Riding More, Rhossili 20th & 21st August 2016. #RideMore

DimExcuses Surf Rhossili

August has been a great month for surfing. In my mission to just simply #RideMore I managed to get down Rhossili Bay, Gower on both Saturday and Sunday, 20th & 21st of August 2016.

Rhossili, Gower August 2016

The Saturday had a consistent swell, but it was slightly windy. Apart from the wind it was fun in the sun and definitely worth getting in the water. It must have been perfect conditions (10 mph onshore wind) for paragliding as there were loads of them in the air, launching off Rhossili Down. Look closely below, I don’t know how those paragliders don’t hit each other?

Paragliding Rhossili Gower August 2016

I was joined by regular DimExcuses surfer Darren Green, keen to get some use out of his new 7’6″ mini-mal.

DimExcusesSurf Rhossili

A busy summer day meant that the bottom field was open as a car park, which is my preferred base when surfing Rhossili. We had a few obligatory car park photographs before taking the long walk down to the beach below.

Mark Blackmore DimExcuses

We had a good two hours in the water and we were super stoked. So I was really pleased when I got a chance to return the next day with my girlfriend Sharon’s family to collectively surf Rhossili again. It was a great chance to continue teaching the kids to surf.

Teaching the kids to surf

The surf had dropped off slightly, but the wind had also dropped making perfect conditions for learning with perfect small waves coming into Rhossili Bay in straight blue lines.

Blue Lines Rhossili

And as always we were flanked by the impressive Wormshead.

Wormshead Rhossili Gower

Molly my French Bulldog cross joined us, taking charge from the camper van…

Molly at Wormshead

…and checking out the surf from the car park.

Bulldog Surf watch Rhossili Bay

Again we got our favorite basecamp spot in the lower car park because it has possibly the best view of Wormshead without actually walking out to the Coastguard Station.

Big Landmark, Small Bulldog, Rhossili August 2016

There are clear views to the North too, giving Molly a great view of Burry Holms and Pembrey beyond.

Gower Bulldog

Enough of the headland, we were soon down on the beach and in the water. Everyone was getting their share of waves.

Surfing Rhossili

Including me.

DimExcuses Surf

The great thing about surfing at Rhossili is the magnificent view of Rhossili Down rising up above the beach. This is the natural beauty that Gower is so well known for.

Surfing Rhossili #RideMore

It is probably best to look where you are going though and save the view for the walk back up afterwards.

Catching that wave

Molly insisted on getting in the mix, dragging her stick into the waves.

Rhossili Waves

All the time we were catching waves we were in the shadow of Wormshead.

DimEXcuses Surf Gower

Even when just chilling out back.

Chilling Out Back Wormshead

Weary from a long surf it was just a case of doing that punishing walk back up to the car park.

DimExcuses & Dog

A great weekend surfing, I am definitely riding more, and I hope to #RideMore as we go into Autumn, DimExcuses.

How green is my valley & coast? Three Cliffs, Gower July 2016.

Basically very green. A wet July has given us unlimited water and long days for plants to grow, as anyone with a “constantly needing cutting” lawn will tell you. I had to do a double take going through these photos before posting them. Everything was that green! Three Cliffs Bay was glowing green, not the normal sun faded pastel colours of a normal July. The vegetation is thriving in these wet, warm long days of July 2016.

Molly the Frenchton and I took our famous Three Cliffs walking loop, starting at Pennard and heading out around the golf course to Pennard Castle.

Pennard Castle is perched high above Three Cliffs Valley and this gives you a fantastic view of the famous bay.

Pennard Castle

There are loads of cows grazing the paths around Three Cliffs Bay and Pobbles Bay at the moment so make sure you get your dog on a lead when you pass this livestock. I had Molly back on her lead whenever I saw the cows, which was fortunate, seeing what we encountered later on.

Three Cliffs Cows

There are two choices when doing the circular walk from Three Cliffs to Pobbles Bay. Firstly you can follow the boardwalk around the dunes and cliffs. You can walk that boardwalk anytime. The other option is to drop down into the valley. This second option is tide dependent and involves a steep decent. It is a steep sandy slope made famous in the Darth Manion Beach & Swamp Run Challenge. Here is a picture of the path as it winds through the woods.

Pennard Castle path to Three Cliffs Valley

Once in Three Cliffs Valley it is a short walk to Three Cliffs Bay itself. Molly had decided that she was a rock climber.

Rock Climbing Dog at Three Cliffs

Standing majestic taking in the view of the bay.

DimExcuses Three Cliffs

We barely made it through the cave in Three Cliffs that leads to Pobbles Bay. We just got through as the sea was cutting the two bays off from each other (I said it was tide dependent). Molly had a dip in the incoming tide, which had a nice little wave coming in.

Molly Three Cliffs

Pobbles Bay has some fantastic limestone rock outcrops to discover.

Incoming tide at Pobbles Bay Gower

Molly was having a good look at this Pobbles Bay limestone.

Molly looking at Pobbles limestone

Here is the whole of Pobbles Bay, cliffs topped with rich green grass, as the tide comes into this popular Gower beach.

Pobbles Bay July 2016

We added an extra bit onto our normal loop and climbed out of Pobbles onto Pennard Cliffs, walking around to Southgate. This gave a different perspective looking from Pobbles towards Three Cliffs Bay. You can see Pennard Cliffs without going to Three Cliffs by walking a loop from the National Trust car park in Southgate.

Gower July 2016

One thing did surprise me seeing the two Gower bays from the top of Pennard Cliffs, the tide comes much further into Three Cliffs Bay than it does in Pobbles Bay. I had never noticed that before.

Pobbles and Three Cliffs Bay Gower July 2016

As we followed the cliff path I saw another cow and put Molly back on her lead. Good thing I did, because I then noticed a load of afterbirth on the path as we approached the cow. She had just given birth to this calf!

Cow and new born calf, Gower July 2016

What a fantastic thing to see! But I kept Molly on a tight lead, as even a little dog can be a threat to such a young calf, and Mum would not stand for that. A cow can be a big and dangerous animal if a dog is threatening its young. We gave them the respect and distance needed that so that all parties were happy with the encounter. In summary, Gower is super green at the moment, cows are grazing the cliffs and dunes, and you should always keep your dog on lead around livestock, DimExcuses.

 

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.

Pobbles Evening High Tide. 17th June 2016.

Pobbles Evening High Tide

I love these long light evenings as we approach the summer solstice. It gives me and Molly, the french bulldog plenty of time to get an evening walk down to Pobbles Bay, Gower.

Pobbles Bay High Tide

There is nothing as good as summer evening at the beach on high tide. And Pobbles Bay has to be one of the best beaches visit on a summer evening. Molly and I often get the beach to ourselves, but I am being to think that the Griffiths family live there as they have been there the last couple of times I have visited Pobbles.

Surf Pobbles

They were even in surfing last night! It is rare to get a surfable wave at Pobbles, but last night there was a cracking fun swell on the push of high tide, squeezing in between the rocks.

Surfing Pobbles

Now, if the Griffths are there, then that means that the other Molly will be there too. This Molly is a rescue staffie and that means double Molly trouble as the pair of dogs made the most of the surf.

A tale of two Mollies, Pobbles

The DimExcuses Molly was quick to point out though she was happy to share the sand, technically it is her beach.

Molly Pobbles

Pobbles Bay is adjacent to Three Cliffs Bay, so it is easy to get up on the spine of Three Cliffs itself to get some fantastic photos of the iconic cliffs at high tide.

On top of Three Cliffs

It is a great place to just sit down, chill out and appreciate the rugged beauty of the Gower coast.

Sitting on Three Cliffs

The view is equally spectacular looking out at the waves coming into Pobbles Bay.

Pobbles Waves

It looked like a lot of fun riding those summer evening waves.

Swell at Pobbles Bay

Molly is always one to appreciate a bit of surf.

Surf Bulldog at Pobbles Gower

Having found our evening sun and surf fix at high tide, it was time for Molly and I to head home, so I will leave you with one last picture of the Jewel of Gower, Three Cliffs Bay.

Summer evening Three Cliffs Bay

Spectacular, DimExcuses.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Mentro 21. No hero’s welcome, just a cold car park and small dog. Caswell, Gower November 2015.

DimExcuses Caswell

So I did it, completed my #Mentro21 challenge to surf 21 times this year. I was cutting it close though. We have been enjoying an unseasonably mild autumn, but this week saw a sudden change to the cold air that we should have been having. Overnight temperatures reaching freezing and not seeing anywhere near double figures in the day.

Low sun surf

The sea is still a forgiving twelve degrees Celsius. So mindful of that I still needed that twenty first surf and the water, weather is only going to get colder and the days shorter, I headed to Caswell Bay, Gower to finish the challenge.

Sharon and Molly

My girlfriend Sharon came along and took most of these photos, you can follow her on twitter @WarmSand1. Of course Molly our french bulldog was with us too, and she followed me straight into the sea with her friend here. The low autumn sun was spectacular but a real pain for photos and looking out to sea for waves.

Molly DimExcuses Caswell

The water really wasn’t that cold, it is the air that is now a problem. The bright sun helped but only brought the air to a whole seven degrees.

Caswell Gower

Molly was still quite happy in the water, having a bit of a paddle.

Molly Caswell

But she soon got pretty cold.

Molly Apres Surf

Heading back to the van for a rub down and a fleece blanket wrap.

Molly French Bulldog

I still had a few waves to catch.

DimExcuses Caswell

The last in the water.

Last One Out

So there it is the completion of my #Mentro21 project. No fanfare, no hero’s welcome, just me, Sharon, a small dog, a big van and a cold car park. At that is generally how it is surfing in Wales.  But it will soon be spring and we will be doing it all over again. I have come a long way from Mentro 1, way back in April. But then again the sea wasn’t that cold today, could I get in again this year? Cold water surfing, DimExcuses.

StormWatch, Langland Bay Going Off, 7th November 2015

Langland Surf

The winter weather may not be here yet, but the winter swells certainly are. Molly and I were in full on StormWatch mode today heading to Langland Bay, Gower to see a full line up scramble for some seriously pumping surf on the rising tide.

Molly Langland

Molly was straight in the waves, she is such a surf bulldog.

Surf Bulldog

It was a day for short boards, fast and steep. With the winter temperatures still not here there were some summer wetsuits and bare feet in the crowded line up.

Surf Langland

The surf was really peaking with some tall faces testings all the short boarders.

High Tide Langland

We had a great view on the high tide.

Surfer Langland Gower

Some surfers were really charging the heavy swell.

Surf Gower

The waves on their own were worth watching, fantastic curling faces.

Autumn Surf Gower

This autumn in Gower has been fantastic.

Warm Autumn Surf

It is not cold at all yet with air temperatures never leaving double figures.

Surfing Waves Langland Gower

Molly was watching all the riders, and casting a wise experienced eye over the crashing shore break.

Gower French Bulldog Molly

Even though it was a scramble, if you were the right place you could get a cracking ride. Plenty of wave face to carve.

DimExcuses Langland

…but then you had to get back out again.

DimExcuses Surf

Molly needs to get her paws in the water and face in the waves when she is on StormWatch.

DimExcusesSurf Bulldog

What a great afternoon of pumping surf at Langland Bay, Gower. This autumn is really shaping up into a year to remember. With winter just around the corner you can be assured that Molly and I are back on StormWatch, out and about checking on all those Gower winter waves for you, DimExcuses.