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.

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.

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.

#MyGreenSpace is Yellow Today, Kenfig National Nature Reserve, June 2015.

Kenfig NNR

In Bridgend we are well into the #MyGreenSpace campaign, helping people discover and share the green spaces important to them. So with a sunny day in June I find myself in Bridgend’s jewel in the crown green space, Kenfig National Nature Reserve.

Keeper of the Dunes

It is a massive sand dune reserve, with spectacular lake, salt marsh and expansive beach. Even the lake has a little beach too, “Hey girls, you are on Molly’s Beach, watch out for the bulldog”!

Molly's Beach

But as I was accompanied by the frenzied frenchton Molly, apparently it was about the massive field of buttercups you can find there at the moment.

Buttercup Molly

A very yellow #MyGreenSpace. So why not go to the #MyGreenSpace section of our Natural Neighbourhoods Website to discover and share your favourite Bridgend Green Space, 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.

 

Windy Three Cliffs Bay and Pobbles at Low Tide.

Windy Three Cliifs, Gower

This June isn’t bringing summer to us just yet. Though better than last weekend, it is still cool and windy on Gower. Undeterred Molly and I set out for our usual loop of Three Cliffs Bay and Pobbles Bay.

Adventures of Molly at Three Cliffs

What was different today was that it was a very low tide and we were there right on the turn.  Which meant that we could drop into the valley and walk along the river.

Three Cliffs Valley

More importantly it meant we could get through the cave in Three Cliffs to enter Pobbles Bay.

Molly in the Seaweed

The low tide let us get right out to under the Shirecoombe headland, where Molly got to explore the seaweed. We are off all week so hopefully we will do some more DimExcuses Beach Guides and maybe add some surfs to our #Mentro21 Project. So keep an eye out, DimExcuses.

Bad Days Make Good Photos. Three Cliffs & Pobbles, May 2015.

Sand Dune Molly

It has been miserable end to May, apparently caused by El Nino. Today was no exception, with a wet morning and a gusting hard onshore wind ensuring no one in wild west Wales was going to have a good day surfing.

Three Cliffs Bulldog

So Molly and I headed out to Gower for our usual loop of Three Cliffs Bay and Pobbles Bay.

Molly Three Cliffs

There was quite a swell coming in and that wind was whipping it up, making the Gower coast look wild and rugged.

Wild & Rugged Pobbles Bay

These pink flowers were bravely blooming on the cliff edge contrasting with the barren limestone. Just like the primeroses in April, the bulbells are now starting to wilt away, leaving these pink blooms to take the spotlight.

Pink Coast Flowers, Pobbles, Gower.

Molly was less interested in the flowers or surf, finding some smells to investigate. It was a case of talk to the bum because the face ain’t listening.

Speak to the bum, because the face ain't listening.

She was all over the cliffs like a mountain goat, surveying the incoming tide swelling Three Cliffs river and filling the valley.

High Tide Three Cliffs, Gower

It wasn’t long until this French Bulldog was distracted by a stick though.

Three Cliffs Stick

Some nice photos but it wasn’t as nice as it looked. That gusty wind was cold and annoying. My hat blew off twice. But you have to make the most of a bad day and get out and about, DimExcuses.