Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The porch of heaven

One of the best parts of our job here on Pen Llŷn is to introduce visitors to Bardsey Island. Last Wednesday was perfect weather and I had Chris Vercruysse and Monique with me from Belgium, our Kampeertoerists.

The seals around the Cafan always intrigue visitors and the sight of the gentle back of the mountain is in sharp contrast to the view from the mainland. This is a world of its own.
Here they are jostling for space as the tide goes down.

And here they are popping up to look at us.
The profusion of wild flowers is another feature. Here is an early appearance of Thrift.
The remains of St Mary’s Abbey, built by Augustinian monks, is a reminder that this place has always had a religious identity-one that stretches way back into pre Christian times. It was called the porch of heaven because people thought that this could be a taste of what heaven would be like. If not like this, then what?
Here is Peter hard at work explaining the presence of 10,000 pairs of Manx Shearwaters on the Island. If Monique was still listening she deserves a medal!
The mainland (and all that superb coastal walking) is spread out before us.
The lighthouse is now automatic and (with GPS) increasingly redundant, but it makes a fine sight from the mountain as we climb up past the Abbey and the Chapel area.
The birdlife is superb. Here are choughs in flight. And yes, it is a long way down!
The party gathers by the cafan. The ferry boat if the yellow one. You climb abroad from dry land. It is then delivered to the water in a cage on a trolley.
Many visitors fear that the crossing will be rough, but the boat whips through the waves for an exhilarating journey homeward.

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