thirteenfridays: Carmarthen

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.
IMG_7940This week, to find out more about the ghostly sightings and stories of Carmarthen, we preceded our picnic with a Wednesday evening “Creepy Carmarthen” tour courtesy of Nick Brunger.  Starting outside the guildhall, the towns court, we heard about the history of Carmarthen as a near lawless place akin to the ‘Wild West’, with many a highwayman and vagabond facing justice in the court before their final destination at the gallows in the castle.Walking from Guildhall sq up st Mary’s st we stopped outside the Andrew Price hair salon where Nick regaled us with the story of a contemporary haunting and an experiment in psychic communication. Using cards showing letters of the alphabet the spooky experiment revealed the name of the little girl who haunts the premises as Alice.The tour’s final destination is also the castle, which became the town police station and gaol. Over the years it has been the site of many spooky encounters, even as we gathered in the entrance room and listened to Nick telling the grisly history of the building a door to the upper floor’s old police barracks opened inexplicably.

The most frequent encounters, however, take place in the old gaol cells, where people have reported hearing sobbing, felt a hand on their shoulder and a presence in the room…our group crowded into the small, unlit, dank room to hear of these encounters but nothing was stirring in there that evening…

Having thoroughly enjoyed the tour we struggled to find a suitable location for a picnic in the castle grounds, the opening hours being affected by maintenance work.  So instead our picnic destination was decided by unrelated stories of strange movements and encounters with an apparition of a soldier in the chapel of the former Bishop’s palace, now Carmarthenshire county museum in Abergwili.


01For our picnic we had a 13 ingredient Pesto Pasta salad (Pine nuts, Pasta, Water, Pesto, Basil, Spinach, Tomatoes, Salt, pepper, Feta, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Olive oil ); A 13 ingredient Beetroot & Lentil salad (Puy lentils, Beetroot, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Fennel, Garlic, Flat Leaf Parsley, Kalamon Olives, Red Wine Vinegar; Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt, Pepper); A 13 ingredient Cheese and Potato pie (Flour, Butter, Salt, Pepper, Water, Potatoes, Cheddar, Milk, Mozzarella, Mustard, Nutmeg, Oregano, Thyme); 13 mini Sosmix Sausages; A green salad with 13 baby plum tomatoes.02

Following the savouries we enjoyed a 13 ingredient Rhubarb and Almond tart (Plain flour, Salt, water, Rhubarb, Butter, Caster sugar, Ground almonds, Egg, Brown sugar, Cocoa, Baking powder, Flaked almonds, Icing sugar) and 13 Strawberry and Cream sponges..03

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thirteenfridays: Craig-y-nos

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

This week we went to visit the notoriously haunted Craig-y-nos Castle, a Victorian Gothic country house on the south-east edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park in the Upper Swansea Valleys. The house is surrounded by 40 acres of parkland, Craig-y-nos Country Park, which gives onto common land on the Brecon Beacons.

Craig-y-nos was once home to the internationally famous opera singer Adelina Patti who lived there from 1878 until her death in 1919.
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We ate our picnic in the country park; 13 ingredient feta and spinach filo pastry pie (Filo Pastry, Feta Cheese, Spinach, Sorrel, Spring Onions, Pepper, Parsley, Pine Nuts, Walnuts,  Nutmeg, Eggs, Olive Oil, Sesame Seeds); 13 ingredient salad (Spinach, Rocket, Red Gem Lettuce, Cress, Fennel, Radish, Tomatoes, Coriander, Sorrel, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Linseeds); 13 ingredient potato salad (Potatoes, Green Beans, Black Olives, Gherkins, Capers, Caremelised garlic, Olive Oil, Coriander, White Wine Vinegar, Salt Pepper, Chives, Sesame seeds);

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13 ingredient pistachio cake (Pistachio Nuts, Almonds, Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Black Pepper, Butter, Caster Sugar, Vanilla essence, Eggs, Lemon Juice, Cream Cheese, Icing Sugar, Honey); 13 ingredient nut brittle (White Sugar, Cashew Nuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Linseeds, Salt, Black Pepper, Cardamom).

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We followed our picnic with a walk around the country park, once the estate of Craig-Y-Nos Castle, where we discovered an Oak tree planted by Adelina in 1914 and a games pavilion where Adelina would sometimes sing to entertain guests after a game of croquet.  The ghost of Adelina apparently responds to the sound of her favourite song ‘Home sweet home’ which she recorded in the house in 1905.  We played the song as we wandered the grounds but presumably Adelina was otherwise engaged…

thirteenfridays: Llandysul

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

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This week we visited Llandysul on the borders of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion and took a stroll along the side of Afon Teifi.

There are a number of paranormal encounters reported along the banks of the river Teifi.  We had heard the story of a harpist who had drowned in one of the many pools along the river near Llandysul, it is said that harp music can still be heard emanating from beneath the water. That part of the river is called ‘The Pool of the Harper’ but we’ve never been able to discover exactly which part of the river this refers to, so we decided to take a wander along the banks, listening…

We tried a little underwater sound recording hoping to hear strains of harp music in the depths of the river.

We have also read about two female spirits who haunt the banks of the Teifi. One woman, who wears green emeralds, is said to protect hidden treasure. The other is a woman dressed in black who drifts along the river bank in search of something.

We unpacked our 13 picnic on the site of an old cottage, Plas y Dderwen, now just a ruin which has been turned into a picnic and barbecue area next to the river.

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02.jpgA special 13 ingredient sour dough loaf from Bara Menyn bakery, 13 Devilled eggs with 13 ingredients courtesy of Kirsty…she was particularly chuffed about the ‘devilled’ bit…(Eggs, Mayonnaise, Butter, Vinegar, Mustard, Chilli flakes, fresh Chilli, Salt, Pepper, Chives, Paprika, Sesame seeds, Ras el Hannout); 13 ingredient Asparagus tart (Flour, Butter, Egg, 13 Asparagus spears, Marscapone, Parmesan, Fresh Basil, Lemon Zest, Salt, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Wild Rocket); 13 ingredient slaw with ginger (Beetroot, Red Cabbage, White Cabbage, Carrot, Apple, Celery, Red Onion, Sushi Ginger, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Parsley, Salt, Pepper ); organic salad leaves from Glebelands Market Garden garnished with 13 olives.
04.jpgWe went a bit overboard with the sweet things this week…13 Black pepper, cardamom and chocolate cookies/cakes (Butter, Sugar, SR Wheat flour, SR Gluten free flour, Cocoa Powder, Egg, Cloves, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Salt, Vanilla Essence, Almond Essence); 13 chocolate dipped strawberries; 13 ingredient malty cheeescake…another wonderous contribution from Kirsty…(malted milk biscuits, butter, caster sugar, full fat soft cheese, double cream, white chocolate, milk chocolate, Horlicks powder, Salt, Maize starch, Yellow colouring, Egg, finished with 13 Maltesers).03.jpg

thirteenfridays: Nevern Castle

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

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This week, we were intrigued by the mention of a paranormal experience at Nevern Castle in Pembrokeshire during a picnic (read article here). The article describes how picnickers at the site were disturbed to hear distressing screaming sounds from deep in the earth under their feet. There has also been ghostly sightings of a man in medieval dress.

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For our picnic feast of 13 this week we enjoyed a 13 ingredient Potato Salad (13 Salad Potatoes, 13 Baby Plum Tomatoes, 13 Asparagus spears, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Toasted Walnuts with a dressing of Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Brown Sugar, Black Pepper, Salt, served on a bed of Rocket and Spinach and garnished with Wild Garlic Flowers);  A 13 ingredient Beetroot slaw (Beetroot, Red cabbage, White cabbage, Fennel, Celery, Apple, Carrot, Tomato puree, Olive Oil, Black Olives, Lemon Juice, Mint, Black Pepper);  13 hummus & roast veg sandwiches with 13 ingredients (hummus made from Chickpeas, Tahini, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Salt and Smoked paprika served on Brown Sourdough Bread with Wild Rocket, Roasted Red, Green and Yellow Peppers and Roasted Courgette); 13 summer fruit topped mini Victoria sponges with 13 ingredients (Flour, Baking Powder, Butter, Eggs, Caster Sugar, Vanilla Essence frosted with Soft cheese, Icing Sugar, Vanilla, Fresh Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries and garnished with Mint Leaves).

It was a beautifully warm sunny day and we spent the afternoon exploring and taking a field recording on the site of the old watchtower using a mic inserted just below the surface of the ground. We’ll process this to look for any unusual sounds or spectral screaming!

Despite the bright sunshine, there was quite an atmospheric feeling at the site and a couple of times we felt a little unnerved by odd movement in our peripheral vision…

On our way home we visited St Bryach’s, the beautiful old church in Nevern village. One of the ancient (700 year old) Yew trees in the graveyard is called the ‘Bleeding Yew’. It continuously secretes an unusual red sap, an unexplained phenomena which has attracted a number of miraculous legends – the church website wryly favours the idea that it bleeds in sympathy with Jesus on the cross. There is also said to be a white-robed man who wanders in the churchyard as well as the sound of children playing at night.

The Bleeding Yew in St Bryach’s Churchyard

 

thirteenfridays: Llanelli

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

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Photo by Dara Jasumani / Parc Howard museum / CC BY-SA 2.0

This week  we headed off to Llanelli to visit Parc Howard Museum and Art Gallery.  Our regular thirteenfridays guest, Sam Knight, is a fantastic woodworker and he has a beautiful handmade chair in a curated exhibition Pair //Pâr showing in the museum until July. Serendipitously, Parc Howard is also said to be haunted by a number of ghosts. So we popped in to the exhibition keeping our eyes and ears open at the same time for any uncanny fellow visitors.

The building was used as military hospital in both world wars and it is said that the ghosts of a nurse and a soldier are seen together on the main stairs. There has also been scratching and scraping noises at the back of the building which is said to be the ghost of a young man; a lover who hid in the chimneys of the house to avoid detection but who became disoriented and trapped, subsequently losing his life in the narrow network of passageways. Lady Howard herself is also said to wander in the house seen as a ghostly white lady and sometimes appearing at the windows. Lights have also been recorded at night in the empty house after the building has been locked by staff.

We unpacked our 13 themed picnic in the grounds of the house.

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13 Crustless mini quiches flavoured with a selection of 13 ingredients (Spinach, Rocket, Asparagus, Red Chilli, Green Olives, Tomato, Cheddar, Parmesan, Basil, Oregano, Sundried Tomatoes, Spring Onion, Black Pepper) served with 13 slices of cucumber; 13 ingredient smoked chilli salsa (Red onion, Garlic, Green chili, Chipotle chili, Sun dried tomatoes, Red pepper, Lime Juice, Tomatoes, Smoked paprika, Salt, Thyme, Parsley, Sugar) served with tortilla chips; 13 ingredient vegan slaw (White cabbage, Red cabbage, Carrot, Fennel, Celery, Olive oil, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Green Olives, Parsley, Lemon juice, Salt, Pepper); special 13 ingredient Bara Menyn sourdough loaf; 13 baby plum tomatoes on the vine; 13 ingredient ginger and walnut loaf with dates and figs (Flour, Baking Powder, Brown Sugar, Ground Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Golden Syrup, Butter, Eggs, Milk, Dates, Walnuts, Dried Figs).

thirteenfridays: Llanfihangel Crucornau

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

May the Fourth was with us for our picnic in the shadow of the Skirrid Mountain (Ysgyryd Fawr) near Abergavenny. It is also known as the Holy Mountain or the the Sacred Hill. The Welsh word Ysgyryd describes the shape of the mountain as having been ‘shivered’ or ‘shattered’.

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For this weeks 13 picnic feast we had a 13 ingredient Couscous salad (Couscous, Stock, Fresh tomatoes, Cucumber, Parsley, Capers, Olive oil, White Wine Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Salt, Pepper), a 13 ingredient bean salad (Beans: Kidney, Black Eye, Haricot, Borlotti, Sweetcorn, Red Pepper, Chickpeas, White Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Coriander) 13 slices of a 13 ingredient special loaf from Bara Menyn (ing?), 13 cheese & wild pesto twists made with 13 ingredients (Wild Garlic Leaves, Wild Garlic Mustard Leaves, Parmesan, Walnuts, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt Pepper, Flour, Butter, Egg, Cheddar Cheese, Sesame Seeds),  a vine of 13 cherry tomatoes, 13 Banana and Walnut Muffins using 13 ingredients (Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Butter, Banana, Caster Sugar, Muscovado Sugar, Milk, Egg, Walnuts, Vanilla Essence).

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After our picnic of 13 we headed for the infamously haunted Skirrid Mountain Inn for a pint. The pub is in the village of Llanfihangel Crucornau and reputed to be one of the oldest pubs in Wales. The inn is said to have been standing for over 900 years, having been recorded during the Norman Conquests of the 11th century. The wood of the ancient front door has been carbon dated at around 1,500 years old.

The Inn is steeped in history and legend and, perhaps unsurprisingly, has a serious reputation for hauntings. The pub was used as a public meeting place, a courtroom and place of execution with an oak beam still installed above the stairwell reputedly scorched and scarred by the rope. It is believed that between 12th and 17th Centuries around 180 miscreants met their end on the premises. The ‘hanging Judge’ Judge Jeffreys known for his royalist bias and the severity of his punishment was reputed to sit at the Skirrid during 17th Century.

There have been many reports of ghostly sightings and experiences at the pub, from the spectres of the hanged, loyal past staff (especially Fanny Price who died aged 35 of consumption in the 18th Century) and the soldiers who were brought to the pub as a temporary hospital. On the day we visited there was a convention of ghost hunters meeting in the dining room.

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Photo from Flickr by Viv Lynch https://flic.kr/p/bS22YP (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We didn’t knowingly encounter any spooks during our visit; the bustle of a Bank Holiday weekend very much filled the pub with the revels of the living. It is an immensely atmospheric building however with the wide Tudor fireplace darkened by the patina of centuries of smoke, the oak beamed ceilings and panelled walls (the timber reputedly salvaged from ships of the 16th and 17th Centuries) and the old timber windows seats and Welsh settle.

thirteenfridays: Llangrannog

Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

For our third thirteenfridays picnic we headed to the picturesque seaside village of Llangrannog.

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Llangrannog is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a sailor known as Huw Puw who died in the 18th Century and is still said to wander the shoreline.  We watched out for ghostly figures while enjoying our picnic beneath the cliffs near Carreg Bica.

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As a smaller party of two this week, we enjoyed a slightly smaller feast of 13. We were delighted to have a specially baked 13 ingredient loaf baked by Jack from the wonderful Bara Menyn bakery in Cardigan – (White flour, Spelt flour, Rye flour, Wholemeal flour, Natural wheat leaven, Water, Sea Salt, Oats, Seeds: Pumpkin, Sunflower, Poppy, Sesame, Linseed)With a 13 ingredient Caponata (Aubergine, Celery, Onion, Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Garlic, Red Wine Vinegar, Oregano, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Parsley), a 13 ingredient Hummus (Chickpeas, Tahini, Garlic, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Water, Salt, Pepper, Sumac & four seed mix topping: Sunflower, Sesame, Pumpkin, Golden Linseed, Sumac)A green leaf salad garnished with 13 wild garlic mustard leaves and 13 vine tomatoes.  

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13 falafel made with 13 ingredients (Chickpeas, Spring Onions, Garlic, Ground Cumin, Ground Coriander, Fresh Coriander Leaves, Flat Parsley, Nutmeg, Black Papper, Salt, Baking Powder, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Oil) and 13 Pistachio and lime squares also with 13 ingredients (Plain Flour, Caster Sugar, Butter, Salt, Ground Pistachio Nuts, Eggs, Soft Brown Sugar, Lime Zest, Lime Juice, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Oats, Baking Powder).

As we finished our picnic and began to pack away the beach started to fill with children from the nearby Eisteddfod Urdd campsite site.  There are stories from other children who have stayed on the Urdd site of a black nun who transforms into a crow and torments the campers!  We made our way through the hordes and up onto the cliff path to take in the view and look for for the spectral figure of Huw..

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Quote of the week:  “Is that you Huw?…”