The Fishing Boats and Ports of Wales
A Way to Explore
By Stewart Lenton with Introduction by Liz Lenton
ISBN 978-0-9554023-4-RRP £17.99 Publication date November 2010
Very Much in the style of His previous books ' Fishing Boats & Ports of Cornwall' and 'Fishing Boats & Ports of Devon' this book is a glossy paperback 6 x 9 inches and half spiral bound to enable it to lie flat on a surface when open. It is attractively illustrated with many photographs and some diagrams on the introductory pages, and pages about the ports and places where registered fishing boats are kept.
Liz’ (the photographer’s wife) has written a section - ‘Exploring in Pursuit of Fishing Boats by where she outlines some of the benefits of exploring this way even for a non fishing-boat enthusiast and she details some of the things that have captured her interest in these visits to the coastline of the Principality. There is a general introduction by Stewart including some photographs demonstrating changes in specific fishing vessels, which result in difficulty identifying it as the same boat. Following this Stewart devotes a section in turn to each of the places around the coast where fishing boats are found from 1).Newport, South Wales to 56).Connah’s Quay on the Dee in North Wales. Each of the sections has a brief description and history with photos of the place itself, followed by a list and description of the boats usually kept there and their PLN (registration) numbers. This is followed by Stewart’s colour photography of the boats. There are two indices, one arranged alphabetically by the boat’s name, and the other alphanumerically by registration numbers. On the front cover flap there is a map with the ports listed by number, and inside the back cover is a list of Welsh words and their meanings to be found in Welsh place-names.
From inside back cover flap
When Stewart Lenton, a retired airline pilot, became a volunteer watch-keeper with the National Coast Watch Institution (NCI) he had no idea where this would lead him. He started taking photographs of registered fishing boats to form an identikit, which could assist NCI watch-keepers in logging the fishing boats that passed their lookout stations, and ended up having photographed virtually every registered fishing boat, of all sizes, in both Devon and Cornwall. News of this photography spread, and the archivist at the National Maritime Museum, Falmouth, persuaded him to publish his collection as it formed a unique ‘snapshot’ of the contemporary fishing industry at a time of change. Stewart Lenton’s previous two successful books, ‘The Fishing Boats and Ports of Cornwall’ and ‘The Fishing Boats and Ports of Devon’ were the result.
As a bonus, Stewart and his wife Liz, a retired doctor, thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the areas where they might find any fishing boats. It took them to many interesting, attractive and often little known places that they might not otherwise have discovered, and enabled them to get to know the area better. All sorts of snippets of information came their way about the fishing industry past and present, and the places along the coast where it took place. This sparked off an interest in the local history, and made their visits to the coast more enjoyable and purposeful. Far from losing interest in this type of exploring they find now that they cannot resist getting to know other areas they visit in a similar way, and thus ‘The Fishing Boats and Ports of Wales’ has come about. While Stewart seeks out the boats and the best photography of them, Liz, often aided by local information boards, is able to admire the local wildlife and natural features or find out about the social history of the people who had lived or worked there, and she has written an introductory section from the female viewpoint. Judging by the feedback we have had about the first books, that sold far outside the subject counties, often to inland places, these books are not exclusively of interest to fishermen and ‘anoraks’ as one might expect. Even children enjoy the ‘I Spy’ element of finding the fishing boats with numbers on them. It is indeed a good way for all the family to explore an area.
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