Fancy a winter picnic?

By | Category: Travel destinations
llansteffan beach

the beach at Llansteffan but this was taken in summer

I don’t see myself as a picnic person. Even in summer sprawled on a groundsheet eating sandwiches and drinking thermos tea has never appealed in the way that all those halcyon portrayals in children’s books suggest.

Which makes me wonder why I would consider a winter picnic when the temperature is largely cool; the weather changeable (and that is being polite) and the ground underfoot is damp if not downright squidgy?

But the tourist boffins in the Carmarthenshire have established a winter picnic guide to encourage me to see more of the Welsh county. They want to introduce us to “the delights of outdoors dining whatever the weather, by rolling out cosy picnic blankets and popping open a warm flask of coffee or cawl.” (Cawl is a welsh broth made from lamb with potatoes, leeks and any number of vegetables from whatever is to hand.)

the boathouse at Laugharne

The guide that they have drawn up lists ten different places it suggests you visit and also a few ideas on where you might buy your picnic so they probably don’t have in mind a couple of ham sandwiches and a cheese roll. At least not unless the ham is Carmarthen ham – a dry, salt cured ham and the cheese comes from one of the Carmarthenshire cheese makers like Caws Cenarth or the Carmarthenshire Cheese Company.

The ten include a mountain, ( I can’t see ours today, its shrouded in mist)  a forest and a beach along with tips on how to “ embrace the colder season and follow in the footsteps of the Scandinavians who, despite having a much colder climate to ours, still have a hugely popular outdoor eating culture.”

the old mill and the falls at Cenarth.

Three of the suggestions the tourism organisation makes I know well, Cenarth and Llansteffan. Cenarth is a pretty place in the summer where the river cascades over rocks making it a coach tour stopover place as visitors spot the odd coracle fisherman, visit the nearby coracle museum and drop into one of the local pubs or teashops.  In winter the tea shops close, the river rises rapidly after the rains and people come to see the violence of the river crashing obvert hr rocks and, occasionally, submerging part of the small picnic spot the other side of the famed bridge.

Llansteffan, on the other hand is a long sandy bridge with a stark castle atop the hill guarding the estuary leading up to Carmarthen. The café in the car park is closed in winter as is the gift shop and the castle has no café.

Brown’s Hotel in Laugharne where Dylan Thomas supped

Laugharne is forever linked with Dylan Thomas. The boathouse where he wrote is still there and the castle is imposing. Browns, the hotel in which he supped many a drink. It serves standard, nourishing fare (as do other pubs in the area)ideal for a winter’s day so why would I want to picnic?

I can think of lots of reasons to visit the county in any weather but to have a picnic – outdoors – in winter? I think that appeals to people made of sterner stuff than me!

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