The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

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, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



This week we were lucky to visit Caldey Island as part of our experience for the John Muir Award.  Here’s what we got up to on our day trip:


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We travelled from school to Tenby by bus.  On the way we took part in a “journey challenge” looking out for roundabouts, bridges and places of interest from Hakin to Tenby.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



It was a beautiful day, the sea was so clear.  Tenby has a number of Blue Flag Beaches (Castle Beach, North Tenby and South Tenby).  The Blue Flag is an internationally recognised ecolabel, awarded to beaches and marinas for cleanliness, safety and high quality amenities.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We walked to the Harbour to purchase our tickets at the Caldey Island Kiosk.  We were relieved to see that the boats were running.  We then headed down to Castle Beach to wait for our boat.

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



While waiting for the boat we discovered that our leader, Ginny, used to live on St Catherine’s Island while it was still a zoo.  This was before  Ginny’s parents opened Silent World in a former 19th century cemetery chapel at Slippery Back in Narberth Road.  This was one of Danny’s favourite places to visit when he was little.  Silent World is now Silent World To You (SW2U) and they offer specialists in Pembrokeshire Marine life, Exotic Reptiles, Amphibians and Mini Beasts as an outreach programme.

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



Holiday makers were enjoying sunbathing and swimming on Castle Beach. 


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island


The boat runs every 20 minutes so we didn’t have to wait long.  The crossing takes approximately 20 minutes.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



Once we were safely on Caldey Island the boat travelled straight back to pick up more visitors.  The boatmen help everyone to get on and off the boat safely.  They are great with getting pushchairs onto the boat and have even carried my (no longer needed) pushchair up stairs for me in the past.  Many of them are members of the crew of Tenby Lifeboat.

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



Priory Bay is a picturesque wide sandy beach.  We spotted lots of jelly fish.

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We followed the path towards the Village.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We passed an old anchor.

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island


This is the amphibian that takes passengers to land during low tide.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



Caldey Island is a very peaceful place where visitors are made to feel very welcome.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



There are tea gardens where you can buy refreshments.  I used to love the ice cream before I became vegan.

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We watched the ducks in the lily pond.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



Two of them loved splashing around by the water feature.  They were great fun to watch.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



On the green there is a stunning view of the monastery.  

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island


We sat here and enjoyed our picnic (this lightened our bags a bit!).


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We then visited the Post Office and Museum.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



Outside the Post Office and dotted around the island there are honesty boxes to buy Caldey Lavender, fresh from the Abbey Herb Garden for £1.  We bought two bunches at the end of the day.  They were accompanied by a verse:

“Saint Luke, Saint Luke, be kind to me,

In my dreams let me my true love see.”


This is because In folklore, Lavender was the herb of love. To give or receive Lavender was symbolic of devotion. If a young lady wished to identify her true love, on St Luke’s day she would sip Lavender tea and recite the verse above.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island


We wrote postcards and sent them back to school.  It’s exciting to think that our post will be travelling by boat too!  Souvenir Caldey Island Stamps are available in the post office.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We then walked up to Caldey Abbey.  We arrived just before Sext or Sixth Hour, a fixed time of Prayer was about to take place.

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



Here is the interior before the Monks arrived.  I didn’t take any photos as the Monks prayed but you can watch The Monks of Caldey Island Perform the Sext Service in this video:





, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We then went to Priory Pond which is now home to two black swans, usually native to Australia.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



They are very distinctive looking with their black feathers and bright red bills.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



From here we had a great view of the Lighthouse, although we didn’t have time to walk there on this occasion.



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



Caldey Island even has a Chocolate Factory.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



The chocolate making room is where the Abbots Kitchen Chocolate bars are hand-made using the finest couverture (chocolate made with extra cocoa butter to give it a high gloss).


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We bought a few bars of plain chocolate.  The chocolate is also available in the Gift Shop.



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We then explored the Old Priory.  The Old Priory and St Illtyd’s Church, with its leaning spire, are among the oldest and most interesting buildings on Caldey.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



The Priory was home to the Benedictine Monks who lived on the island during 
 Medieval times.  These buildings have been unoccupied since the dissolution of the Monasteries (between 1536-1541) but St Illtyd’s Church is still a consecrated Roman Catholic Church.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We lit a candle in memory of loved ones and popped our donation into the candle payment box.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We then had a look around the Church.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



There is a table to write and leave prayer requests, messages or words of encouragement.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island





, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



After exploring the Old Priory, we returned back to the village via the Nature Walk,


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island




We had a little bit of time in the village before heading back to catch our boat.

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



There is a Perfume Shop where you can try and buy perfume made by the Monks of Caldey.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



The Gift Shop offers a wide range of gifts and souvenirs.  


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



This shrine is in-scripted with the following:



Ave Maria Gratia Plena


Hail Mary, Full of Grace


Walsingham 1948


I wondered why Walsingham was mentioned so did a bit of research (okay, Googling!) and found this out:  Since 1061 when Richeldis, a devout noble English noblewoman, had a vision of the Virgin Mary, Walsingham has been venerated as one of the holiest places in England, and countless people have visited the village to ask Mary to pray to Jesus on their behalf.During the war years, Walsingham was a restricted zone closed to visitors, but many service men and women showed interest in the shrine. On May 17th 1945, the American Forces organised the first Mass in the Priory grounds since the Reformation. The first Student Cross pilgrimage and the great Cross Carrying Pilgrimage for Penance and Prayer in 1948 began traditions that continue today. Each year Student Cross still walk to the shrine during Holy Week carrying wooden crosses.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

As we had to travel back to school it was already time for us to catch the boat back to Tenby.  We didn’t have time to visit the Lighthouse, Herb Garden, St David’s Church and Graveyard or the old School House.  I can’t wait to visit again during the Summer Holidays.


While waiting for the boat we spotted more jellyfish.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

The boat ride home was once again calm with beautiful blue skies.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

We had great views of the colourful shoreline of Tenby.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

As we came to land we had a great view of St Catherine’s Island again.  We looked out for birds nesting in the rocks.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

Back on dry land, we made our way back to the bus.  On the way we passed the old stables.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

We spotted some of Tenby’s infamous black “hanging toilets“.


, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island



We passed the Lifeboat Station.

, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island


We said goodbye to the colourful houses of Tenby and made our way home.  A good, enjoyable and informative time was had by all.


Have you visited Caldey Island before?











, The John Muir Award- Our Visit to Caldey Island

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