Saturday, 30 December 2017

Scott of the Antarctic

We’re blessed with lovely little Norman churches here, and one of the most beautiful lies in the village of Rhosilli, near the tip of the peninsular. The village, perched high over the Atlantic, seems to be defined by the old church, with its ancient, stark, perpendicular tower looking directly out to sea. But it’s not just the church that gives this place a special feel. Inside its cold limestone walls there’s a magic, marble plaque on the north wall dedicated to the memory of Edgar Evans, who accompanied Captain Scott on his epic journey to the South Pole. Evans was a native of the village, and was particularly remembered recently on the centenary of the day Scott and his team reached the Pole.

The mile-long walk from the village to the coastguard lookout hut passes old dry-stone walls, recently repaired, and safe for another hundred years. To the north is the sweep of Rhosilli Bay, an icon of the Welsh landscape. Its three miles of golden sand shines bright in the winter sunshine, and with no wind, the pastel-blue sea is like a millpond, dotted with white specks of gulls and black lines of common scoters. A raven stands sentinel on the cliff edge, others croak overhead signaling the beginning of breeding. I had hoped for an early fulmar, but there are none; they’ll be here in a week or so to take possession of their traditional ledges. To the south of the stone walls is Rhosilli Vile, a medieval field system, where vegetables are still grown for local markets. Its fields lie fallow now, but will soon be busy again as the new season begins.

At the headland, Worm’s Head dominates the view. An island at high water, it looks majestic, alone and still, merging perfectly the land and sea. Peering down into the clear water, a grey seal slides gracefully beneath the surface of the sea, reminding me once more that I’m privileged to live in such a truly beautiful place.

No comments:

Post a Comment