Tag Archives: Wales

Life Giving Water…

I am hard pressed to choose my favourite things in nature…
Trees, flowers, stars, rivers, oceans, wind, light, darkness…
I am a spirit who loses herself in the natural things of life,
and I may have to blog about each of them…

Life Giving Water - I'm happiest with my feet in the ocean... The Last Krystallos

Water. I am happiest when my feet are splashing in water. Whether I’m traversing a beach, sand beneath my feet and the ocean tide rippling across my toes, or standing on a rock or flat pebbles in the river as it rushes around my legs, or jumping in puddles, or even just wandering through rain, it’s all good!


Cait at Pembrey and Boots in rain © Lisa Shambrook

I was born and brought up in Brighton with its pebble beaches. I remember stalking, painfully, down the stony beach, wincing as sharp shingle stabbed my bare feet, and searching for small patches of sand for respite. Then smiles and shouts as sand appeared beneath the water and you could finally jump the waves!


Lisa 7 Brighton Beach, Rottingdean, Lisa 19 Petit Bot Bay Guernsey, Saltdean © Lisa Shambrook

I recall childhood walks on the undercliff pass at Saltdean and Rottingdean and beaches strewn with rocks and rock pools, and trips out to Goring and its huge stretch of sandy beach. Sitting on pebbles, eating fried chicken and then I would wander down, alone, to the sea and walk for what seemed like miles in the shallows.

We would holiday in Wales, Somerset, and Cornwall, and I would gaze at the pale sand and crashing waves. The sea in Brighton was green and the sea in Wales was blue for the most part. I could stand, or sit, for hours watching the ocean, anywhere.


Pistyll Rhaedr, Sgwd Eira, Blaenau Ffestiniog waterfalls © Lisa Shambrook

Then waterfalls! Rivers cascading over a precipice and its thunder, its roar, its power, and pure energy. Wales has been the home to waterfalls for me, from gazing up at Pistyll Rhaedr which at 240ft (80m) high it is the UK’s tallest single drop waterfall, to Devil’s Bridge, the Sgwd Eira Waterfall and Henrhyd Falls both of which you can walk behind, to many more. I’ve sat with my feet in icy cold waterfall river water up on the Black Mountain, and dabbled my feet in our local river, Afon Gwili, as our dog chases twigs thrown into the water!


River Dog, Roxy in the Afon Gwili © Lisa Shambrook

I’ve been out in torrential rain and once you surrender to the fact that you will get soaked it’s quite wonderful. Go and get soaked to the skin in a torrential summer shower (winter ones maybe not so warm or fun!).

Swimming is one of my favourite things; it helps lift my depression, is great exercise and is fun. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than launching into a pool and surging underwater, those few mere moments of being alone and at one with the elements. Then the rhythmic movements of swimming, kicking, breathing…living, and feeling the power of life within…


Swimming in the Blue Lagoon – Aberieddy © Lisa Shambrook

Swimming in the Blue Lagoon in Aberieddy is also an amazing experience. 82 ft (25m) deep and the most stunning green water ever. People regularly dive into it from the old slate quarry buildings, and it’s one of the most beautiful sea-fed pools in the country.

Water revitalises, refreshes, and gives us what we need to live. Water is life. Without it we won’t survive. It nourishes us, keeps us clean, and keeps us alive. No wonder water has so many links to religion, folklore, and fantasy, and makes its way into plenty of analogies and metaphors.


Penbryn Beach waves and Rain © Lisa Shambrook

I love this quote from Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad:

Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.


© Lisa Shambrook

A beautiful sentiment! The power of water is insurmountable. It cuts through mountains, gives us electricity, waters our crops and gives us the basis of life.

Go take a look at my Let Me Swim Pinterest board – you will want to dive right in!

So, tell me, how does water affect your life?

Are you mermaid, or a dolphin, do you love your feet in the water?

Human 76, Human 76 An unprecended post-apocalyptic journey, fragments of a fractured world, Lisa Shambrook, Michael Wombat,We are so privileged to have fresh clean water, and we need to appreciate it. When we released ‘Human 76’, our post-apocalyptic collection of stories, we chose to give all our profits to Water Is Life, a global charity that provides clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide. Our book is about those displaced and struggling to survive in a dangerous world and this charity fits perfectly with our stories. So when you buy the book you will be helping those in need.

Dragons, Castles, Wales, and Works In Progress…

Now that Human 76 is out there in the wild
and you’re all getting your post-apocalyptic fix,
I need to get back into my tales and my WIP (Work In Progress).

Dragons, Castles, Wales, and WIP... The Last Krystallos.

Exciting plans involve a short story collection embracing a dragon theme and then a new series. The short stories will include a story that ties to The Hope Within Books and a new tale that will link directly to my new chronicles.

Dryslwyn Castle Cait and Lisa The Last krystallos June 2016

Caitlin and Lisa at Dryslwyn Castle with Paxton’s Tower © Bekah Shambrook

So, as a teaser this post is a visit to Dryslwyn Castle in Carmarthen which will play a part in my WIP. These books are set far, far into the future:

‘Centuries beyond post-apocalyptic, the landscape of Wales has turned into a whole new country…and the rumble of dragons has returned…’

I’ve spent the last year travelling across Wales, researching, and having fun! You may recall my blog post Road Trip through the raw beauty of Wales, not only did we have fun, but we mapped out the landscape that I’m going to need.

Dryslwyn Castle, Black Mountain , Tywi Valley, Lisa Shambrook,

The Black Mountain in the far distance from Dryslwyn Castle © Lisa Shambrook

Dryslwyn is a ruined medieval castle, the very strategically placed home for 13th century Rhys ap Maredudd, high above the Tywi Valley. It was a front line defence but deliberately decommissioned in the early 15th century. It was walled up, blockaded and ruined, and burnt to the ground at a later date.

Dryslwyn Castle, hills, Lisa Shambrook,

Dryslwyn Castle foundations… © Lisa Shambrook

However, it still holds strong foundations upon the hilltop peering across at Paxton’s Tower, the neo-gothic folly erected in memory of Lord Nelson in the 18th century.


Paxton’s Tower across the Tywi Valley… © Lisa Shambrook

In my future the current Twyi Valley will be a flooded land populated by islands, including Dryslwyn castle which may be a stronghold for its owners – and I know exactly who will live there – having rebuilt a small fort of her own within the safety of the islands…

Dryslwyn castle, lisa shambrook, the last krystallos,

Dryslwyn Castle and Caitlin… © Lisa Shambrook

We had a lovely visit planning and plotting and imagining post-apocalyptic futures…

It’s been quite a week for contemplating the future
and dystopia and post-apocalyptic seem appropriate!
*spoken with tongue firmly in cheek*

What are your plans for the future? 

Road Trip through the raw beauty of Wales

Harry Potter, lily ponds, castles, beaches, mountains –
Preseli, Berwyn, Black, Cambrian and Snowdonia, lakes and reservoirs, and waterfalls…
Our holiday road trip was packed full with literature, raw beauty, water and history…

Road trip through the raw beauty of WalesSo join me on a photographic journey across England and Wales…

We watched all the Harry Potter movies, pretty much back-to-back (because rereading the books would have taken a teeny bit longer!) before we arrived at Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour. I’ll do a separate post on this tour at some point, because it deserves it, but suffice to say it was awesome – and left us with a desire to rewatch all the movies back-to-back again! All days out (theme oriented) are expensive these days, but for the price and feel-good factor, this was worth it.

Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour London © Lisa Shambrook

We spent two thirds of the HP entry price the next day at Howletts zoo, but in the heat it appeared that most of their animals were asleep. We only saw a handful: a lioness, lots of elephants, hogs, several monkeys, two gorillas and…um, nope, that’s it. The keeper at the Lemur walk-through was actually showing people photos of the lemurs on his iPhone to prove they were actually there! We saw a bunny rabbit… It must have been a bad day. We went when the children were small eight years ago and it was great, not so much this time…

Howletts Zoo and Margate seafront © Lisa Shambrook

Howletts Zoo and Margate seafront © Lisa Shambrook

Margate has a lovely beach and we enjoyed an evening there, on the eastern side of England.

Raglan Castle and the drive to Wales © Lisa Shambrook

Raglan Castle and the drive to Wales © Lisa Shambrook

On our return to Wales we stopped at Raglan Castle – beautiful. We had gorgeous weather and cute moorhen ducklings in the moat. In case you wondered some of the BBC’s Merlin was also filmed there.

Bosherston lily ponds were enchanting, a twenty minute walk along the ponds took us to the beach, and despite a sudden rainfall we loved paddling in the sea! I’m always happy with my feet in the ocean…

Bosherston lily ponds, beach and Tenby seagulls © Lisa Shambrook

Bosherston lily ponds, beach and Tenby seagulls © Lisa Shambrook

We ate chips on Tenby beach accosted by gangs of seagulls…

LLansteffan Castle © Lisa Shambrook

LLansteffan Castle © Lisa Shambrook

Our next castle was Llansteffan, on our doorstep, and a regular walk with Roxy our German Shepherd.

Manorbier Castle and Pembrokeshire Falconry © Lisa Shambrook

Manorbier Castle and Pembrokeshire Falconry © Lisa Shambrook

The following day our road trip resumed with a falconry display at Manorbier Castle by Pembrokeshire Falconry. The birds were stunning and made the day. I’d expected the castle to be larger, but it was pretty. It was a quick walk to the beach for a picnic.

Aberieddy Blue Lagoon, Trefin and Aberywstyth © Lisa Shambrook

Aberieddy Blue Lagoon, Trefin and Aberywstyth © Lisa Shambrook

Lisa seaweed hair - © Bekah Shambrook

© Bekah Shambrook

We then travelled across Pembrokeshire to the famous Blue Lagoon to watch intrepid adventurers jump off the old slate quarry into the almost 100 foot deep lagoon. I was mistaken when I told someone it was 300 foot…oops. We drove through the Preseli Mountains up to Aberystwyth stopping off at hidden beaches – Trefin and Abercastle – on the way, where I tried on a wig of seaweed, very fetching!

Elan Valley Reservoirs, Penbont Bridge, Pen-y-Garreg Reservoir, Snowdonia, Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall © Lisa Shambrook

Elan Valley Reservoirs, Penbont Bridge, Pen-y-Garreg Reservoir, Snowdonia, Pistyll Rhaeadr © Lisa Shambrook

The next day saw us at the Elan Valley Reservoirs. I’m researching Wales for my next books and found some fantastic locations which are now stored in my head as my books await a rewrite! The brainstorming in the car was fabulous and inspiring…and there will be dragons! Then up to Lake Vyrnwy, which was disappointingly grey in the rain and obscured for the most part by trees. I’d seen a Pinterest pic of the lake’s straining tower, but no chance of recreating that pic without a telephoto lens! Up to Pistyll Rhaeadr, Wales’s tallest waterfall at 240 foot, and it is stunning! Though, don’t park for £3 at the farmhouse, park on the road further down for free and take a five minute walk to it.

Sgwd-y-Eira, The Black Mountain and ponies © Lisa Shambrook

Sgwd-y-Eira, The Black Mountain and ponies © Lisa Shambrook

We discovered Sgwd yr Eira and three other waterfalls in Merthyr on the Brecon Beacons. A two hour fast-pace walk, and lots of steps, but a curtain of rushing water and you could stand behind it (like neighbouring Henryd Falls) which is wonderful on a hot day as the water shimmers across you!

We enjoyed the ponies up on The Black Mountain, and marvelled at the sheer raw beauty of the limestone mountain.

Beth Gelert W R Spencer - Beddgelert © Lisa Shambrook

Beth Gelert W R Spencer – Beddgelert © Lisa Shambrook

Then on our last day, straight up the west coast to Cader Idris, a mystical sight veiled in low cloud and mist, and to the decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear power station. We stopped at Beddgelert, the scene of ‘Beth Gelert’ my favourite tear-jerker poem by William Robert Spencer, then a quick look at hiker-smothered Mount Snowdon and down through the gorgeous gorge of Llanberis Pass.

Cader Idris, Snowdonia, Conwy Castle, Swallow Falls, Blaenau Ffestiniog © Lisa Shambrook

Cader Idris, Snowdonia, Conwy Castle, Swallow Falls, Blaenau Ffestiniog © Lisa Shambrook

We followed to Caernarfon and a drive-by of the castle where Prince Charles’s investiture took place, then we drove up the coast and took a wrong turn and literally stumbled upon Conwy Castle. We stopped and explored. It’s stunning. The town is surrounded by the castle walls and was built eight hundred years ago at the cost of £15,000 which would £45 million today. It was our favourite castle of the four we visited, and highly recommended as you can walk the castle walls, climb up the towers and explore for a good couple of hours, the rain didn’t hamper our visit.

We came back via Swallow Falls at Betws-y-Coed, entry through a turnstile at £1.50 (see how many you can fit in a turnstile – Shhh, I didn’t say that…) Very pretty. Whilst in North Wales I was also searching for a hairpin road up a mountain that I’d seen as a kid, but only when we turned off at Blaenau Ffestiniog’s Hydro Electric Power Station did I find it. Sadly, the road up the mountain is now closed off, but we had a lovely walk up through the clouds on a path of slate and waterfalls.

Blaenau Ffestiniog Hydro Electric Power Station Waterfalls and Slate © Lisa Shambrook

Blaenau Ffestiniog Hydro Electric Power Station Waterfalls and Slate © Lisa Shambrook

From there it was the long drive home, back through the stunning countryside of Wales. We’d covered 1,300 miles, across England from Margate in Eastern Kent to Pembrokeshire, West Wales, and up through Mid and North Wales and back. We had huge fun, and the car exhaust was fine until seven miles from home, when it fell off…but we were rescued and got home safe and sound!

Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia © Lisa Shambrook

Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia © Lisa Shambrook

We are incredibly blessed to live in such a glorious, beautiful country and our road trip made us appreciate our surroundings all the more!

Shambrook Family Selfie (sans Dan who's in Canada!) © Bekah Shambrook

Aberystwyth – Shambrook Family Selfie (sans Dan who’s in Canada!) © Bekah Shambrook