Saturday, 29 November 2014


On 9 August 2012 I blogged about a shipwreck off the island of Eriskay which gave rise to a book and film called Whisky Galore, due to the fact that the stricken vessel was loaded with thousands of cases of whisky, making it a magnet for plundering islanders.  It may be a little known fact that Wales has its very own version of Whisky Galore.  In 1894 the Angle lifeboat was called out to Thorn Island, where the schooner Loch Shiel, bound for Adelaide, had run aground with cargo which included a large consignment of 100% proof whisky along with thousands of cases of beer.  Some of the whisky was recovered by customs men, but much of it went 'missing'.  One of the recipients of this boozy haul reportedly died after drinking copious amounts of the whisky. Years after the event, a diver found one of the bottles of beer and, finding it to be still drinkable, decided to sample it.  He subsequently found that had he left it be it would have been worth £1,000,  making it the most expensive beer of his life.  The good news about the Loch Shiel is that the brave lifeboatmen of Angle managed to save the lives of the crew and passengers on board.

The village of Angle lies near the end of a narrow peninsula, and enjoys magnificent views of the Milford Haven waterway - Angle Bay below the village is a great place for people who like watching passing ships.  At the back of the church of St Mary's churchyard is a tiny 15th-century seamen's chapel with stained-glass windows depicting sea scenes.  Behind the church is a fortified tower believed to be Norman.  At the end of the peninsula is West Angle Bay, with a beautiful, clean beach, an ample car park and a recently opened cafe which is getting good reviews.  A short walk from the car park takes you onto the coastal path, from where there are good views of Thorn Island with its Napoleonic fort, built in the 1850s and used for a time as a hotel. In 2011 the fort went up for sale, a snip at £750,000, although the amount that eventually changed hands was significantly lower.  

Map of the area. 

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West Angle Bay

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Thorn Island. Photo by Mike Graham, via Wikimedia Commons

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