Friday, 13 February 2015

BURRY PORT



In my piece about Pendine I wrote about the ill-fated flight by female aviator Amy Johnson and her husband, who ran out of fuel and were forced to crash-land before arriving in New York, having started out in Pendine.  In 1928 Burry Port witnessed a similar incident involving a female pilot, but this time the pilot, Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, was attempting her flight in the opposite direction bound for Southampton, and it was at Burry Port that she was forced to cut short her flight, also for lack of fuel.  However, she had a more fortunate outcome than the poor Johnsons: A Llanelli-based manager from the Anglo Americal Oil Company came to the rescue, ferrying cans of fuel out to Earhart's Fokker aircraft Friendship, with crowds of onlookers watching the spectacle from the quay.  The event is commemorated by engraved flagstones and a plaque in the harbour.

A harbour was built in this location in 1832 for shipping out the coal being mined in the locality, but the town did not grow up until a couple of decades later.  The canals used to transport the coal to the port gave way to the railway in due course.  Now the mines are closed, and the harbour has been converted to a marina for leisure craft.  The marina forms part of the Millennium Coastal Park.  Nearby Pembrey Burrows is home to a country park and the Saltings Local Nature Reserve.  Many rare plants are to be found here as well as birds such as ringed plovers, skylarks and redwing.  Pembrey Sands is treacherous to shipping, and as such has been the scene of many a shipwreck.  Not all of them, however, were accidents.  Some of the ships were lured onto the sands by local wreckers known as "The Men of Little Hatchets", so called because a type of hatchet was used for ripping open the cargo.

Map of the area.

File:Amelia Earhart memorial, Burry Port harbour - geograph.org.uk - 1025606.jpg
Amelia Earhart Memorial. Photo by Rose and Trev Clough, via Wikimedia Commons


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