Holyhead to Liverpool
The rugged and beautiful coastline along this stretch has many magical
and mysterious places to discover, some have intrigued people for centuries.
But this coastline has also seen many tragedies which have led to remarkable
inventions and innovations that affect our lives today.
A shipwrecked child & the Thomas Splint
A vicious storm, a foreign shipwreck and two small boys washed up
on shore in 1745. How did this tragic event change medical history?
Roberts meets up with Dyfrig Roberts, the great, great, great, great,
great grandson of one of these boys, the only one who survived, Evan Thomas.
Evan was taken in by a local family, and was to become the first of the
Anglesey 'Bonesetters' - people who would use their fingers to feel or
sense where bones were broken. This skill and the traditions of the bonesetters
and patient care were passed down, generation after generation, to Hugh
Owen Thomas, who designed the Thomas Splint, a simple device that saved
many thousands of lives in the First World War. In fact it can be fairly
claimed that the techniques employed and developed by this family led
to the birth of modern orthopaedic surgery.
Wylfa Nuclear Power Station
Thomas, a third generation worker at the power station, provides a glimpse
into her work and the importance of the Power Station and this area has
on her life. Recently it was announced that the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station
was to be decommissioned and is set to close in 2010 with the loss of
around 600 jobs, but it is hoped that many of the staff will be retrained
to help with the decommissioning process which could take about 25 years.
Holyhead to Liverpool Optical Telegraph
before telephones and cables, shipping companies sent complex messages
from Holyhead to Liverpool with the aid of an Optical Telegraph. Whilst
most messages took three or four minutes to arrive, it is claimed that
they once managed to send a message the entire 100 miles in as little
as 27 seconds.
It was called an 'Optical' telegraph because the signal on the telegraph
pole could be seen from one station to the next. The different positions
of the arms on the telegraph represented different numbers which could
be translated into a message using the telegraph code book - which could
have been anything from 'sunk during the night' to 'have you many sick
the help of Frank Large, the Holyhead Sea Cadets and a smaller scale model,
Neil Oliver looks at how the Optical Telegraph worked and carries out
an experiment to compare it to the modern technology of today - text messaging.
Can texting and nimble thumbs beat the record of 27 seconds?
The Royal Charter
25th October 1859 a hurricane caused havoc along the coast of the UK and
resulted in 200 shipwrecks and the loss of 800 lives. Off the Anglesey
coast at Moelfre, the Royal Charter foundered on the rocks; on board were
490 passengers and crew. Only 40 survived and many of these owed their
lives to a lifesaving technique that is still practised by the RNLI today
- the 'breeches buoy', a device that hauls people from a ship to the safety
Neil Oliver looks at how this hurricane and shipwreck had an impact on
not only the lives of people back then, but also today.
father of the Met office, Captain Robert Fitzroy, was so appalled by the
number of deaths and the inability to warn ships of bad weather that he
too developed a line-of-sight communications system. This system consisted
of 15 stations around the country which would raise a 3ft cone to warn
ships of imminent storms.
But this wasn't his only innovation; he was also the founder of a scientific
system to predict weather conditions - the weather forecast.
Shell fish - old and new
Krestovnikoff joins the Prince Madog, a scientific research vessel from
The University of Wales, Bangor, which is trawling the seabed in search
of an ancient clam, Arctica Islandica. From looking at the annual
growth lines in their shell you can tell how long ago the animal lived
in the sea bed which could be anything up to 300 years. When the clams
die, their shells lie uncorrupted in the mud and by comparing these shells
scientists are now beginning to piece together a picture of life in our
seas stretching back over thousands of years.
It's hardly surprising that these clams are being called the 'trees of
the sea' because, like oak trees, they are beginning to enable us to read
an ancient diary of the sea itself!
Not only does Miranda look at one of the worlds most ancient living creatures,
but also one of its shortest lived and tastiest shell fish - the mussel.
On the Lafan Sands is the biggest mussel fishery in the UK, here Miranda
discovers that there is more to this than just simply fishing.
The fishery moves the mussels to environments where they are protected
and nurtured. This area is one of the best in Europe for growing mussels
as it provides protection for the muscles to grow and develop rather than
being washed away or eaten. The area also provides good food resources
brought by tidal currents through the Menai Straits.
Ogof Llech - Mostyn's Heir
Oliver investigates the extraordinary story of a mysterious cave called
'Ogof Llech' or 'The Hiding Cave' situated high on the cliffs of the Great
Orme. With the help of local cave and mine expert Nick Jowett he ventures
into the cave. Neil finds that, quite strangely, the cave has been 'dressed'
with precisely cut stone, stone specially brought into the cave. Where
did the stone come from and why is it there? Intrigued by what he has
seen Neil investigates further to find out who built it, when and why.
the help of The British Geological Survey he finds out that a stone sample
from the cave's interior is a very special type of sandstone and that
it comes from the Talacre quarry in Flintshire. This quarry belonged to
the Mostyn family estate, who also owned the Great Orme. And a poem to
the cave by Siôn Dafydd Las dated 1683 indicates exactly what the
cave was for and that it had something to do with "Mostyn's heir".
So Neil finds a date for the building of the cave's interior, he also
finds out who probably had this strange church-like interior built. But
has he really solved the riddle of Ogof Llech?
The Dee Estuary
a year at the Spring and Autumn equinox, the salt marsh vanishes as extra-high
tides sweep over it and the salt marsh becomes a sea, causing chaos and
confusion for the abundance of wildlife here. It also provides an opportunity
for many wildlife enthusiasts to observe the many varieties of wildlife
that live and feed here.
But wildlife enthusiasts aren't the only ones observing the wildlife,
as many birds of prey can be found keeping a watchful eye, on the look
out for their next target.
How are pebbles made?
Nicholas Crane meets up with Twm Elias from Snowdonia National Park
and Professor Cynthia Burek of Chester University to find out exactly
how pebbles are made.
Thurstaston on the Wirral, Nicholas comes across what he describes as
a gigantic mud pie, which is actually a glacial 'till' formed about 17,000
years ago in the last ice age.
He discovers that a glacial sheet moved from the north of the country
southwards and brought with it pebbles as it moved, picking up more material
as it went along. The pebbles would be on, in and under the ice, and they
would grind up against each other and bits would fall off and be compressed
With strong waves pounding against the bottom of these cliffs, this mud
(which is essentially glacial debris) erodes to reveal pebbles which are
basically a mixture of the whole geology of Britain to the north of this
For more information contact Cynthia
Burek or Twm Elias.
'Another Place' at Crosby Beach
200 simple figures spread across two miles on Crosby beach this piece
of public art is the work of Antony Gormley. The figures were due to be
taken away in November but the artwork is currently going though planning
permission to extend its stay.
For the latest information about the extension of the planning permission
and for directions look here.
Would you like to find out what
music was used in this programme?
Holyhead to Liverpool: Thursday 2 Nov, 8pm on BBC TWO