Luck runs out. DimExcuses End of Summer Walk 2017.

The DimExcuses End of Summer Walk is in its ninth year, and this is my 6th time on this epic big Gower walk. We have always been lucky. This 19 mile, 9 hour end of summer ritual has generally been great weather, and our irresponsible approach to never checking the tide times has never stung us too badly…

The start of this years walk was no exception. It hasn’t been the best summer, but as we waited by the bus stop in Killay, to get the first Gower bus to Rhossili, the sun was starting to sneak out.

There were eleven of us on the bus, and we got over the first hurdle of getting the driver to let our massive wolf on! Technically a Husky, German Shepard cross, Oakley is definitely quite dire wolf in appearance.

Arriving at Rhossili we were met with End of Summer Walk first timer Lauren, bringing us up to twelve walkers. Lauren wasn’t the only new feet, we were also joined by Ellie, Ben, Ian, Ffion and Harry, all who had never undertaken this epic effort before. A quick team picture with the famous Rhossili Bay in the background and we were off!

A forced march cross-country taking in the amazing South Gower cliffs and we were soon in Port Eynon.

The fantastic staff at the Captains Table had reserved us a table and bent the breakfast deadline to sort us out with breakfasts of varying size. Obviously I had a big breakfast as it was a big walk. After thoroughly enjoying our breakfasts, it was team photo two, before making the sheltered coastal walk to Oxwich. The weather was fantastic, we couldn’t believe how lucky we were (at this point).

We were soon sitting at the Oxwich Bay Hotel enjoying a pint in the sunshine. At that point friends and relatives were ringing us to say the rain was coming down in sheets in Swansea and heading our way.

We were still in buoyant mood, we could see the rainfall in the distance but we seemed to be skirting past it.

It was at this point we realised that it was almost high tide and Tor Bay was totally cut off by the tide.  This meant we have to do a huge sandy climb over Little Tor. The view was quite spectacular back to Oxwich Bay.

It was then that that rain hit us. Right when we were most exposed on Penmaen Cliffs…

…and we still had the problem that it was high tide at Three Cliffs Bay and we had another hard sandy climb ahead of us. Our luck had well and truly run out. This was the hardest the End of Summer Walk has ever been. I even thought we would not make it to Southgate.

We made it to the Southgate Club like drowned rats. There was talk of abandoning the walk there, but that was quickly dismissed as not the DimExcuses way. The new walkers were some of the most keen to press on to the end! My girlfriend Sharon and our dog Molly came to our rescue bringing some dry clothes to the Southgate Club and taking our drenched ones. Apologies to the football crowd in the Southgate who suddenly had eleven soaking walkers changing around them in the busy pub.

As we changed the weather opened up again and we continued on to Pwll Du Bay before the final climb to Bishopston and the Joiners Arms. Sharon came to our rescue again ferrying people back to their cars in Killay.

Next year we will change the end of the walk to double back to the Gower Inn which is on the bus route back to the cars.

So our luck did finally run out, but we took it in our stride and completed the ninth DimExcuses End of Summer Walk.  A full gallery of images is below. Next year is the tenth anniversary walk, so you need to be on it with us, DimExcuses.

 

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It is a big walk in Gower. DimExcuses end of summer walk 2016.

DimExcuses End of Summer Walk

“Let’s make one thing clear” Darren Green informed our small group in a windy Rhossili car park, “it is the DimExcuses end of summer walk, always has been and always will be” referring to our traditional September walk now in its seventh year. “A big Gower walk it maybe, but that is note its name”. I stand corrected.

DimExcuses Gower Walk

The DimExcuses end of summer walk is a nine hour, 17 to 19 mile walk (dependent on the tide) from Rhossili Bay along the South Gower Coast to the village of Bishopston. It takes in the South Gower bays of Rhossili, Fall Bay, Mewslade, Port Eynon, Horton, Slade, Oxwich, Tor Bay, Three Cliffs, Pobbles, Heatherslade, Hunts Bay and Pwll Du. You get to see it all, you will definitely find your epic as the hours and miles mount up.

DimExcuses Gower

You can see pictures from previous years by clicking the dates below.

2013 pictures, 2014 Pictures, 2015 pictures.

This year we were a small contingent, made up of founding members Darren Green and Paul Jones, regular walker Ade Price, myself and the new feet of Chris Bidder and Rachel Bidder. As always we start off on the first bus out of Swansea into Gower.

First bus out of Swansea to Gower

Arriving in a windy and cloudy Rhossili it is a obligatory group selfie before going cross country to get a full fry up in Port Eynon.

DimExcuses End of Summer Walk

It was certainly a windy one.

Windy Gower Walk

There is always something new every year on the end of summer walk and this year it was the breakfast. We have always loved the Captains Table cafe in Port Eynon, trying to stop there each year for a fine breakfast. This year it is in new hands and the breakfast was outstanding. The Captains Table (facebook page here) does a range of breakfasts, small, large, veggie small, veggie large and the almighty Captain’s Breakfast. We all had a Captain’s Breakfast, setting a record for the most Captain’s Breakfast ordered in one go, DimExcuses.

Captain's Breakfast Port Eynon

Now powered by a Captain’s Breakfast we head off under the clouds along the Wales Coast Path to Oxwich. Sometimes it was a straight and narrow path,  a very narrow path.

Gower the straight and narrow path

We passed another group using a map. No maps for us, just keep the sea to your right. That seemed to work as we successfully got to Oxwich. A quick pint of Gower Gold to wash away the remains of that breakfast and then we were off across the beach.

Apint of Gower Gold at Oxwich

The beach was quickly followed by a climb over Great Tor to Three Cliffs.

Climbing Great Tor

The tide was in so we had to climb over Three Cliffs too.

Three Cliffs DimExcuses Walk

From Three Cliffs it was a walk to the South Gate Club for some more Gower Gold before the final leg through Pwll Du Bay and finishing in The Joiners Arms in Bishopston for several pints of Three Cliffs Gold.

No map, no compass

With weary feet and big smiles we finished the epic walk and narrowly avoided the heavy rain. You can see all the photos from our adventure in the gallery below. We are all looking forward to the DimExcuses end of summer walk next year. You should come, DimExcuses.

The Usual Suspects. DimExcuses Big Gower Walk 2015.

DimExcuses Big Gower Walk

It has taken me a month to get these photos up. Every September we take the first Gower bus to Rhossili Bay, and then walk 19 miles on the South Gower coast to the finish in Bishopston. It is like a end of summer ritual, and it is great to see all the usual suspects on the bus each year.

Gower Bus

The starting line up for the DimExcuses Big Gower Walk 2015.

DimExcuses Usual Suspects

You can read about the DimExcuses Big Gower Walk, 2013 by clicking here.

And the following years’ DimExcuses Big Gower Walk, 2014 by clicking here.

Big Dogs

Starting in Rhossili the sun was low and Rhossili Down cast a long shadow across the bay. A lovely wave coming in too.

Morning Gower Sun

A quick toilet stop, and we head off across the fields towards Port Eynon, soaking up the morning dew in our running trainers. This distance is a bit far for hiking boots. Unless you are really used to your boots, blisters are inevitable. I also advise having two changes of socks.

DimExcuses Dire Wolves

The dew wasn’t a problem for Huw and Sarah in their Gortex Trail Shoes. They also brought their massive Dire Wolves straight out of Game of Thrones.

The Wolves

We were lucky with some lovely sun all day. By the time we powered in Port Eynon the sun had burned away the early morning mist.

Port Eynon bound

An essential full cooked breakfast stop at Port Eynon and then it was back onto the Wales Coast Path.

Wales Coast Path

Making our way to Oxwich Bay along the Gower Coast. It wasn’t long before we were in the Oxwich Bay Hotel, checking in with family and picking up some more walkers.

Oxwich

We waved good bye to Huw, Sarah and the Wolf Pack at Oxwich, and gained Tony and his dog Ness. Of course we also picked up Molly the French Bulldog.

Molly on the Big Gower Walk

It was only a matter of time before Molly was at the front, giving advice as we approached Three Cliffs Bay as she knows it so well.

DimExcuses Walk

This is a fantastic walk, and the huge Oxwich Bay section just has to be barefoot all the way in the Gower seawater.

Ade on the Gower Walk

That Oxwich Bay walk seems to go on forever.

Oxwich Bay Walk

The tide was out at Great Tor for once, so we were just able to splash around it and into Three Cliffs Bay itself.

Splashing around Great Tor, Gower

From Three Cliffs it was a short walk into Pobbles Bay. Molly never more at home than when she is in Pobbles Bay, but a herd of cows on Three Cliffs was a new one even for her!

Cows at Pobbles Bay, Gower

A quick liquid refreshment stop at the Southgate Club and then it was onto the final section of Pennard Cliffs and down into Pwll Du Bay.

Pennard Cliffs

By this point we have seen nearly all the South Gower Coast and its great Bays.

Wales Coast Path Pwll Du

We are a weary bunch at this point, before the final finishing leg.

DimExcuses Walk

But once out of Pwll Du, we arrive in Bishopston and the finish at the Joiners Arms. Good thing the Joiners is a micro brewery, because we deserve a pint of Three Cliffs Gold after nine hours and 19 miles walking.

DimExcuses Walk Finish, the Joiners Arms

Another year gone, another summer ended, the seventh Big Gower Walk completed. I expect to see you all there next year, DimExcuses.