"Fishguard in Wales" Fishguard by andrewwhite

Fishguard Travel Guide: 17 reviews and 55 photos

Royal National Lifeboat Institution - Thank You

This mate of mine, Grahame, said "Never been sailing huh, I'll take you out of Fishguard on my boat and you'll be hooked."
For HOOKED, read damn near KILLED!!
The pretty picture is of the lifeboat which had to save us when we were caught trying to get out of a cove, engineless, against headwinds, snapped anchor & helpless.

Though I have no wish to hurt the man's feelings, Grahame is a total menace. If there's a spare disaster hanging around a street corner with nothing to do he will invite it into his world and file it away in readiness to unveil it on some poor soul like myself.

To be fair to him though, he does save me some time.
To turn any old tale into a really good story it normally takes a bit of time in making things up, exaggerating and using poetic licence.
Grahame's exploits, however, need no such embellishments; in fact some of the more bizarre bits need to be cut out otherwise they would simply not be believable.

Please give heartily

A Sorry Tale

1066 at Hastings is normally taken as the date of the last invasion of Britain. Harold with the arrow through the eye, all those blokes called Norman etc.
It is true that this was the last successful invasion, however, little is reported about the French invasion of southwest Wales in 1797.
At that time, Napoleon Bonaparte was busy conquering in central Europe. In his absence the newly formed French revolutionary government, the Directory, devised a 'cunning plan'. They thought the poor country folk of Britain were mightily fed up with their own ruling class and would rally to the support of their French liberators who, of course, had dumped their own royalty and upper classes some 8 years earlier.
The French invasion force comprising some 1400 troops set sail from Camaret on February 18, 1797. The man entrusted by the Directory to implement the plan was an Irish-American septuagenarian, Colonel William Tate. Wind conditions made it impossible for the four French warships to land anywhere near Bristol, so Tate set a course for Cardigan Bay in southwest Wales. On Wednesday, February 22, the French warships sailed into Fishguard Bay, to be greeted by canon fire from the local fort. Though the cannon was merely being fired as an alarm to the local townsfolk the French nervously withdrew the ships and sailed on until they reached a small sandy beach near the village of Llanwnda. Men, arms and gunpowder were unloaded and by 2 am on the morning of Thursday, February 23rd, the last invasion of Britain was completed and the ships returned to France.
The French were a bit of a rag-tag army, however, and a great many of them were either getting on a bit in years or were criminals released from the gaols of France for this special mission. Thinking it was their birthday, they went on a looting spree and, finding ample supplies of rich food and wine the locals had recently removed from a grounded Portuguese ship, most were soon too bloated and drunk to fight. Within two days, the invasion had collapsed, and Tate's force surrendered to a local militia force led by Lord Cawdor on February 25th, 1797.
In their surrender speach the French officers referred to the British coming at them "with troops to the number of several thousand." In truth no such troops were anywhere near Fishguard, but hundreds, perhaps thousands of local Welsh women dressed in their traditional scarlet tunics and tall black felt hats had come to witness any fighting between the interlopers and their own local men ( a bit like the centre of Cardiff on a Saturday night really). The theory is, that at a distance, the drunken invaders, mistook these women for British Army Redcoats and laid down their arms
The real heroine was the legendary "Jemima Fawr" (Jemima the Great), who single-handedly captured twelve of the invading soldiers. On hearing of the invasion, she marched out to Llanwnda, pitchfork in hand and rounded up the Frenchmen and led them away to captivity.

Of course if my mate Grahame had been in charge of the French invading force they may well have found themselves washed up and destitude somewhere off the coast of Turkmenistan.

The Harbour in Lower Fishguard

This picturesque harbour was the setting for the filming of Dylan Thomas Under Milkwood starring Richard Burton.

Some of the scenes from the 1956 film Moby Dick produced by John Huston and starring Gregory Peck were also shot here. I know this because an old friend of mine, Dai Harris, who I worked with in London but who originated from Fishguard had a job as an extra/stuntman and showed me loads of photographs of Gregory Peck and himself during the filming. Does anyone from Fishguard remember him, I wonder? He went back there in the late 1970's and worked on the ferries I think. Be in his 70's now with big thick glasses.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great place for outdoor activities
  • Cons:I've been to warmer places
  • In a nutshell:If the weather holds up you'll have wonderful time
  • Last visit to Fishguard: Sep 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (7)

Comments (7)

  • stevezero's Profile Photo
    Jun 18, 2006 at 5:23 AM

    About rdue for a visit to South Wales - must call in .

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2005 at 9:56 AM

    Splendid tips. The only thing missing is a corgi to help alert you to the birds you might have missed:-]

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2005 at 2:36 PM

    I wish I knew as much about birds as you do. Lovely photos!

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2004 at 5:46 PM

    Its good to see another birder on VT. Although we aren't too serious about the sport, we do enjoy bird watching whether at home or while traveling.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2004 at 3:49 AM

    You lead an exciting life. If your mate isn't trying to drown you, you are twitching. (I've seen a gannet colony in NZ. The noise! The stink!)

  • olja1234's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2004 at 7:14 AM

    Very acourate writing about birds. Great photos... Good work!

  • Nov 14, 2004 at 2:12 PM

    Good old Fishguard. It is a lovely part of the country & should be visited more. Nice pages & congratulations on surviving your ordeal.


“'For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness' Ralph Waldo Emerson”

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