seen this little village in a few postcards, we stopped by. It seemed to be an empty, but well used, harbour with some interesting ruins (undergoing some restoration or repair) - and several Art Galleries. Enquiring within I found out that most of Europe's lobsters are brought to shore here, and loaded onto lorries for transportation. Those weaker specimens that might not survive the journey get eaten locally - in fact the local pub was the St. David's Hostel Warden's second suggestion for where to eat locally.

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As to the strange red brick ruins, they are the remains of a granite crushing plant - and the tunnel was used to bring clay from an nearby mine to a brick works. All very industrial once upon a time, but fallow now.

Pentre Ifan

After the slight let down of the previous day's megalithic site, we went for a safe bet: Pentre Ifan, Pembrokeshire's most impressive burial chamber - which Martin and I had visited two years ago during the first MOAC annual conference. OS Grid Reference SN099369, map by Streetmap.co.uk.

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Kite feeding at Gigrin Farm

We arrived at Gigrin Farm Red Kite Feeding Station in time for the 3pm afternoon feeding...

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The farm also had a peacock and a couple of peahens in the yard, and he was nice enough to display for the ladies (Yi's bird noises may have helped...) and our cameras:

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Visting the Red Kite Centre was a kind suggestion from my supervisor, Dave Whitworth.

Clun Castle

As we were staying in the village of Clun, it made a pleasant walk to visit the castle (with its defensible Bowling Club, on one of the raised mottes):

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Clun Mill YHA

We stayed at Clun Mill YHA, a converted water mill - which was originally powered by a water turbine rather than the more conventional waterwheel. Much of the original machinery has been perserved during the conversion, and there are some informational plaques on display...

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The hostel itself only has four dormitories, but as there were only a handful of other guests it wasn't crowded. We had an interesting chat with a cylist who was his way to appear in court as a witness in a foot path dispute.

Tuesday 9th May

Stokesay Castle

A short drive brought us to Stokesay Castle (more photos), where I was able to take lots of exterior shots - making up for my previous visit when my camera battery died. None of the group really wanted to look inside, so we didn't stay long.

Much Wenlock Priory

Wenlock Priory (English Heritage) in the village of Much Wenlock (OS grid reference SJ625001, map by Streetmap.co.uk) turned out to be nice, but there isn't much left of it. The more recent topiary was fun.

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Iron Bridge

We parked in the village itself, and had a stroll over the world's first Iron Bridge.

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Then we drove up the valley to spend three whole hours at Blist's Hill Museum, an open air reconstruction of a Victorian Mining Village. With real pigs!

[PHOTO] [PHOTO of old advert: Ask your boot maker for Cock Sole Leather and get the label. 'Cock of the Walk' James Cock & Sons, Shrewsbury and 24. High Street Shoreditch. E.I. ]

I'm not aware of any welsh tanners in my ancestry, but the above advert from James Cock & Sons, Shrewsbury for their "Cock of the Walk" sole leather did still catch my eye! (There is also a large image available.)

The End

If you want more photos, there are some on the main conference page, and Antony and Yi have put some online too.

[Red Kite]

 

[Ironbridge Logo]

 

[National Trust Logo]

 

[English Heritage Logo]

 

[YHA Logo]