Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Caves, Castles, and a stormy night in St David

Before and after another cooked breakfast, the boys played again in the yard around the hostel. Their 'obstacle course' was quite a hit with some other kids and they all played beautifully for ages. We finally got ourselves organised and got on the road.

Our first stop was the The National Showcaves Centre for Wales at Dan-Yr-Ogof. Discovered by some local farmers in 1912, this cave complex extends for over 10 miles, and it is believed there is even more, but unreachable at this present time. The first few parts of the caves are open to the public, and they have built an 'attraction' over the top. The 'attraction' involves many fibreglass dinosaurs, a museum and (of course) a gift shop!

The first cave structure is known as the Dan-Yr-Ogof. It is a long winding cave with voiceovers by the brothers who found it. One is a bit daft, and asks lots of questions, whilst the other has all the answers (A Welsh farmer at the turn of the century with specialist knowledge in Geography, History, Palaentology....!) The caves were interesting to see, though. With lots of fabulous stalactites and stalagmites.

The second cave complex is known as 'Cathedral Cave'. It was simply magnificent. The waterfalls, the cavernous space. It only got a bit tacky at the end of the Cathedral, where there was a fenced off area for getting married.

The Third cave structure was the 'Bone Cave'. It had many animal and so far discovered 42 human skeletons from across history, including early civilisations, cave dwellers. Some of the bones date back to the Bronze Age (3000 years ago), and 7000 year old Deer bones. The Bone Cave has been used for shelter during many different periods of time, and pottery, coins bronze and silver items have been found here. Some of the artifacts date back to the time of the Roman Legions. Everyone had to wear a helmet - mainly for the covered walkway (which even Nicole bumped her head on!!!)

There is a interesting reconstruction of an Iron Age Village as well

We got back in the car and headed for the summit of Black Mountain. Phil, Alexander and Cameron braved the elements and went scrambling up to the summit - having a great time out in the fresh air.

We then continued our journey to Carreg Cennen Castle - an old ruin of a castle built high on a limestone crag (in the middle of nowhere).

We first had lunch at the base of the castle, and then strolled up the paths and looked around. It was really interesting, and the views were great. One of the 'highlights' was a deep, unlit cave. Of course, you could hire a torch and go for a look - but Cameron had a trust LED torch in his Lego bag and offered to be our guide.

Nicole turned back after about 10m (complete darkness underground is not her thing!) But the boys went on. Cameron was an excellent guide, letting Alexander and Phil see each of the obstacles in the way. The only one he didn't call out left Phil with a bleeding head when he bumped his head on a low hanging rock!

After the castle, we set out across country to our evening destination -St Davids.

As we drove down the motorway, it was obvious Alexander was feeling a bit poorly - runny nose, and a bit of a temperature. We got him some medicine at the Pharmacy in St David, and then tried to find our hostel.

It was not in St David, but about 2 km out of town. It was a farmhouse complex not far from white sands beach. We eventually found it, unloaded our stuff, made up the beds, put the heaters on (it was freezing!) and headed into town to find something for dinner.

We found a really nice pub for dinner, and we all had a great meal...except Alexander. He had a few peas, and then promptly bought them all back up! Green spew. Alexander did a brilliant job in getting to the toilets - and after this and some water, he was feeling a little better. Straight home to the hostel for some medicine and bed...and hoping he would be better in the morning!

Camerons view: (Cameron wrote a diary for school, and he has given me permission to post his thoughts in the blog)
Today was a very tiring day.

First we played outside on the rocks before breakfast. For breakfast there was : porridge, cornflakes, rice bubbles/crispies, weetabix, apple juice, orange juice, milk, croissants, bread, hoey and much much much more.

We climbed up a mountain and approximately 1 km in height. We also went to the castle and had a cheese toastie.

We went to 4 caves and one was a cave where you could get married.

We also went to a dinosaur park. I pretended that a dinosaur was ripping my arm off.

Much later we found our hotel IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.

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