Stop, Eject, Reset. Pwll Du Bay, Gower 2nd July 2016.

Stop, eject, reset. Pwll Du

There is only so much negativity you can take, until you just have to press stop, eject the program and just reset yourself by getting out in the sun and down the beach.

Pwll Du

So with the sun shining on the first weekend of July 2016, Molly, the french bulldog and I headed out down Pwll Du Bay, Gower to get some photos to cheer everyone up.

Molly Brandy Cove

We went the cliff route out to Brandy Cove, and then along the Wales Coast path back to Pwll Du. This gave us a great view of Caswell Bay.

Brandy Cove to Caswell Bay

Molly was really enjoying the Cliff Path, stopping for a drink in the the cattle’s water bath.

Molly stops for a drink

We spent some time of the beach among the pebbles and the waves.

Pwll Du Bay, Gower July 2016

With all that sun and sea, I did feel totally reset. The full gallery is below. Stop, eject and reset by having a look through, DimExcuses.

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Gower business as usual. Three Cliffs Bay, April 2016.

Three Cliffs Walk

I should have posted these pictures ages ago. It has been a busy spring, between work, selfie benches and unseasonable weather followed by a fantastic start to June, I haven’t been out and about like normal.  But don’t think Molly the french bulldog and I didn’t get out in April and May.

Three Cliffs Splash

We still managed to do our famous Three Cliffs Bay Circular Walk, on a few occasions. These pictures are from the end of April.

Walking Three Cliffs

The Spring weather wasn’t doing us any favors at all but Three Cliffs still looked great. Back to business as usual, we started off at Pennard and headed out around the golf course to Pennard Castle.

Pennard Castle April 2016

The tide was out so we could take the steep sand dune down to Three Cliffs Valley. It is a steep sandy decent made famous in the Darth Mannion extreme running challenge.

Pennard Castle down to Three Cliffs Valley

Taking the boardwalk down the valley, alongside the river to Three Cliffs Bay itself.

Ilston Pil

The biggest news from Three Cliffs is that it now has a lifeguard station after a drowning last year. This is a very dangerous beach to swim due to the strong river that continues to run even after the tide has come in. The station is very subtle and doesn’t impact on the UK’s first area of outstanding natural beauty. Can you spot the Lifeguard hut in this photo?

Lifeguard Station Three Cliffs April 2016

Once you have found the lifeguard hut, have a look for these passing planes I photographed from the valley too.

Swansea Air Show

New lifeguards and passing airshow planes aside, it was definitely back to business as usual in our Gower walking.

Three Cliffs Bay April 2016

As always Molly the French bulldog was first up the rocks…

Three Cliffs April 2016

…and first back on the sand.

Molly Three Cliffs

Moving into Pobbles Bay we could see clearly all the way to Oxwich Bay.

Pobbles Bay view to Three Cliffs

We had the usual fetch in the rock pools.

Rockpools Pobbles April 2016

Before inspecting the bluebells on the way home.

Bluebells Pobbles April 2016

So that was Gower April 2016, business as usual. I promise to keep on top of posting in June, especially as we enter Summer sirf season, DimExcuses.

#SelfieBench, the true guilty party exposed!

#SelfieBench

Whether you think it is facebook fantastic or instagram insanity, Porthcawl having the world’s first #SelfieBench has divided opinion and caught the attention of the world’s press and social media commentators.

Selfie Bench

Let’s start with three disclaimers: Firstly these are my own opinions and do not represent the views of Bridgend County Borough Council in any way. Secondly the DimExcuses blog could never be accused of topical investigative journalism, so don’t expect any shocking revelations here. Read the home page where I admit this is stuff and nonsense from wild west Wales. Thirdly that isn’t my best side in the #SelfieBench selfie above.

Resting those feet.

Now, in defense of the bench. Ten years of working with street furniture makes me look at this bench in a very practical way. Consideration of bench installation is often for the frail or those with mobility issues that see these benches as a much needed rest when walking a community route like this. Often facing the road as waiting places for lifts from relatives. Many benches are orientated like this, and you have probably never noticed them like this old bench in Gowerton. Nowhere near the quality of bench that Porthcawl’s #SelfieBench is.

Nothing to see here, not #SelfieBench

Don’t blame the bench, the true guilty party here is the breath taking South Wales coast, being so beautiful and at the same rugged that orientating anything around it so that it is not facing this inspiring vista is seen as wrong. And this little bench has been seen as wrong and faced ridicule. Yet in my opinion the true criminal is this view below.

Selfie Bench view, Porthcawl

But I am not the only defender of the bench, people in the tourism know in Porthcawl have revealed that this is world leading design, and heralded the World’s first selfie bench, or #SelfieBench in our modern social media world.

Doing #SelfieBench wrong.

The eyes of the press have been on #SelfieBench all day and it has been trending on social media. It even has its own outside broadcast team!

#SelfieBench Media

So without further a do, lets get that perfect #SelfieBench #selfie!

#SelfieBench #Selfie

Definitely better than that first effort.

Facing the wrong way.

So get down Porthcawl seafront and get your #SelfieBench photo with that true criminal the breathtaking Bridgend coast in the background, DimExcuses.

 

Three Cliffs Bay, Mother’s Day 2016

Molly Three Cliffs Bay

With a disappointing start to spring and generally cold weather, it was nice to have a cracking dry day for Mothering Sunday.

Three Cliffs Bay

I hope you made the most of your Mother’s Day. We got out down Three Cliffs Bay on me and Molly’s famous circular walk. You can see our route on strava here. At Pennard Castle we had to take the classic photo of the valley above, and with the tide out we could drop down into the valley. The steep slope is really challenging at the moment and I don’t envy the Darth Mannion Race Runners running down it next week!

Three Cliffs River (Illston Pill)

Once in the valley it is easy to walk along the board walk to Three Cliffs Bay itself.

Spring Three Cliffs

Though recent storms have eroded the sand and left many stones exposed so it is not that easy to walk along the river once in the bay.

Three Cliffs Cave

Getting through Three Cliffs Cave was particularly challenging.

Molly, Rocky and Sadie at Three Cliffs Bay.

You can see the sand erosion in the picture above. Molly was having a good nose around and was joined by her friends Rocky and Sadie. It was quite brisk at five degrees with a slight wind, but still a lovely day to get out, I hope you did too, DimExcuses.

Three Cliffs Bay Circular Walk from National Trust Car Park.

Three Cliffs Bay

Three Cliffs Bay has to be at the top of any must see beach list. Possibly only topped in Gower by Rhossili Bay, which has once again been named as TripAdvisor best beach in Wales this month. Three Cliffs Bay is often featured in this blog and Molly the French Bulldog and I have a regular walk there via Pennard Castle.

Pennard Cliffs Bulldog

As regularly as Three Cliffs Bay is featured in this blog it is rare to see it from this angle. This is due to me joining the National Trust since it bought Rhossili Bay Car Park.

Low tide Three Cliffs

Being a member of the National Trust entitles you to use all their car parks for free. Not only do the National Trust have that great car park in Rhossili they also have a car park on Pennard Cliffs to the east of Three Cliffs right in the middle of the South Gower Coast.

Spot the bulldog

The National Trust Car Park on Pennard Cliffs is a great base for walking and exploring the Gower, with Hunts Bay really close by and Pwll Du Bay an option for someone looking for a longer walk. But its greatest attraction is that it is the easiest way to see Three Cliffs Bay by taking a short flat walk along Pennard Cliffs. Molly loves it on those cliffs, try and spot the small french bulldog in the above picture.

Molly on Pennard Cliffs

The cliffs are unfenced and have quite serious drops to the sea below so it maybe a good idea to keep children and more unpredictable dogs well away from the cliff edge. Luckily there are plenty of safe paths in land from the cliff edge to get you safely above Pobbles Bay and looking out across Three Cliffs Bay itself. As part of our ongoing #StormWatch Molly and I noted that the storm sand erosion at the mouth of Pobbles Bay is still very evident with it being of almost entirely exposed pebbles. This is causing some access problems as I noted when we last visited Pobbles Bay.

Storm Erosion Pobbles Bay

Now at this point you can just turn around and retrace your steps back along the flat Pennard Cliffs or you can drop down into Pobbles Bay and get onto the beach, but remember that what goes down must eventually climb back up. Undeterred by that Molly and I were straight down there with our feet in the sand.

Beach Bulldog

You can see all of Pobbles Bay and adjoining Three Cliffs Bay once you are on the beach. To make this a nice circular walk back to the National Trust Car Park you can walk up from Pobbles Bay to Pennard Golf Club and back through the village of Southgate. You can see the route we took on Strava here.

Three Cliffs Circular Walk

It is a great walk with fantastic views of Three Cliffs Bay. It is a good winter walk that you can do in all weathers, watch the cliff edge in high winds though.  You should try it, DimExcuses.

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.

 

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.

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.

A return to Gower, Friday Night Bulldog & Beach Club.

 

I have had a several week hiatus from my normal Gower adventures, and Molly my French Bulldog, Boston Terrier Cross, is looking under weight from two weeks in kennels, for reasons I will explain in further posts this week.

Pobbles Friday Night

So to get us back on track, we made the most of the start of autumn and headed to our favourite Beach Pobbles to blow the cobwebs off.

Bulldog & Beach Club

The views were fantastic as always. We had the wild Beach to ourselves and Molly certainly made the most of it.

Friday Night Bulldog & Beach Club

Friday night fetch, DimExcuses style.

Friday Night Fetch

Molly was up on the cliffs as much as she was on the Beach, back to her old self.

Molly DimExcuses

So a return to service as usual, a Friday night of bulldogs and beaches,  and a good few blog posts to come this month, DimExcuses.

Summer Finally Arrives in Gower. Pobbles Bay, 10th June 2015.

View of Three Cliffs from Pobbles Bay

After a poor start to June summer has finally shown up. Sharon, Molly and I are on annual leave so we were lucky enough to get down Pobbles Bay, which was shining in the sun and enjoying a little surf on high tide. It was very different to when I took photos the last time I was here on high tide, which was on a spring evening.

Pobbles High Tide

Molly was enjoying the sun and climbing all over rocks, having a good look at the sea. The water was spectacularly clear.

Molly on the Rocks

She has no fear on the limestone cliffs…

Bulldog on the Rocks

…and is equally at home in the sea.

Swimming French Bulldog

Whatever it takes to get her ball.

Water Ball

Another successful fetch.

Fetch

The west cliffs of Pobbles Bay give you a very different perspective on the famous three cliffs of Three Cliffs Bay.

Three Cliffs

Molly was having a good look.

Three Cliffs Bulldog

She spotted these to kayakers making the most of the high tide in the sun. What a spectacular place for a paddle under the three cliffs.

Kayak Watch

Molly and I got a quick AONB selfie.

Molly and Me.

 Sharon and her mum were also soaking up the sun.

Sharon & Susan

While this horse and rider were taking a dip to cool off.

Horse Riding Gower

Pobbles Bay is spectacular on high tide, but it is amazing with a few waves and the sun too.

Pobbles Bay, Gower

Almost enough to make you jump in for a swim.

Pobbles Bay

It has taken me a couple of days to write this as I have been out enjoying the sun, but today the drizzle is back, but I am sure the sun will make another appearence this June and when it does we will be out and about again, DimExcuses.