StormWatch. The calm between Storm Gertrude and Storm Henry. Langland to Caswell Bay, January 2016.

Path from Langland to Caswell

No sooner than we have taken a battering from Storm Gertrude and Storm Henry is on the way. The Met. Office is naming all the UK storms this winter and the list is already decided. The list is alphabetical and alternates boy girl, like the seating plan in my old GCSE Chemistry class back in the day at Bishopston Comprehensive.

StormWatch

The list of 2015 / 2016 UK winter storm names are:

  • Abigail
  • Barney
  • Clodagh
  • Desmond
  • Eva
  • Frank
  • Gertrude
  • Henry
  • Imogen
  • Jake
  • Katie
  • Lawrence
  • Mary
  • Nigel
  • Orla
  • Phil
  • Rhonda
  • Steve
  • Tegan
  • Vernon
  • Wendy

So this weekend Storm Gertrude had finally past us and we heard Storm Henry was on the way. Taking advantage of the calm between the storms Molly my Frenchton and I decided to get down Langland Bay and walk the Wales Coastal Path to Caswell Bay, to maintain our Gower StormWatch and check out the post storm surf.

Rotherslade Bay

Firstly we entered Rothersalde Bay (slightly east of Langland) as the tide was falling as can be seen above. We could just about make it around to Langland Bay as the tide fell but it required some rock scrambling.

Molly StormWatch Langland

In Langland itself the surf was pumping in and the surfers were making their way in. You can see why it is Gower’s premier surfing beach.

Surfers Langland, Gower

Through the surf was large the conditions were good and waves quite clean so the SUP (Stand Up Paddleboards) guys were going in too.

SUP Langland Bay

The walk around to Caswell Bay was equally impressive in the post storm conditions.

Storm Gertrude Surf Caswell

It was a fantastic day for a walk, Molly and I racked up 7.5 km walking in the end. With this endless rain and storm after storm you have to make the most of the calm between the storms and get out there, DimExcuses.

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StormWatch. The Pebbles only Winter sees. Pobbles Bay, January 2016.

StormWatch Pobbles

January maybe a bit of a cold wash out, but that doesn’t stop me and Molly the French Bulldog from getting down the Gower beaches. We are maintaining our StormWatch and observing how climate change is effecting the Welsh Coast.

StormWatch Three Clffs

Last time we were checking out the big surf at Langland Bay, today we were further down the Gower coast at Pobbles Bay. Pobbles is the small bay before the famous Three Cliffs Bay, and you can see Three Cliffs in the picture above. From this angle it doesn’t look too unusual at Pobbles Bay, but if you walk down there today you have a striking view in front of you as you reach the entrance to the beach. See if you can spot Molly among the pebbles.

Storm Erosion Pobbles Bay

The pebble storm beach at the top of the beach is at least twice the size it should be with many pebbles exposed by storm erosion. These are pebbles that are never seen in the summer buried by several feet of sand.  This large section of exposed rocks is making it difficult to get on to Pobbles beach itself. I saw two horse riders really struggling to get their horses across this hazardous stretch of pebbles.

Storm exposed cave Pobbles

In the coves and caves the sand lost is very clear and the pebble beds that only winter sees are clearly on display.

Find the Ball

Note the metre of bare rock with no barnacles at the bottom these cave sides showing where the sand level would normally be. Molly was having a proper investigation, and the pebble caves make for a challenging of game fetch the ball. Especially as there are now some sizable rock pools in those caves.

StormWatch Rock Pooling

But Molly always gets her ball.

Rock Pool French Bulldog

Always keep your eye on the ball…

Eye on the Ball, DimExcuses

…unless you can touch your nose with your tongue.

Touch your Tongue with your Nose

We explored all the caves in Pobbles Bay, seeing a lot of bare rock you wouldn’t normally see at other times of the year.

StormWatch Pobbles Bay January 2016

This is the furthest east in Pobbles Bay.

Pobbles Bay

And here is looking back at Three Cliffs.

StormWatch Three Cliffs

And finally another look at those impressive caves exposed by winter storm erosion.

Storm Erosion Caves

It is really impressive seeing how much sand is moved around by storms and the seasons, and with it only being January there is still plenty of winter left for Molly and I to continue with our StormWatch observations, DimExcuses.

 

Stormwatch. After the wind drops the surf rises up. Langland / Caswell 2nd January 2016.

StormWatch Langland

Rain, rain and more rain as storm after storm hits the UK and temperatures refuse to drop to anyway near average temperatures for this time of year. Coupled with high winds the weather has not been good for getting out and about in South Wales.  As always I have been on the StormWatch, especially on the DimExcuses Christmas Coastal Walk earlier in the week when I saw Caswell Bay had yet again got a bit of a hammering. Nothing like when Caswell  was devastated in January 2014,  thankfully the storm protection measures put in since then seem to be holding up.

DimExcuses Surf Langland

But yesterday (the second day in January 2016) was a respite from the recent storm generated wind and rain. Spotting a good few hours of decent weather Sharon, Molly and I headed down to Rotherslade Bay, to walk around to Langland and Caswell Bay. You can follow our route on Strava here.  Before we had even left the car, we could see that the massive storm swell was still here, but now with no wind to spoil those big peaks and they were coming into Langland in beautiful massive straight lines.

StormWatch Caswell

Caswell Bay was no different with plenty of surfers in the water due to the above average temperatures. There was a 10 degree air temperature which matched the 10 degree water temperature. The sun even came out for a bit and with no wind it felt more like 13 or 14 degrees.  The beach at Caswell looked more like late autumn or early spring with families playing games and having BBQs. There were people in short sleeves, some in shorts, and even some bare foot walkers dipping their toes in.

Mild Winter on Gower 2016

It really is quite worrying. I recall Halloween 2008 when it was barely over 2 degrees for that last week in October and the Halloween night itself. Or there was the freezing winter of 2010 when it did not go over zero degrees on Christmas Day, and it wasn’t until March that we got temperatures even approaching 9 degrees. This winter we have only seen one frost and temperatures barely left double figures throughout December.

Storm Surf Langland Gower

By mid afternoon the word was out, GowerLive was posting some impressive video and surfers were coming down in droves. Langland was looking really busy with a full line up scrabbling for their go at the straight lines. A great afternoon and the 7km walk was just what was needed for Molly the French Bulldog who has been going stir crazy in this poor weather. With more storms forecast we will be continuing to keep up our StormWatch, watch this space, DimExcuses.

A New Tradition, The DimExcuses Christmas Coastal Walk, December 2015.

Pwll Du, DimExcuses Christmas Walk

Happy new year! This is my forth year of blogging and sharing my enthusiasm for getting out and about in Wales and further a field.

Rotherslade Bay

Our DimExcuses Big Gower Walk in September is now a strong tradition, you can read about this year’s walk here. But I felt that we needed something similar for the winter holidays. Yet that brings challenges in terms of shorter days, wetter and colder weather. Challenges that Molly and Darren were happy to take on as we headed to our first Gower beach, Pwll Du.

Spot the Bulldog, Pwll Du

We chose the Monday Bank Holiday (28/12/15), and started where we finish the DimExcuses Big Gower Walk at the Joiners Arms in Bishopston, Gower. From there it is a short walk to Pwll Du Bay. Setting off at 2 pm we had about two and a half hours of light before the winter sun set.

The Usual DimExcuses Suspects, Pwll Du to Brandy Cove

The weather has been so wet lately that we had all got new waterproofs and planned for the worst. On the bright side this winter has been very mild. Very, very mild and very wet, from a climate change point of view it is extremely concerning. So far this winter we have had only one frost. From a DimExcuses walkers point of view at least it wasn’t going to be cold.

Darren & Paul, DimExcuses Christmas Walk

Miraculously the rain held off for the whole walk, but it was windy! A strong wind blowing the Christmas cobwebs away. Wind in our faces we went from Pwll Du, around to Brandy Cove.

Brandy Cove

From Brandy Cove we continued on the Wales Coast Path to Caswell Bay. At Caswell Bay it was clear that the recent winter storms had taken their toll with bricks from the sea front strewn across the beach entrance.

StormWatch Caswell

Caswell allowed us a quick comfort break, before we pressed on against the setting sun towards Langland and Rotherslade Bay.

Langland Bay DimExcuses

From Langland and Rotherslade there was just one last home stretch of the Wales Coastal Path to walk around to Limeslade and Bracelet Bay.

Rotherslade Bay DimExcuses

The light was now fading and we were relying on street lights as we finished the walk in the village of Mumbles. It was then just a case of finding a (bull) dog friendly pub and having a real ale and tall stories with friends old and new. The Park was happy to accommodate us and even lit the fireplace to warm up us weary walkers.

Laughs by the Pub Fire

A great success and now a new tradition, we will be undertaking the DimExcuses Christmas Coastal Walk again next year. You should come, DimExcuses.