Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Mouth of Hell? Really?

Stretching out north west from the Cilan headland is Porth Neigwl or Hell’s Mouth. This is a treacherous place in a south westerly gale and a rising tide and has claimed numerous shipwrecks over the centuries. In 1629 a French ship carrying members of the aristocracy was lured towards the rocks by local lights and the survivors killed and butchered. Two local men were hanged for this foul deed, but, unsurprisingly, seafarers came to dread this stretch of coast. Apart from wreckers on land there were pirate ships at sea in the 17th century (often associated with the local gentry) as well as Arab traders who in one raid on Holyhead captured over 100 persons for the white slave markets in North Africa. In 1858 a ship called The Twelve Apostles got into difficulties in Hell’s Mouth. The captain sent out a famous signal to the insurers Lloyds of London- “Twelve Apostles making heavy water in Hell’s Mouth”.

On a fine day in May it was difficult to imagine such threats. This is now a famous surfing beach with its own webcam.

On a superb summer’s evening a sea mist suddenly appeared which made the sea and the sky and the land all merge together in a shining glory. 
The beach at Hell’s Mouth is approximately 4 and a half miles long with good firm sand and makes for a wonderful place to walk and rest the mind. No signs to follow, no impediments, just the sea and the sky all around you.
Looking for signs of shipwreck, this is all I could find. It looks like part of the boiler of the 12 Apostles which sank in 1858.


  1. This geographic feature sounds like my wife!

  2. What a stunning picture! Looks like a lovely beach, stunning coastline.

  3. This boiler is from a wooden steamer that was wrecked on the beach.
    Ship name AGGRAVATOR Small steamer at Porth Neigwl (Hell’s
    Mouth) lost in a storm when unloading on the beach in 1898.
    Type : Early wooden Steamship. Registered: Pwllheli
    Built: 1860, Construction: wood, Dimensions:: 61 x 9.1 x 3.7 meters