25 December 2013

The Sweeney

Sweeney Mountain in Shropshire is, at only 620 feet above sea level, not a mountain.  However, a number of buildings taken back by nature are testament to the fact that when the weather's against one it can be cruel up here.

"Sweeney" may be a corruption of "swaney." The country house that is now the Sweeney Hall Hotel was, in an earlier incarnation, the property of one Thomas Baker, in 1649 granted a crest of arms featuring four swans' heads.

13 December 2013

Aberystwyth Harbour

Although Aberystwyth means Mouth of the Ystwyth, the river that actually runs through the town is the Rheidol. The Ystwyth, beside which there are a number of knocked-together sheds, flows under the bridge to the harbour pier and into Aberystwyth harbour, south-west of the town.

The harbour was for most of its life impeded by a large sandbar that extended into the estuary, and only small sloops and smacks, mostly herring boats, were able to operate. It was radically improved in the late 1830s, through construction of a stone quay and an adjoining stone pier (below).

The new harbour enabled larger boats to make port. Boat-building, largely of schooners, also developed in a small way, although within 30 years the expanding railways had significantly affected the trade. The last ship was built in 1881.