St Govan's revenge

10th August 2013
Saint Govan’s Chapel is a fabulous sanctuary built into the side of coastal cliff near Bosherston. It was built in a fissure in the cliff in the 14th century on what is now known as St Govan's Head.
There are a number of stories proposing who St Govan was; he was either an Irish monk who traveled to Wales to seek the friends and family of the abbot who had trained him, or he may have been Gawain, one of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, or alternatively he may have been a thief. One romantic story suggests that Govan was set upon by pirates, when the cliff opened up and left a fissure just big enough for him to hide in until the pirates left. Grateful, he decided to stay on along the cliff, in order to help warn the locals of the impending pirate attack if they were to return.
Whatever the truth, St Govan lived within a small cave in the fissure of the cliff. This is now reached by a long flight of stone steps, the number of which is said to vary depending on whether one is ascending or descending. I can attest to this as I ended up clambering up them 3 times!– I stupidly didn’t take my tripod with me when I first went down. I then decided I really had to have it so I climbed back up to the car for it. Back down and I realised with a total sinking feeling that I had forgotten my shutter release – doh! And you just cant do long exposures without one so I reluctantly (and much slower) trekked back up for a second time.
Quite frankly I stayed down in the tranquillity of the chapel for much longer than I probably would have – I needed some serious rallying to get me back up those steps for the third time. I seriously contemplated camping down to fully ‘live’ the Hermit experience but figured that Mike and Norman wouldn’t go for it! Thankfully at least I got a couple of decent shots out of it, but it is so lovely down there it is definitely worth going down (at least once!)