Hello

Thanks for coming.

Press pic - Dixe Wills (credit- Erin Marie Clark) lower res

I used to have something brilliant and witty to welcome readers with but I deleted it by accident and then lost the will to carry on.

Instead, you’ve got this.

Erm, hello.

You may know me from C4’s Paul Merton’s Secret Stations, the series inspired by my book Tiny Stations, or from BBC2’s Britain Goes Camping, or from my Guardian travel articles, or from my books. Or, of course, you might have come here because you misspelt the name of the Dixie Chicks and have no idea who I am (well done for reading this far though).

Whichever if the case, thank you for coming. You can hit the tabs above for info on three of my books.

There’s also something about some tiny islands you can read below. Why this isn’t on the page marked ‘Tiny Islands’ only wordpress will be able to tell you, I’m afraid.

 

Ynys Gifftan, Gwynedd

A tiny bit of Ynys Gifftan. Portmeirion is over the far side of the sands.

Like a brown egg half buried in the sands of the Afon Dwyryd, Ynys Gifftan is fortunate enough to command views of Portmeirion and the Irish Sea in one direction and Snowdonia (and, hey, Snowdon itself when the mists clear) in the other.

A gift from Queen Anne to Lord Harlech (hence its name, which means Anne’s Gift Island) in the early 18th century, the isle has but one residence, a stone-built cottage. It’s currently unoccupied and was, sadly, vandalised a few years ago, but if you wish to do it up a bit and live there, do apply to the island’s owner, the 6th Baron Harlech, who I’m sure would be more than happy to lease you Ynys Gifftan (under the terms of the gift he’s not allowed to sell you the island – a canny woman, Queen Anne).

The sands in the picture above are where the ‘Rover’ scenes from cult 60s television series The Prisoner were shot. Which means, of course, that the buildings you can just make out on the far shore are those of Portmeirion, the Italianate fantasy village built by Clough Williams-Ellis.

In other news, a devastating tsunami swept up the estuary in 1927 causing considerable damage to the local village of Talsarnau and the railway lines that used to run up this stretch of coast (there’s just the one left now). Fans of the 1927 Welsh Tsunami can read about it in my book Tiny Stations (which features Talsarnau) as well as Tiny Islands.

Meanwhile, for fans of footprints, here are some of mine, trailing across the sands towards Talsarnau, the village from where access to the island is possible at low tide if you don’t mind getting your legs wet. You’ll notice that there is only one set of footprints. That’s because Jesus and I hopped the entire way across.

Looe Island, Cornwall

A friend and I, walking a Cornish section of the South-West Coast Path last month, inadvertently found ourselves camping near Looe (aka St George’s) Island – home for forty years to the extraordinarily unflappable Atkins sisters. Here it is in all its a-little-after-dawn glory. I’ll be visiting the puckish little isle this summer when, if all goes well, it should have warmed up to the point where tents won’t have to be defrosted before they can be returned to their bags.

Unlike most tiny islands, this one stretches to its own website, so pop along here for a preview peek.