Cardiff Bay Walk – 03.03.2012

Following on from my November walk, I finally made it back to Cardiff and to explore the lovely Cardiff Bay! The Spring sunshine (or is it still Winter sunshine in March?) was quite beautiful over the bay and it looked so tranquil. I am not so sure, that this area would have been so peaceful when this was Cardiff Docks!

From 2012 – 03.03.2012 – Cardiff Bay

As we started to explore the area, we came across a beautiful little wooden Church. This Church was originally built for the Norwegian sailors, who came to Cardiff docks when it was very industrious. The church was built in 1868 and at its height had from 7,500 to 73,000 Scandinavian sailors attend the Church. Sadly, the Church fell into disuse when the Docks fell into decline and eventually closed in 1974. The Church was renovated and reopened again in 1992, it is now a dedicated Arts Centre.

In front of this little church, I noticed a Christmas Tree. It seems that the Cardiff and Hordaland in Norway have kept tradition to light up this little Christmas Tree annually to celebrate their long standing friendship. I had always known about the Norwegian Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square which may be slightly larger but this tree is just as beautiful!

Just past the Church is a large white sculpture. This statue is a memorial to Scott of the Antarctic. It is very fitting that the statue is white and irregular in shape to represent the rigours of what Scott faced when he was trekking towards the South Pole. On one side of the statue portrays the sails of the expedition’s vessel, the “Terra Nova”, whilst on another side of the statue large ice cavern has been carved into the sculpture. The ice cavern, is similar to ones that are seen in Pontings photographs of the expedition. It is very interesting to note that statue is located closely to the Norwegian Church, which seems to be a poignant reminder that Scott was beaten to the Pole by the Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen.

From 2012 – 03.03.2012 – Cardiff Bay

As we strolled along, it felt like we were leaving the developed part of Cardiff Bay behind. We could certainly see evidence of Cardiff Docks at this point. As we crossed the newly built road bridge it seemed in stark contrast to, the huge rusty lock gate which showed the docks sad decline over the years. The area behind the bridge seemed a little desolate and ready for development. We decided to take a small path along the side of the small inlet, which had been freshly tarmacked. Eventually it would have lead us to Penarth but sadly we did not have the time to follow the path through! Maybe next time…

As we turned back we discovered that we could see the BBC Wales Studio in the distance. The likes of Doctor Who, Casualty, Upstairs Downstairs and the welsh sitcom Pobol y Cwm have been filmed there. We carried on along another part of the bay, which looked more like the docks to me. There is a lovely bronze statue entitled “Pit to Port”. This sculpture portrays a miner, a mine truck which contains a smoking factory chimney and a ship. The statue clearly demonstrate the cycle of the coal industry, which the Docklands had originally well known for. It was good to see this statue and a nod to Cardiff docks rich past.

Just by the statue is a large “Lightship”. The lightship Helwick LV14 was built and commissioned by Trinity House in 1953 and was originally stationed in the Kentish Knock. In 1975 a helicopter landing pad was added to the ship to ensure that crews could safely be changed by helicopter. It’s light could be seen over 25 miles away! However the ship had no power of its own and had to be towed to it’s next station! It was last positioned at Rhosilli between 1984 – 1989. It was decommisioned and then bought and brought to Cardiff Bay where the lightship has been restored.

From 2012 – 03.03.2012 – Cardiff Bay

Our route took us back past the Church and onto Mermaid Quay, which is a wonderful little quay full of boutiques and places to eat. As we continued on we stumbled onto a large Freighter, which shows that some of Cardiff Docks is still used for industrial purposes. It seems that where we were walking now, had been relatively left untouched by the developers and was more use to shipping traffic than tourists!

We decided not to continue down this route and turn back towards the Quay. The Quay opens out into a large basin making the area quite spacious to wander around. In fact this area was known as the “Oval Basin”. This part of the docks was the coal port and was use from the latter half the 19th century and much of the 20th century. Following the redevelopment of the area, it has been renamed and dedicated to Roald Dahl. Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff and was christened in the Norwegian Church. The basin is known as “Roald Dahl Plass”, Plass is Norwegian for “Plaza”.

It is here that we finished our tour of Cardiff Bay, I am sure that we maybe back to explore the bay or at least finish the “Cardiff Bay Barrage Coast Path” which I have since discovered we were walking, at some point. It certainly is a lovely place to enjoy the afternoon.

For all the afternoon walks please feel free to click here

2012 – 03.03.2012 – Cardiff Bay

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