The Great Welsh Amelia Earhart Controversy
Where, exactly, the great aviator completed her transatlantic flight has caused some trouble in Wales.
Two Welsh villages, two miles apart, claim to be the spot where Amelia Earhart touched down to become the first woman to complete a transatlantic flight. Both villages have monuments to the historic day in June of 1928. But can they both be right?
Of the two, Pwll has the official blue plaque used in Britain to mark important places, people, and events. The counter claimant, Burry Port, has gone a different route—erect more plaques, and make them bigger.
The controversy seems to stem from the fact that the aircraft, called “Friendship,” was a sea plane. Taking off from Newfoundland on June 17th, 1928 and headed for Southampton, England, Earhart and the two pilots who shared flying duties touched down in the Loughor Estuary, an inlet in south Wales off the Bristol Channel. Locals claim that Earhart opened the window and shouted to shore to ask where they were. The answer came back “Pwll inlet!”
Burry Port, the larger of the two villages, makes a different claim. Since the plane was towed into Burry Port Harbour with Earhart and the pilots still on board, when they stepped out and touched the ground, this is the place, so say the Burry Portians, where the famous aviator actually “landed.”
Both places are keen to hold onto the legitimate claim to Earhart, hoping to attract tourist pounds and dollars. Since she landed in the water, there should be plenty of glory to sprinkle around.
Know Before You Go
The villages are in southern Wales, about 55 miles west of Cardiff. The best way to see the touchdown point is to cycle or walk the Millennium Coastal Track, either east from Burry Port or west from North Dock Llanelli. Bike rental is available at the North Dock. Whichever village you choose, the 13 miles of coastal beauty along the Loughor Estuary has a wide range of tourist attractions, including the off-road cycle track along its length.
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