Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Lleyn Peninsula: part 1

We have all experienced the struggle to stifle a yawn when being shown a selection of holiday snaps:

    'Aunt Ada with a candy floss.'
    'Our Emily paddling.'
    'This is your Uncle Fred being buried in the sand by little Jemima.'  
    'This is uncle Fred after first aid treatment for sunburn.' (We honestly didn't mean to   forget him.)  
You know the sort of thing. Well, there will be nothing like that but, if you're doubtful, give this blog a miss.

Chris and I spent a few days in north-west Wales on the Lleyn peninsula or, to be more precise, a cottage in Porthdinallaen near the village of Morfa Nefyn. The weather was glorious, the coastline spectacular and the wild flowers prolific.

Looking down on 'our' bay. We were in the white cottage with buildings
on either side. The heat haze is obvious.  8 June, 2018
The cliffs on either side were full of interest. Sand Martins were present in large numbers where there was soft material for tunnelling. From time to time the population of these migratory birds crashes as a result of drought in their African wintering grounds but certainly they seemed to doing well here and the group of tunnels shown in the pictures was only one of several noted.

The tunnels of Sand Martins formed several groups along the cliffs near
our cottage. 8 June, 2018
Orchids abounded. Most were Common Spotted Orchids, Dactylorhiza fuchsii, mostly in their usual pink-flowered form, with purple blotches on the leaves.
Common Spotted Orchids were present in their hundreds around
Porthdinallaen. 9 June, 2018
Here and there the very attractive white-flowered form occurred and these tended to have unspotted leaves. They were most frequent near to the remote Porthor Bay.

The Common Spotted Orchids in their white form were frequent around
Porthor Bay. 11 June, 2018
The orchids grew in sandy soil with a reasonable loam content but in rocky crevices I discovered plants of Sea-milkwort, Glaux maritima. It has been so many year since I saw this tiny member of the primrose family that confess it took me a while to identify it.
Sea Milkwort occupied tight crevices in rocks. 10 June, 2018
But enough of the botany. There was much else of interest. Beside the road a little south of Morfa Nefyn a feature remains which took me right back to my childhood. Prior to the appearance of mobile phones a motorist could be stranded miles from anywhere, especially as cars were less reliable than modern vehicles. For this reason hundreds of specially constructed phone boxes were placed strategically scatted across Britain.  Each member of the AA was provided with a key. The RAC had a similar scheme.
This example, Box 580, is a Grade II listed building and is maintained in a very smart condition. In fact 24 of these boxes survive but this is the first I have come across.
On of Britain's few surviving AA boxes which we found near to
Boduan. 10 June, 2018
We passed this box on the way to Pwllheli, a town of which little needs to be said other than the obvious point that it needs a hefty cash injection. The harbour is colourful with dozens of boats but I only took out my camera to try and photograph this heron, fishing in a nearby creek. The distance was just too great for my little Nikon.
A Grey Heron tries its luck in a creek just off Pwllheli's harbour.
10 June, 2018
Pwllheli's most important building is the Lidl store.

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