About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Saturday 1 July 2023

Aberystwyth, mon amour ... and Aberaeron

And so to Aberystwyth, one of those places that's a bit like the Forest of Dean, by which I mean, unless you live locally, you have to make an effort to get there. I'd allowed half a day for a flying visit, with the rest taken up with a trip to Bwlch Nant Yr Arian for my must-see of the holiday, the feeding of the red kites. The Northerner, with his sights set on the funicular railway, felt we might need longer.

Looking towards Blaenplwyf

washed-up jellyfish

War  memorials are usually sober, occasionally grandiose, but this one, by Italian sculptor, Mario Rutelli, is actually rather gorgeous. 

First stop, the castle, built by King Edward I in 1277. It was held by Owain Glyndŵr between 1404 and 1408, and since our knowledge of history is so heavily coloured by Shakespeare, we looked out over the Irish sea, remembered the fictionalised version's boast of being able to 'call the spirits from the vasty deep' and wondered if he'd tried that here.  

restharrow and a bumble bee

thyme and restharrow

sea holly and cat's ear

This is the wonderful Gothic edifice that is the Old College, sadly disused although apparently being renovated. Until recently it housed the University's administrative function, but what a fabulous community hub/arts centre for the town it could make.  

We'd hoped to go out to the end of the famous, though somewhat truncated pier but it didn't open till midday and anyway, rain was moving up from the south ...

... so we went and sat it out in a pub, before walking up the promenade to the cliff railway, which takes unfit, lazy people like us to the top of the (famously steep) Constitution Hill ... 

... from where there was a grand view of the town, made all the more impressive by the drama of the weather. 

Although it was a bit hazy, looking north we could see the southern mountains of Eryri National Park and the Lleyn peninsula. 

The Millennium beacon

Renewed rain drove us from our table on the terrace, where we were having lunch, to the inside of the cafe, and continued long enough for us to rule out the Camera Obscura as a viable option ...

... so we went back down the funicular railway, which Cwtch really seemed to enjoy, despite some alarming judders and clunks. 

Despite not going on the pier after all, as Dogs Are Forbidden, by the time we'd wandered back to the car there wasn't enough time to drive to Bwlch Nant Yr Arian for 3pm kite feeding, so we decided to pop into Aberaeron on our way back to New Quay instead. By now the scorchiness of mid-afternoon had set in, so we had ice cream on the quay - in my case, the famous honey ice cream with pistachio, though the Northerner stuck with raspberry ripple - and walked down to the beach, before repairing to a bar with a shady area, which was deemed preferable by us all. 

A good day out ... but alas, only the occasional red kite soaring overhead. 


  1. Great view of my house from the Cliff Railway too...we live just at the bottom

    1. I did wonder where you lived! Pity we were only there fleetingly.