Saturday, 24 January 2015


By the time we reach Pendine, heading east from Amroth, we are no longer in Pembrokeshire, Pendine being at the western end of Carmarthenshire.  However, that does not mean we have seen the last of endless sandy beaches.  The beach at Pendine is 7 miles long, stretching from Gilman Point to Laugharne Sands.  In the 1920s racing enthusiasts made use of the vast expanse of sands in a series of attempts at breaking the land speed record.  Possibly the most famous car to make an appearance was the Blue Bird, a Sunbeam 350HP owned by Malcolm Campbell, father of Donald Campbell.  Campbell broke nine land speed records in the 1920s and 1930s, three of them on Pendine Sands.  A Welshman called J. G. Parry-Thomas sadly lost his life when attempting to beat one of Campbell's records.  Pendine Sands still attracts racing enthusiasts today, and each summer the Vintage Hot Rod Association holds its Hot Rod Races here.  On a slightly different note, it was from Pendine Sands that female aviator Amy Johnson and her husband departed for an ill-fated flight to New York.  The pair ran out of fuel and were forced to crash land just before reaching their target destination, resulting in serious injury to both. 

Today, the sands are popular with families, due to the abundance of shallow water at high tide making for safe paddling.  At low tide the sea can be as much as a mile out.  The area to the east of the village has been commandeered by the Ministry of Defence who use it as a firing range, but the sands are usually open for public use at weekends and on weekday evenings.  The glory days of land speed record attempts are recalled in the Museum of Speed in Pendine village.  During the summer months the museum's displays include the restored Babs, the car used by the unfortunate Parry-Thomas.  The car was buried in sand dunes near the village until 1969 when it was retrieved and lovingly restored.  A report on the rescue of Babs as well as vintage footage of some of the land speed record attempts at Pendine can be seen on the British Pathe website.

Map of the area.

File:Pendine Sands Sunrise 29-09-2008.jpg
Pendine Sands Sunrise. Photo by Nogginkj, via Wikimedia Commons.

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