Travel log: scenes and stories

Usually, taking holidays in September we strike lucky with the weather.  This year however, we arrived at Gower in a gale.  The blast coming in off the sea buffeted our stone cottage fiercely.  Upstairs, as I drifted into sleep, I felt as if I was on the top of a bunk-bed with a restless sleeper below.

It was cosy though.  The under-floor heating was generated by a ground-source-heat-pump, so I felt a little virtuous about the luxurious warmth.

wind on rhossiliLike all the best storms, it had pretty much blown out by morning.  Though as Ray, Rusty and I made our way down the cliff path the sky was still overcast, and there was a gusty wind.  It was cool enough that when we reached the sand I didn’t consider taking my wellies off.

shipwreck 7I suspect we did the thing that everyone arriving on Rhossili beach for the first time does, when we headed for the main shipwreck. Yes, I did say shipwreck, and no, not recent.  The Helvetia grounded in November 1887, and is now a partial skeleton deeply embedded in the sand.

No diving necessary to look at this wreck, no pieces of eight either: the vessel’s cargo was timber.  There’s treasure here though.  It’s in the worn oak posts, and the large twisted iron nails and bolts that are slowly being eaten by the weather, the sand and the sea.  shipwreck closeup

The Helvetia was lucky: other ships lost lives as well as cargo, on the long shallow beach or against the rocks below Worms Head.  Don’t be misled by the earthy nature of that ‘worm’, this name derives from Wurm, the Viking word for Dragon.

It makes sense as a visual descriptive, and as a warning.  Imagine the stories to go with that naming.  It’s figurative language. It’s the imagination examining, explaining and dramatizing.  Even when the sun came out I could see how it had earned such a name.

 

rhossili beach.and the worm 2. jpg

 

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8 thoughts on “Travel log: scenes and stories

  1. There’s something quite fascinating about shipwrecks, I find, despite the loss and potential tragedy. There is always a story to be woven from them – think stories from Daphne du Maurier. When I wrote Tales from the Holderness Coast I researched several shipwrecks and heroic rescues and these were the bits of reseach that engaged me the most. To my shame, Wales is the one part of the UK that I have never properly visited and the beach in your photo looks lovely. I must come back to the UK and see for my self some time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love Daphne du Maurier.
      I was thinking of your Holderness Coast stories as I wrote this, and to my shame, I’ve not been to the east coast properly. I have plans, but generally seem to be drawn to the south west. Time to shake myself up a bit I think.

      Like

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