Winter is upon us. Temperatures are barely above zero and snow is hitting the UK with a vengeance. Gower may have eascaped the worst of the snow but it is bitter cold with biting winds. Yet as Ranulph Fiennes is so famously quoted as saying “there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”.
I am permanently wearing a baselayer, I have some cracking Skins thermal ones and I have broken out my snowboarding clothing. My dog Molly is a hardy little french bulldog cross but even she can’t go out without a coat on at the moment.
Molly as a great waterproof coat with a fake fur collar that almost covers her big ears. It is fleeced too. She cuts quite the dash in it.
It is hard to fit beach walks in at this time of year, as well as the tough weather, there is little light in the day. So when we do get a chance we just stick to our Three Cliffs Bay loop.
It is the most popular walk on this blog, and probably our favourite walk too. It is the “go to” walk when we want to show visitors around. It is 5km and takes in Pennard Castle, Three Cliffs Bay and Pobbles Bay.
I track my walks using Strava, you can see this walk here. I also use an app called Relive that makes 3D aerial videos of your mapped Strava activities. You can see a Relive video of this walk here. It is really useful to plan out walking this yourself if you have never been there before.
Molly and I were lucky, the wind dropped and the whole walk was undertaken in a lovely stillness that is rare on the exposed Gower Coast.
One of the benefits of this time of year is that you do get the beach to yourself.
Though Molly is really only interested in sticks.
There is a rugged beauty to Gower in the winter. I think it is the light and the dramatic skies.
The sand levels change from storm to storm in the winter. This is most noticeable when trying to walk through the cave within Three Cliffs to get to Pobbles Bay. it can vary from a sandy walk, rocky scramble or a couple of jumps over sea water filled pools.
None of which is a bother to Molly, she is an all terrain dog, who takes it all in her stride.
She is happy on the rocks and in the rock pools.
That winter storm sand movement has created some spectacular pools.
But there are still huge expanses of sand on the lower tides, plenty of room for a small dog.
As we walked back up from Pobbles Bay to Pennard we noticed warning signs up about Portuguese Man O War strandings. These aren’t technically jellyfish, but a colony organism that is very similar. Their long tentacles can cause a very painful sting. There have been loads washed up in South West UK this autumn and winter. I know a lot people still out there surfing and I haven’t heard of any incidents, but it can’t harm to be wary of them. As they tend to be on the shoreline, they are more of a hazard to dogs, so keep an eye out for them.
It is always worth getting out and blowing the cobwebs away at this time of year. Here is Molly having one last look at the sea before making our way back to the warm indoors.
It is still a long way to spring, but there are plenty of reasons to get out walking down the beach. Just make sure you wear the right clothes, DimExcuses.