We were well overdue a visit to both Pendine and Laugharne. So seeing all the filming for Kurt Sutter's new series, "The Bastard Executioner" (TBX) taking part in both of these places reminded us we needed to rectify this, so off we went...
Pendine Sands is quite unique. It was acquired by the Ministry of Defence during the Second World War and used as a firing range. The beach is still owned by the MOD and is partly closed off during the week for operations. There is still plenty of coast left for locals and holiday makers to enjoy though!
The beach stretches for over seven miles and is famous as a venue for car and motorcycle races. Many land speed records have been attempted and set over the years. Welsh engineer, J.G Parry Thomas was the first driver to die during a land speed record attempt on the sands on March 3, 1927. His car was buried in the sand dunes, but was eventually excavated, restored and put on display in The Museum of Speed, Pendine.
For any fans of TBX and Kurt Sutter (screenwriter, director, producer, actor and creator of Sons of Anarchy), this sight of Pendine Sands is very familiar, although usually with added actors, crew and horses, lots of horses (just look at the #TBX feed on Instagram). It was quiet on the day we came here, but still oddly reassuring that Kurt Sutter and Katey Segal were nearby (celebrating their anniversary in fact) and had walked over the same sand just the day before.
There were lots of Barrel Jellyfish, stranded on the shore. The kids likened them to both an octopus and Ood from Doctor Who. We later found out it's scientific name is actually "Rhizostoma Octopus."
While the kids played, Dave and I chatted and relaxed. (Danny told me I looked odd for taking a photo of my drink. I agreed that I probably did but explained that it makes me happy!)
We all then went to explore the rocks and caves on Pendine Sands.
The white limestone cliffs somehow remind me of thick elephant's legs and feet in places.
It's never too cold for a paddle.
There is quite a lot of building work and redevelopment taking place in Pendine at the moment- here's hoping it will benefit all the community.
After the beach, we had a quick play in the nearby park (conveniently placed between the beach and the car park).
Then we drove to nearby Laugharne, where many of the TBX actors and crew have been staying and also filming at Laugharne Castle.
Despite Laugharne initially being described by Dylan Thomas, on his first visit in 1934, as "the strangest town in Wales’" it really is one of the prettiest.
We arrived late in the day, so couldn't visit the open boathouse or make the most of all the Dylan Thomas experiences available in the town before darkness would fall, so we chose to follow the walk to the Dylan Thomas Boathouse as we knew at least we could see his writing shed and old haunts along the way.
I know this is not the best of photos but this is such a familiar sight on our days out- kids emptying their shoes of sand!
As you walk along you are aware that these are the same stunning views that Thomas saw each day while he resided in Laugharne.
We walked past his old home.
We didn't "Go Back". We kept on going...
We watched a heron fish in what Dylan Thomas described as the “heron priested shores”.
Dylan Thomas's writing shed, his "word-splashed hut". I love the magic of how it just looks like any ordinary shed, but imagine the importance of all the words conjured up within, where he would gaze at the sand and sea and write some of the most beautiful, lyrical verse in our language.
Seeing this sight of within always gives me goosebumps and conjures up the famous image of him sitting at this very desk and it almost feels like he's still there.
In the boathouse grounds there is a bench with a quote written by his daughter, the poet Aeronwy Thomas Ellis,
"The funny thing is I find myself going back again and again."
I always remember in school being very envious of Roald Dahl's writing hut- it wasn't until I was older that I realised he built it after seeing Dylan Thomas' own writing shed.
As expected, the Boat House was closed, but I promise I will take you on a tour there another day, dear readers.
There is also a Town Trail you can follow.
"The cobblestreets silent..."
Laugharne Town Hall.
This pink building, Castle House, was also photographed by one of the make up artists for TBX as she strolled to work "on location".
Laugharne Castle is also worthy of it's own future blog post.
Bring 20p change for the public toilets!
Following this route, we were then back to our starting point in the carpark. Another lovely walk in Laugharne is the two mile Dylan Thomas Birthday Walk.
"Laugharne- this timeless, beautiful, barmy (both spellings) town…a legendary lazy little black-magical bedlam by the sea. There is nowhere like it at all."
As we drove home, a glorious sunset welcomed us back to Pembrokeshire.
This week they have been filming for TBX at Broadhaven South and Freshwater West. We can't wait for TBX to come to UK screens so we can see all The Pembrokeshire locations in the show!
Will you be watching TBX or visiting Pendine and Laugharne soon?