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Alternative Celtic Challenge a success



MEMBERS of Towy Boat club braved strong winds and heavy rain over the weekend to honour the money they had raised for local charities.

The crew had originally intended to participate in the Celtic Challenge until the event was postponed until next year due to bad weather.

Determined to honour all the money raised for the Cameron Comey and Luke Somerfield Trusts, the Towy crew vowed to row their own Alternative Celtic Challenge over the same distance as the original Irish Sea crossing.

Their original plan was to split the team of 12 rowers into two boats, rather than rotate the crew into one boat like they would have in the original Celtic Challenge. A course of some 50 miles, up the Towy and along the coast to Pembrokeshire and back, was planned.

With strong winds and heavy rain threatening to halt the crew’s determination to row their Alternative Celtic Challenge on the weekend of May 20, they quickly rerouted their course so that safe navigation was possible within the limited weather windows. Using the new route, they successfully rowed 96miles in 17 hours and 32 minutes.

As interest and support for the new event grew, the crew quickly needed to rethink to allow others to join them on the Challenge, freeing up seats to include more people in the adventure. On Friday evening, Towy’s Celtic crew were joined by their Celtic Challenge support vessel and the club’s second wind sailors.

The Carmarthen Quay row planned for that evening was not possible as the weather window didn’t allow for a long row. Instead the flotilla of three longboats headed down towards Scott’s Bay. On returning to the club, the Celtic rowers continued rowing on the ergs.

Rowing friends from Newport, Llanion and Wisemans Bridge joined the crew on Saturday for the second leg, with five rowing boats, a jet-ski and a support RIB heading up the river, stopping at Carmarthen Quay for a welcome refreshment break.

On their return to the club a quick weather review revealed a weather window which allowed the crew to row over to Pembrokeshire on Sunday. With only the ladies crew feeling up for the final leg, it was necessary for them to put in a double shift, rowing to Pembrokeshire and back home to Towy Boat club.

After almost 6 hours at sea, the ladies returned home safely to proud applause from fellow club members, who were surprised at their speedy return.

Team captain Nic Thomas thanked all those who took part: “Saturday’s row had by far the biggest turn out,” she told The Herald. “It was wonderful to share the experience with so many well-wishers.

“With the whole Celtic Challenge crew, support vessel, support rib and rowers working together as one team, it has certainly been a tremendous Alternative Challenge. We couldn’t have had better support, they have been awesome. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done”

“The ladies were superb. Having rowed every leg and putting in extra shifts on the ergs, they each rowed over 50miles over the weekend.

“I am tremendously proud of the crew for completing the Challenge despite the weather playing havoc with our plans. It has been a great rowing weekend, made more special as we were joined by so many supporters and well wishes on route. It has been an honour to share this epic adventure with them.

“We have countless heartfelt thank-yous to make to all those who have supported us from the onset of training to rowing the Alternative Celtic Challenge. It wouldn’t have been possible without this support, we can’t thank them enough.”

The crew, triumphant in their efforts despite the countless blisters, are looking towards planning for the postponed race in 2017.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan



MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.


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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence



GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms



AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website:

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