The day began for me by assisting with a guided walk. The tour was led by Hayley our People Engagement Officer. The weather was very cold but very sunny.
I play the role of a sort of sheepdog, i.e. I follow up the rear and lookout for strays. We left the centre and made our way down towards Ellens Tower. The tower was built in 1868 by Lord William Owen Stanley for his wife Ellen.
They apparently used the tower as a sort of retreat where they could observe the wildlife very much as it is used today although they of course had the tower to themselves.
On our way down to Ellins tower we were on the lookout for both Lizards and Adders as we have both of these species on the reserve. Although the weather was very cold it was sunny and the Adders had been seen taking in the morning sun.
We did not see any of the reptiles but below are pictures of what we would have seen.
Above Hayley is pointing out the habitat of the reptiles and various plant life.
Onward down to the tower. One of our group was a climber, he gave me some very interesting information about early climbing in the area and developments that evolved from it. I will share this information with you later.
Once inside Hayley explains the origins of the tower and the uses to which it has been put. It was built as I have said previously in 1868 by Lord Stanley for his wife Ellen. there is a plaque on the outside of the tower where she is called 'Ellin'. She was actually 'Ellen' but apparently 'Ellin' was just a sort of familiar name.
Ellen died in 1876 therefore the tower was built only some eight years before her death. After Ellins death I believe the tower was opened for a while to the public until the death of Lord Stanley several years later.
After Lord Stanley died the tower was left unused and eventually fell into disrepair. During the second world war army personnel were stationed in the tower in order to observe potential German aircraft or shipping.
After the war the tower was abandoned and again gave in to the ravages of time and weather. In 1980 the RSPB got interested and purchased the tower. They in conjunction with the Welsh Office set about the restoration and in 1982 it was again opened to the public. It is still available to the public and offers superb views of the surrounding wildlife. There is much that the RSPB are doing in order to preserve all this for the future generations and should anyone feel that
they could give their support to their cause by way of becoming a member of the RSPB we would make you most welcome.
Any way on with the walk. We leave the tower and follow the coastal path.
Hayley spots something worth pointing out to our party.
We now leave the tower behind us.
The view in front of us is stunning!
By Plas Nico (previously our RSPB offices) Hayley joins up with Denise our Warden and points out something of interest.
From here we make our way back to the Visitor Centre.
I notice the number of cars filling both of our FREE car parks and it is still quite early in the morning.
above is the overflow car park.
The view approaching the Visitor Centre.
The main car park, just enough room to park a bicycle!
Our walk has now ended and we are back at the centre, below is the gentleman I spoke about earlier.
He gave me information about the next Bay along the coast namely 'GOGARTH BAY'. he told me that it is a Mecca for adventurous rock climbers.
The climbing was made famous by 'JOHNNY DAWES' and 'PAUL PRITCHARD' in the 1980's. It is, he told me, still frequented by the best and BOLDEST Rock Climbers based in the UK.
examples are 'JAMES McCAFFIE' and 'PETE ROPINS' (please excuse me if I have misspelled any names). Famous routes include:-
'DREAM OF WHITE HORSES', 'HARD-BACK THESAURUS' and 'ONAN THE LIBRARIAN'.
It never ceases to amaze me the interesting people we meet at South Stack. I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to the gentleman for this information.
Speaking of interesting people! later in the day we were very pleased to welcome none other than Mr Iolo Tudur Williams. He is well known as a television presenter of wild life programmes. In his earlier career he worked in the field for the RSPB as a regional co-ordinator. He later branched out on his own as a leading expert on Welsh bird life. He and his mother called in for coffee at the Cafe. He was a charming gentleman and posed with two of our ladies.
Lastly but by no means least I would like to introduce you to Charlotte our assistant People Engagement Officer. Charlotte has not been with us for very long and I spotted her signing up a new member to the RSPB just prior to my walk.
On this particular day Charlotte was greeting people as they arrived at the visitor centre. We explain to new comers what they are likely to see on the reserve and answer any questions that they may have as she is doing in the next picture.
Well I think that is all for now, It is all happening at South Stack why not come along and see us.
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