Autumn Sunset & Surf. Pobbles Bay, Gower, September 2015.

Molly Pobbles

The evening sunlight is still with us as we head into Autumn. After today’s rain Molly the French Bulldog and I took advantage of the early evening sun to head to Pobbles Bay, Gower to see the surf and sunset.

Sunset & Surf Pobbles

Cross shore to offshore winds were creating a beautiful wave if small wave curling into the Bay, and Molly was enjoying the evening Sun.

Molly Pobbles

Long shadows and low sun.

Molly, Long Shadows

Obviously some fetch with the ball.

Sunset Fetch

As the evenings draw in, walks like this are going to become less likely, but what a great way to see Autumn in, sunset at Pobbles Bay, Gower.

Sunset Bulldog

This is my 100th blog post and it is fitting it is a bulldog walk at Molly and my favorite beach, Pobbles, DimExcuses.

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Pwll Du Bay, Gower. DimExcuses Beach Guide

Pwll Du

This secret South Gower beach is a locals’ favorite. In a picturesque secluded cove the beach is dominated by its huge storm beach of limestone pebbles. There have been many Pwll Du Posts on this blog.

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Pwll Du Bay is quite difficult to find and walk to. It does not have good access and isn’t suitable for wheelchairs or children’s buggies, yet the people who live in the white cottages still get down there in their land-rovers. It is great for a family day out, but take what you need as there are no facilities of any kind.

Molly Climbing

Nestled along the All Wales Coastal Path, Pwll Du can be found between Brandy Cove and Hunts Bay, when travelling west from Caswell, Langland and Mumbles.

Pwll Du Molly

It can be accessed from East Cliff in Pennard and through Bishopston Valley via Pennard Church or the ford under St. Teilo’s church in Kittle. All those routes are difficult to follow and long, with the potential for getting lost. The best way to get there is to park off Pyle Corner in Bishopston (Grid Ref: SS580882). This is a residential area, so please park respectfully (Postcode SA3 3HA). There is also a bus from the Quadrant in Swansea to Pennard that stops in Bishopston.

Darth Mannion Pwll Du

There is a good twenty minute walk down Pwll Du Lane to get to Pwll Du Head. Do not try and drive down there, it is a dead end with no parking and barely any turning.

Brandy Cove to Caswell Bay

There is a great view from Pwll Du Head over both Pwll Du and Brandy Cove. There is then a rocky lane down to the beach.

Pwll Du Ford

The beach itself can be accessed by crossing the ford or taking the bridge and entering the beach between the two houses.  The river they cross is the bravest river run in the Darth Mannion Beach & River Challenge.

River Run

As well as being a river run, Pwll Du is also perfect for sensible running or a proper good old fashioned Gower walk.  It is a haven for boats in the summer, and people stay the afternoon on the sand after coming in from boats moored in the bay.

Pwll Du Beach

It is very sheltered and a real suntrap on a sunny day. A real gem hidden on the South Gower coast. A definite essential Gower visit next time the sun is out, DimExcuses.

The Celtic French Connection. DimExcuses Surf, Quiberon, Brittany, France, July 2014.

Quiberon

Last year we had our first DimExcuses surf trip outside the UK, visiting Brittany in France. You can read my blog about that here. We had such a good time we went back this year, but this time basing ourselves on the Quiberon Peninsular, just 5 minutes away from the Cote Savage where we enjoyed surfing last year.

The savage coast

 

We choose a Flowers campsite, L’Ocean that was perfect for us. A fantastic Breton campsite, we were the only English speakers.  The DimExcuse T5 VW Surf Bus with the GB sticker did make us stand out quite a bit in the campsite but everyone was really welcoming.

West Coast Quiberon, Cote Savage

There are two main surf beaches on the Cote Savage and we mainly surfed the most northern one which is accessed by a short walk from a free car park. The first thing I learnt was that the break can only be surfed on the lower half of the tide. At high tide the beach is too steep for a ride-able wave. This means that you can have half the day surfing and half a day exploring. Just make sure you get a tide time table.

A tale of two coasts.

There is no need to leave the Quiberon Peninsular, there are lots of villages to explore with traditional cafes and bars. The west side of the peninsular has the Atlantic Ocean pounding against it, with Cote Savage in the north and the main Quiberon town beach in the south. The east of peninsular is sheltered from the Atlantic so has crystal clean and calm bays in which to swim and snorkel when the tide is too high to surf.

Calm Bays

Breton people are very friendly and have a Celtic tradition that isn’t too dissimilar to the Welsh. There is many a Celtic connection, with the two languages sharing several words. Bars often have Ty in their name which is Welsh for house.

Sunset Portivy

Here is a gallery of photos from our trip, you can click on the images to enlarge them. DimExcuses surf, stuff & nonsense from Quiberon, Brittany, France.

Gower Winter (Bulldog) Walks – Pwll Du February 2014

Pwll Du Winter Waves

Rain, wind, storms, super swells and high tides, Gower has had it all this winter.  Yet there are no excuses not to get out and about, especially as the the days are getting longer and the weather is improving.  Therefore Molly (the french bulldog cross) and I decided to walk down one South Gower’s wilder beaches Pwll Du.

Pwll Du Winter Waves

It was a bit of a muddy walk before we got onto the rocky road down to the beach. The recent daisy chain of storm after storm has produced some powerful swells and robbed the bays of much of their sand.  Pwll Du today was no exception.  Even Molly had to have a peak over the path to see what was making all that noise as the waves pumped in and crashed on the pebbles.

Pwll Du Molly

So we quickly headed down the path to investigate further.

Molly Surf Dog

Pwll Du is a much steeper bay than most South Gower beaches and is known for its imposing pebble storm beach that is much larger than it should be due to limestone quarrying in the past.

Storm Beach Molly

It also has a sandy beach in summer, but the winter storms have removed much of that for the moment.

Pwll Du

There is a powerful river that runs down Bishopston Valley and blasts its way out of the pebble storm beach.  But seeing as storm beaches are made by storms, there is a much more formidable pebble wall at the top of the beach than normal, and the river is struggling to get through, much to Molly’s interest.

Molly looking at Pwll Du River

But it won’t be long before nature allows this river to re-establish itself on its way to the sea.  It is already starting to make a good effort to do so.

Pwll Du River

Large amounts of pebbles were falling out of the rivers way even in the short time that Molly and I looked on.

Molly on the pebbles.

We took one last look at the bay before making the climb back to Bishopston.

Pwll Du

As Molly demonstrates there are some quite unforgiving steps on the climb out of Pwll Du Bay.

Molly Climbing

We certainly made the most of a rather grey February day, make sure you make the most of yours too, DimExcuses.

Puppy Molly at Pobbles Bay November 2013

Molly

My last two blog entries have been well received.  The first was about our new French bulldog puppy Molly and the second was the fantastic Pobbles Bay Gower, in all its autumn glory.  So I thought why not combine the two.  Puppy meet Pobbles, Pobbles meet Puppy.

Three Cliffs Bay

With the tide going out it was a great opportunity for Molly to run on the beach.  Molly also brought her friend Eddie.  Here is a puppy’s eye view of the sea and Eddie.

Molly looks out

Molly certainly likes the beach.

Molly

And Pobbles is great Gower beach with fantastic views across Three Cliffs Bay. Eddie was braving the sea, but Molly wasn’t going that far.

Fun in the sea

We pretty much had the whole bay to ourselves with the majestic Three Cliffs themselves in the background.

Three Cliffs

There was a moody little autumn wave in the bay too.

Three Cliffs Bay

A great day, followed by Sunday Lunch in the Valley Pub, Bishopston. What a good way to end November, lots more of Molly exploring Gower in December and 2014. DimExcuses.

Photographs of Three Cliffs and Pobbles Bay. November 2013

Pobbles Bay

I saw some awesome photographs of Pobbles Bay with some epic surf rolling in last weekend.  They were put on twitter by photographer Carolyn Seager @seagerworld , who has a website here.  I know Pobbles well, I grew up in Pennard and considered it my home beach.  I learnt to surf there, and spent far too many hours dropping into steep, but small close out waves.  It taught me a lot.  Before I could drive I would walk the couple of miles from home to surf whatever surf was there.  There wasn’t much. Which was why it was so great to see the great waves pounding into the bay in Carolyn’s photographs.

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The pictures inspired me to get down the bay today.  It is amazing how we don’t visit what is on our doorstep or neglect to visit the places we are most connected with.

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To get to Pobbles you can follow the directions in my previous blog, which will take you first past Pennard Castle and above Three Cliffs Bay.

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Dropping into the valley you soon see why it is called Three Cliffs Bay.  Here are the cliffs behind this little pile of limestone pebbles someone built.

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I have written before about the fame of Three Cliffs Bay, its claim to be the most photographed and painted view in the UK, and its importance within Britain’s First Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB).  But today was all about Pobbles, the little bay that is formed when it is cut off by the tide from the rest of Three Cliffs Bay. It is cut off by the cliffs themselves, and to get to it you have to pass through the cave, which brings you onto the sands of Pobbles Bay.

Pobbles Sand

Here is Pobbles Bay, still looking great in the Autumn cloud and shade.

Pobbles

This is more reflective of the size of surf you will see at Pobbles Bay.  Small but great shape on it today.

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It is a great place and a great Gower walk.  Here is one final shot of Three Cliffs.

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So here endeth the lesson, don’t miss what is on your doorstep, and don’t forget to revisit the places you know best.  DimExcuses.

Moody Autumn 2013. Photos of stormy Langland Bay, Gower.

Signpost Langland

With the Autumn weather and a few storms turning up I have found my walking restricted to Langland Bay which is a great all weather walk. These photos come from two visits, and on the second visit I was joined by Winnie the Bulldog.  You can read all about how to walk at Langland from my previous Gower Walking blog post. Here is Winnie looking more fierce than the storm.

Winnie

Here are the moody calm before the storm shots.

Calm before the storm

I think Gower in the bad weather is sometimes more spectacular than when it is in the sun.

Langland

The deep black Sea.

Langland Head

Then the storm came in.  This surfer contemplates the massive surf.

Surfer

Winnie decides to go and give the surfer some big wave surfing pointers…

Winnie surf coaching

…and bites off a bit more than she can chew.

Wet Winnie

One wet bulldog, caught by one of the set waves.  Finally here is me and Winnie, getting out what ever the weather, DimExcuses.

DimExcuses

You don’t have to walk tall around here, but you do have to stand up. SUP Newgale August 2013

Newgale

Finally this is the last of my blogging backlog from the summer.  You may have read in my earlier post that we did dabble with Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) last time we were in Newgale.  Well this time we had a flat patch with no surf.  Oli in the Big Blue Experience Shop had been keeping us up to date with the surf reports as we had no phone reception, pop in and see him in the shop next time you are in Newgale.  So with the knowledge there was little surf for a couple of days we rented a SUP.

DimExcuses SUP

This was my first real chance to have a proper DimExcuses go at SUP.  They are big old things, much bigger than surfboards and much more buoyant.  I suppose they have to be if you are going to stand on the things. First thing to say with SUP is they require dynamic (moving) balance, and as any sports science student will tell you that works muscle, in the SUP’s case thigh muscle.  Not my biggest muscle, which lead to much sideways wobble and a regular visit to Davey Jones.  As demonstrated here by Sharon Halpin, Splash!

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Now you quickly realise that falling on the board is worse than falling clear of it.  So at the first sign of falling backwards I developed the Flintstones leg dash, quickly running the board under you backwards for an ineloquent back flop.  But in the calm conditions you soon get the hang of paddling about and it is a great way to wander around the bay.  You certainly get some attention too, mainly in anticipation of you coming off.

DimExcuses SUP 2

This is what it is all about, picture perfect SUP cruising in wild west Wales.

SUP Cruise

The second day saw some choppy surf coming and the SUP experience got a lot trickier, thought I would say the learning curve is rapid and the boards are great fun.  I adopted a kneeling approach to get outside the surf zone.

Kneeling SUP

Once outback I was able to stand up but with a lot more wobble in the chop.  I was soon chasing waves…

…and nearly got one!  Great fun, I can really see why SUP is so popular these days.  If you want to learn more about SUP there is a great blog about the journey from beginner to fanatic at staceylovessup, have a read. As well as keeping you up to date with the surf report, Big Blue Experience can sort you out with SUP rental and lessons, so why not give them a shout next time you are in wild west Wales and have a go? Like I said ‘you don’t have to walk tall around here, but you do have to stand up’. DimExcuses! So all that leaves is this one last Newgale beach shot.

Pebbles

The best of the rest from west Wales. Summer 2013

St. Martin's Haven

It is well and truly autumn, and I still have two blog entries left over from the summer. My postings this year could be criticized for being Newgale-centric when in wild west Wales.  I did actually get out and about a bit more this summer, so here is the DimExcuses best of the rest from wild west Wales. Firstly above is St. Martin’s Haven near Marloes, the featured image at the top of the page is Dale, and below is another shot of Dale.

Dale

Here is the beautiful St. Bride’s Bay.

St. Brides Bay

…and finally I do have two shots of Newgale, I had to squeeze them in.

Newgale bay

…this last one is sort of the sunset on Summer 2013.

Sunset Newgale

The only thing left from summer 2013 is some stand up paddle board (SUP) photos, I will post them soon.  Right I am off on my first Gower autumn walk, DimExcuses.