Dylan Thomas, the poet, grew up in Swansea and he descbed it as “An ugly, lovely town … crawling, sprawling … by the side of a long and splendid curving shore”.
About 5 years ago I went through a phase of painting a number of intricate paintings of Swansea. I loved the layers of Victorian and Edwardian houses with their high pitched roofs. I went to great effort to walk out onto the quay and the beach to take photos with a zoom lens. The quay is no longer accessible, as part of the walkway has since collapsed.
I recently reworked a couple of these paintings that I still had.
The Old Observatory, Swansea
Over to Bernard Street, Swansea
I was recently commissioned to paint another painting from this series. The commissioned work would be similar, but the composition and the execution of the work would be slightly different. I had mixed feelings about the project because I knew how fiddly these paintings are. These paintings take a great deal of concentration! I use a small brush for all the work on the buildings and they take several days of very focused effort to complete. Still, I hadn’t painted one for many years so I decided to paint one again. Perhaps it’s like a transatlantic flight, something that you can endure once a year but no more often than that. So here it is.
Still, for all my wingeing I can’t help but say that I was really pleased with the final painting. My head hurts from all that focusing on the small houses with their white gables and red chimneys. However, I did like thinking about the different places in the painting as I painted them. The perspective squeezes the buildings together in a way and makes them look closer to each other in a way they are not in real life, by that I mean, on the ground.
On the far right of the painting, on the beach, is what used to be the 360 Café and is now called The Secret. Next to that is the green building know as the Patti Pavilion, the trees behind it belong to the beautiful Victoria Park. They look so close to each other but in reality, the Patti Pavilion is on the other side of the busy Oystermouth Road.
The square building that stretches across the rest of the painting is the Guildhall, which contains the beautiful panels painted by Frank Brangwyn. Rising up behind these buildings is are the parts of Swansea known as Sandfields, Brynmill, and Townhill.
Once upon a time, they were villages or rolling farmland, but now they are all merged into the sprawling City of Swansea. As Dylan Thomas aptly described it “The town of windows between hills and the sea.” On rainy days the clouds descend on Townhill and it can no longer see or be seen!
I am now working on a medium-sized much “looser” Donegal landscape painting, before making a start on two more commissions.
You can now buy a print of this painting here. Click on “reproductions” tab to see your options.
To follow in Dylan Thomas’s footsteps you can visit his favourite places around Swansea:-
I am not well. I have a virus that makes me feel tired, my arms in particular feel heavy, my throat feels sore and I struggle with social interactions. The sense of illness ebbs and flows. I start off the day feeling rough but by the evening, I feel a bit better. Yesterday I felt terrible most of the day but strangely found myself defrosting the freezer at 8pm. I had fancied an ice lolly to ease my sore throat but I noticed that freezer door would not close. Obviously, the last person to use the freezer had not shut the door properly. So, I cleared the freezer of its content, switched it off, and got the steam cleaner out. Forty-five minutes later all the ice was gone and the content was back inside neat frost-free drawers.
I have struggled to write this post. I deleted my first two attempts as I kept going off at tangents (see defrosting freezer above). Thankfully, illness hasn’t stopped me painting. I started this large painting (92×73 cm) of Mewslade Bay but I made slow progress. Mewslade Bay is just round the corner from Worms Head and Rhossili Bay. There is no beach to speak of at high tide. At low tide, however, the sandy beach can be reached if you scramble down over some slippery rocks, and thick beds of seaweed that have been washed up against rocks. I had got up at 5 am to drive down to Mewslade to catch it at low tide. Although the majority of the sky was clear there was a spattering of mackerel clouds just above the horizon. The light was hazy and I had wait 45 minutes before I got a blast of bright sunshine on the cliff face.
I think I should have started with darkest parts of the image, rather than the lightest parts.
As I had to go back and darken the rocks in the distance and in the shadow of the furthest peak.
Adding the beach and shadow under the cliffs helped “intensify” the dark part of the cliffs.
Finally, adding the morning sky made sense of the blues and purple shadows on the east facing cliff faces. Some paintings seem to make sense straight away and with others, like this one, you have to wait until all the elements are in place. I particularly love the way the peak in the foreground casts its shadow on the second peak. It reminds me of a tiny Everest! The bright morning light makes the rock face look like a snow covered peak.
Do believe the hype. In 2014, Rhossili Bay was voted the UK’s number one beach, by TripAdvisor users, it also ranked third best in Europe, and 9th best in the world. They are not wrong. The bay is spectacular. the wide flat beach curves along for 3 miles (5 km) and is backed with sand dunes along the northern half. It is quite vast.
How I have missed Gower and walking over the past weeks! I have been stuck in doors invigilating exams for one of the local universities, longing for the sea breezes and the sort-of-quiet of outside. The Gower is actually quite noisy with the sound of surf, sheep and birdsong, but they are all nice sounds.
The fresh air is a tonic. There is plenty of it at Rhossili. One thing you notice on the long narrow road to the tiny village is that there are only a few wind-blasted trees, permanently bent westwards. At Rhossili, itself there are none. It is an isolated place on the far tip of the Gower peninsula. It has two tidal islands at either end of the bay, Worms Head to the south and Burry Holms to the north.
In the days before cars and buses, it must have felt a lot like the edge of the known world here. Celtic monks, presumably drawn by its isolation and wilderness, came here in the 6th century. They founded a church here, dedicated to St. Sulien or St. Sili, that was founded in the 6th Century. The name St. Sili together with the Welsh word for moorland, ‘Rhos’, gives Rhossili its name. The first church, along with a tiny village, was tucked away at the foot of Rhossili Downs, on the apron of flat land ground, north of the present village, known as the Warren. The present-day old rectory is located here. Evidence for this first community was revealed at the end of 1979 when a severe storm exposed some of the old buildings on Rhossili Warren.
The Normans conquered Rhossili in the 12th century, but how did the village of Rhossili come to move? It’s a familiar sounding story involving storms and sand (remember the story about Pennard Castle and the angry fairies?) a massive storm in the 13th century sent mountains of sand ashore at Rhossili too, engulfing both village and church. As a result of the this environmental calamity, it was decided to rebuilt the village and build a new church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, on the high clifftop 200 ft (60m) above, away from the vulnerable low lying sand and sea. Hence the wind!
There are two paths across to Llangennith, one high and one low. Today I decided that I would walk both in a loop. Starting with the high and returning along the lower one to Rhossili.
The coastal path starts just to the the right of the National Trust Car park and the bus stop. There is a choice of paths. There is the one that climbs high along the top of the Rhossili downs and the coastal path along the flat land at the foot of the downs, the Warren.
I have decided to do both by walking in a loop across the top and then along the bottom back to Rhossili. So instead of going through the gate, I head along the path on the right. Up a long steep path.
The climb and views below are breath-taking.
It’s a long climb before the terrain flattens out. The wind up here is very powerful, indeed. Its blowing so hard that it makes my ears hurt. I pull up the hood of my coat to try and protect my ears.
In the past I have seen hang-gliders take off from here and fly over the bay. There’s no one here today. I think its probably too windy. I am scared of heights so I find the thought of hang gliding terrifying – so this youtube clip is more than mildly distressing for me but it gives you a good idea of the wonderful views here.
The path is bare, and the surrounding land is heath land, covered in wash-out brownish heather. Later in the early autumn as the heather blooms, the downs become a delightful riot of pinks and purples. I must come again in September.
I finally reach the Beacon. The trig point (its proper name is triangulation station or triangulation pillar) is part of the massive network of points built by the Ordnance Survey (OS) team as they mapped the country in the 1930s. At the towering height of 193 metres (632ft.) above sea level, the top of Rhossili Downs, the Beacon, is the highest point in Gower allowing unparalleled 360° views of the peninsula.
I usually like to walk to the edge of the downs to look down at the Old Rectory below on the Warren but it’s too windy today. I will look at it more closely on the return journey later.
The path continues northwards and dips below the headland so I can take my hood down for a few minutes, but not for long as I reach half way along the down and come across a curious relic from the Second World War; the remains of a radar station. I wonder what it was like to be stationed in this beautiful and remote location listening out for approaching German Bombers headed for Swansea.
The path continues on to another peak and a good view of Burry Holmes, the tidal island, and the caravan park at Hillend below.
Then there is a steep descent down to path that passes behind the static caravans. I did not realise that there were so many here and they seem to reach a long way towards Rhossili.
Eventually I leave the mass of caravan behind and follow the path behind an old stone wall. I spy some people walking closer to the edge of the beach.
I realise belatedly that I have probably missed the official coastal path and I am following another higher path. I cant see how to make my way down to that path so I carry on. My path takes me closer to the old rectory, anyway but it a bit further.
I am feeling tired now. I stop and eat some biscuits, enjoying the sunshine and the sound of the sheep and lambs happily bleating away. The Gower sheep here are tough mountain sheep, their long tails left are undocked (unlike lowland sheep) and they are have patchy tanny brown markings.
I can see off in the distance, the old rectory, which has been called the most photographed house in Wales.
The Old Rectory is the only building on the bay so its not surprising that it acts as a focus point for photographs. The vicar of this parish had to look after two churches, St Mary’s at Rhossili and St Cenydd’s at Llangennith. So some bright spark decided that the rectory should be built exactly halfway between the two churches, in neither village. I am not sure that any of the vicar’s wives appreciated the isolation. I suspect the vicars who lived here weren’t very happy about constant journeying between villages, as at least one, the Reverend John Ponsonby, is said to haunt Rhossili beach. He travelled between the villages across on the beach on horseback and some believe he can still be seen riding the route today.
The Rectory, itself is also said to be haunted by another vicar and his wife, who some claim to have seen and heard walking down the stairs. It’s not surprising that it haunted as it believed to be built on top of a graveyard (possibly dating back to 6th century?) and on stormy nights a frightening spectre is said to emerge from the foaming waves to stare at the outside of the building, as if angered that it has been built there.
Apparently, Dylan Thomas once thought about buying the old rectory, but he decided against it as there was no pub in either villages, there are now, though.
The climb up back to Rhossili is quite steep and although tired, but I am happily distracted by the fantastic view of Worms Head and the evening light on the whitewashed houses of Rhossili that look so small from a distance.
Back in the village we are greeted by some errant sheep, jogging through the streets. Their farmer (out of shot) is rounding them up on a quadbike and a collie.
I will leave you with a drone’s eye view of Rhossili, Worms Head and the Downs. It’s well worth watching.
You can buy original paintings from the Gower Walk project by clicking on the link.
Next week I face the challenge of sea mist and climbing down a steep slope to visit Gower’s incredible swimable (I’m not sure that’s actually a word) tidal rock pool.
Three Cliffs Bay never fails to disappoint. It does not matter how many times I see it. The sight of it always causes an involuntary intake of breath; when I see it from the road, or from the slopes of Cefn Bryn (the long hill that stretches across the Gower Peninsula) or from Pennard Cliffs.
It is particularly spectacular at high tide in the morning light. It is probably the one beach I have visited most often and certainly painted most often, on the Gower coast. It is yet another beach that requires a bit of a walk to get there. There many different routes you can use. I am going to talk about the route I took on this journey along Pennard Cliffs. The village of Pennard lies a short distance to the north of High Pennard, rather confusingly, its the well-heeled village of Southgate that actually skirts the limestone cliffs of Three Cliffs Bay. The bus from Swansea stops at West Cliff, next to a coffee shop, restaurant and shop-cum-post-office. There is also a sizable National Trust Car Park. For years I have parked my car in the car park and walked west to Pobbles Bay and the spectacular views of Three Cliffs, never realising that I was missing a gem, just a bit to the left of the car park.
It was only because I was walking along the coastal path, from Hunts Bay, that I came across it. The walk itself was relatively easy as the land was flat although covered in gorse bushes. I had thought this part of my walk would be relatively boring as I could not easily see over the cliff edge but I was accompanied by the wonderful rising song of skylarks. The gorse seemed to be home to many birds and flowers; blackbirds, larks, posies of primroses and the golden stars of the celandine (I think). I loved looking at all the wildlife. It was the presence of a bench that alerted me to the fact that there might be some worth looking at nearby. I hadn’t seen a wooden bench since Brandy Cove (there’s one above the bay). Looking at my map, I realised that I was at High Tor. I approached the cliff edge, with great caution is it very high and I do not like heights as my legs go wobbly. What a view! WOW. It was a wonderful panorama of Oxwich Head, Oxwich Bay, Tor Bay, Three Cliffs Bay, craggy limestone cliffs topped off by Cefn Bryn. I made many exclamations. I sat down to eat some sandwiches and drink in the fabulous view. How had I not seen this before?
I had missed this view because I had always been in a hurry to get to Three Cliffs Bay. What I usually do is hurry along the coastal path along the cliff tops. You pass many beautiful houses set back from the cliff edge on the right, envying their position/view.
There is a gravel road for much of the distance but that ends and then you are faced with a muddy footpath or an even muddier bridle path (path for horses and their riders). The path crosses grassy headland and many gorse bushes, with a golf course to the right.
Then you get your reward. Three Cliffs Bay. It is a wide split in the limestone cliffs, sliced open over thousands of years by the meandering stream, known as Pennard Pill. It takes its name from the three sea cliffs that jut out into the bay. I have painted this view many times over the years and my treatment of the scene has also changed.
The beach to the left of the three limestone peaks is called Pobbles Bay. At high tide, it is separated from the main beach but at low tide, you can reach it by foot along the sand.
This beach is popular with dog walkers, some of whom brave the waters here. I say “brave” because it can be very dangerous to swim at high tide, due to the strong rip currents.There are large warning signs on the other side of Three Cliffs Bay. Sadly, people have died swimming at Three Cliffs Bay; three in the past 4 years. Apparently, it is relatively safe at low and incoming tides. Fortunately, there are full-time lifeguards at the main Three Cliffs beach during the Easter & Summer holidays and weekends in May and June. I am not sure I have ever gone in the sea here. I prefer Brandy Cove or Port Eynon.
The “Burrows” or sand dunes make for tiring walking but its worth the long climb to the ridge behind the three cliffs.
Depending on the condition the tide may be a long way out and you have a view of a vast stretch of pristine beach, and the snaking Pennard Pill stream feeding into the sea.
A High tide you have the excitement of the incoming sea waves.
The path sweeps around the cliffs tops back inland along an undulating path towards Pennard Castle.
Some time back in the Iron Age someone built a hill fort on the western cliffs above Pennard Pill. All there is left of that is a large circle of raised ground and a good view across the bay. When the Normans came here in the 11th, however, the Braose family decided that the east side (that’s the side closest to Southgate and the golf course) was a much better bet. So they invested in a modern stone castle and a new church here, at the end of the 13th century. Unfortunately, they had made an expensive mistake because the surrounding sand dunes rapidly smothered the site, and by 1400 it had been abandoned. Those Iron Age people clearly understood local topography better than the French invaders.
There is a story that this was the result of a fairies’ curse, which summoned a massive sandstorm to destroy the castle and church. The curse was apparently provoked by the shocking failure to allow the local fairies to dance at the lord’s wedding feast. Now, I do like a good fairy story but I cannot track down the source of this story so I suspect that it was shaggy dog story made up to explain why this stone castle was abandoned within a few generations of it being built. How much more convenient to blame the fairy folk, (after all, Fairy Hill is just down the road so the place must be crawling with the little people once upon a time) than poor building judgement!
This is where you can follow either the path along the edge of (another Gower) golf course and through the woods down to Parkmill or plunge down a long sandy path to the valley floor. There you can follow the stream to the sea and then cross it on a series of concrete stepping stones.
The path then climbs up another steep path into the wooded headland on which the aforementioned Iron Age fort lies.
There are great views across the bay here too.
The path continues on to Great Tor and Oxwich Bay but I will rest here a while longer and take in the view!
I am very lucky to live close to the sea. I can never get over my excitement at seeing the sea, even when I live so close to it. I would say that all of the Welsh coast is pretty special. The coast along Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and the Llyn Peninsula are spectacular however, the Gower peninsula is the coast I visit most often as it’s the easiest to get to for to get to and its paintings of the Gower peninsula that work on most often.
Gower has some incredible coastlines and fabulous beaches. I have always wanted to walk its length but never got my act together to do it. I made plans to do so in 2016 but being made redundant from my teaching job in that year, sort of threw everything out of kilter for me.
The best beaches always involve a bit of a hike but its always worth it. From an artist’s point of view its always different. Whether its high tide, low tide, summer, spring or a blustery winter’s day. What’s the main difference between the seasons? The light. Whether the sun is high or low in the sky, the angle of the rays, the quality of the light. Is it sharp or is it hazy?
I have painted Three Cliffs Bay quite a few times. I am find it interesting to reflect on the different ways I have approached what is in some ways the same subject matter. In winter the sea is a grayed jade the wet sands are pinkish, the dry sand different shades of yellow. The colour of foliage is very muted; the grass on the clifftops is more yellow than green and the bracken is brown. The cliffs are warm grey in direct sunlight, a cooler grey in shadow.
Even on brighter days when the sea has more violet the colours of the cliff tops is more yellow ochre than orange.
Three Cliffs Bay at High TideWhat surprised me when I compare these winter paintings with some that I had done in the summer is that the wet and dry sand is the same ruby/pink/yellow tones, although it seems obvious that it would be now I think about it. What is different, is the sky and the colour of the grass and bracken on the cliffs. The sky is a lighter turquoise and the sea is has more jade and turquoise. The clouds reflections in the surf is still violet. The grass is wonderfully verdant, a sharp green.
This is the oldest painting and it was done in high summer when the grass is a deeper green.
Of course, looking through these paintings, I immediately wish I had done some autumn paintings when the bracken is a rusty red. I have painted Rhossili Bay in autumn but not Three Cliff. I can’t think why not. Of course, last autumn I was focusing on my “Hollowed Community Project” and painting houses. I hope that I will be able to come back and paint Three Cliffs again this autumn.
The sun is out. So I am out too with my camera. Looking for inspiration for some Gower landscape paintings. We drove down to Rhossili at low tide to look at the rocks. My husband is from Northern Ireland and he was feeling homesick for some monumental rocks like those at Giants’ Causeway. Now, Gower doesn’t have pillars of amazing basalt rock but we do have some pretty grand tors.
The walk from the National Trust car park at Rhossili was certainly bracing. The wind was super cold and strong enough to make me nervous about approaching the cliff edge to take photos. People have fallen to their deaths here. The sheep are all pretty blase about it, though.
Behind the bay rises Rhossili Down to a height of 600 feet. It is the remains of an old beach level much eroded later on by the ice sheets of the last but one ice age. The bench of land below, with the Old Rectory in its middle, was caused by earth slumping down from above during a cold phase. Although, it seems like a wild and out of the way place, people have been here for a very, very long time. A Neolithic hand axe – the oldest human artefact found in Wales – was found here and is now on display in The National Museum in Cardiff.
We walked into the wind and past Worms’ Head with its exposed causeway and found a flock of sheep eating turnips scattered amongst the straw-stubbled ground. We walked along cliff tops, and looked over a long dry stone wall inland to the medieval strip farming that still continues in the fields there. This is one of only a few Medieval “Vile” Field systems left in Britain.
The path then splits. You can continue along to top of the cliffs to Mewslade or take a path to the right which dips down to the top of Fall Bay. There is a small collection of wooden boats way above the beach, some are attached to metal rings embedded into the rock. Its a lot easier to make your way down to the beach through this path than it is via a gap in the cliffs at the east end of the beach.
The high parts of Gower are made of the oldest rocks. The downs that loom over Rhossili and Cefn Bryn are made from Old Red Sandstone.The rest of Gower is made from Carboniferous Limestone. The coastline cuts across a bed of folded of Limestone at an angle of 45 degrees towards the sea, to expose curious diagonal layers of rock.
View Towards Mewslade Bay
So here my afternoon takes a slightly wetter turn. I had climbed onto rocks that lay between Fall Bay and Mewslade Bay further along the coast. The sea was crashing around me. I felt quite safe. The rocks were not slippy. I thought the tide was still going out.
Then my husband shouted at me “The Tide’s Coming in” and I looked at my watch. It was exactly 3 o’clock. Low Tide. For some reason, I then decided that the crashing waves were coming a lot closer. I hesitated, the patch of beach I had jumped from onto the rock was submerged in incoming water. I waited. The water just got deeper.
Then, my stupid PTSD head kicked in. It goes for the worst scenario. What if it never retreated? What if was going to get washed away? I was going to get washed away! I was certain. So, I panicked and jumped into the water. It came up to my calves. It was really cold. The bottom half of my jeans were very wet and my walking boots full of water. I sloshed through the sea water and onto dry land. Emergency over, I tried to cover my sense of foolishness by blaming my husband for “frightening me”.
I didn’t drown or even catch cold for having to walk back to the car with wet boots and drive home again. I had a hot bath as soon as I got home but there’s always part of me that believes that you have to suffer (or at least go to great lengths) in the process of creating your art so I find mild exhaustion and hardship rather satisfying. As if deep down I think it will somehow make the paintings better!
[wpecpp name=”Ford at Ilston Large Print ” price=”45″ align=”left”]
It’s still winter here in on the Gower peninsula, Wales. However, the days are starting to get noticeably longer. Instead of night arriving at 4pm, now on a clear day it doesn’t go dark until 5.30-ish. There are more sunny days now too. It’s still very cold, but sunny. Spring is round the corner. Nature has taken note. Tiny snow drops gather in little crowds along the river bank where we often walk in the woods near the ancient Ilston village in Gower. I can also see sturdy green shoots pushing their way up through the mud. Hundreds of them. There is lots of mud as it has been a very wet winter. The path is inaccessible unless you are wearing Wellington Boots (“Wellies”).
The stream is full and rushes across the Ford at Ilson. You have to be very early to catch the sunlight on the water here. For most of the day it is in shadow. I really like painting the woodlands in spring. Before the leaves have comes out there is still lots of light on the ground and reflecting on the water. Even when the bright green leaves pop out there is still plenty of light in the early morning light. Every time I visit the woods the light is different. The plants and flowers change. The blossoms will go through nature’s spectrum: white, yellow, blue and white again. The snow drops will be replaced by clumps of small yellow daffodils and primroses, then by the violet bluebells and finally by a thick carpet of white wild garlic. They each make a fantastic and hurried show before the foliage of the beech trees casts heavy shadows throughout the woods in May.
[wpecpp name=”Bridge at Ilston Large Print ” price=”45″ align=”left”]
I am delighted to say I have been asked by Welsh Coastal Life Magazine to submit some coastal paintings, mostly of the Gower peninsula, to be featured in their magazine. I sent the following images to give a geographical running order, if you like, from Swansea Bay via Mumbles to Gower, to Tenby and up to Morfa Nefyn on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales.
You will find more of my recent paintings of the Gower peninsula here.
I am delighted to have sold “Pobbles and Three Cliffs” on the last day of my exhibition at the Brynmill Coffee House, Swansea. It was bought by a collector from West Cross, Swansea. The exhibition space is now occupied by my husband, James Henry Johnson’s work for the month of September so pop along!
I have a confession to make. The person who does most of the “getting ready” is not me – it’s my husband, Seamas. Yes, I paint the pictures, make sure all the edges are tidied up and my initials are on each painting but he does the fiddly stuff I hate. But he’s the one who helps me decide which paintings to have in the exhibition, he goes to buy the “D” ring hooks from the DIY shop round the corner, when we run out. Or yes, and another 4 balls of string. Then, he patiently sits down and measures the spacing at the back of the paintings, screws in the “D” hooks and then has to arrange the string so that 1) the painting won’t fall off the wall 2) it doesn’t hang too high or too long down from the brass hooks they have in the venue. He also went to the venue to double check how many spaces for paintings there are too. He’ll also help with the hanging on Monday afternoon and delivering the flyers to the local business and homes.
So if you are in Swansea in August please call by and have a cup of coffee in the Brynmill Coffee House – its opposite the entrances of Singleton and Brynmill Park and 5 minutes’ walk from the seafront. The Staff are super nice and the cake is delicious and they have gluten-free versions too. You can enter the draw for a limited edition signed print of “Outside Brynmill Coffee House“. There will be limited edition prints and greeting cards available to buy too. My paintings are a selection of scenes and people of Brynmill as well as some Gower landscapes. Photographs of the paintings in situ will follow soon!
In my last post I decribed visiting the abandoned fishing village of An Port tucked away in a remote corner of the Donegal shoreline (read it here). We were inspired to seek out this very remote spot by American artist Rockwell Kent, who visited and painted the area in the 1920s. I was waiting for […]
An Port has loomed large in my imagination for a long time. It’s very remote and quite difficult to get to. To reach it, you have to drive down a very, very long single track road (it’s about three miles but it feels longer) on the way to Glencolmcille. There are plenty of sheep and […]
Rossbeg (sometimes spelt Rosbeg) is a tiny townland on the west coast of Donegal, just south of Portnua and Nairn. There is a pier and a scattering of houses, some are modern, but many are old cottages, probably used as holiday lets. The day we visited the weather was calm and sunny. It was just perfect.