#StormWatch. Low Sun & low tide, Caswell to Langland.

Gower Sunset

What a weekend of weather, massive tides, storms and snow. Though the Gower salty air made sure we had no snow, we still had blue clouds passing us over the rocks exposed by the huge low tide.

#StormWatch Caswell Bay

Molly the French Bulldog and I were on our usual Gower Coast #StormWatch, but the storm had long since past Gower and we were left to walk in the following calm and drink up the low sun as we walked from Caswell to Langland Bay and back.

Caswell Bay January 2016

Sometimes the light on these winter coast walks gives the best Gower views.

Low tide Langland Bay

Molly was more interested in playing on the beach.

Molly DimExcuses

But I made her do the whole walk from Caswell to Langland Bay and back.

Caswell to Langland Walk

It is a fantastic walk, about 6.2km there and back. We were even treated to a rainbow over Swansea Bay that landed right on Tata Steel in Port Talbot. Hopefully a good omen for them. There is steel at the end of the rainbow.

Rainbow over Tata Steel Port Talbot

Today was a day when the sunsets eclipse the rainbows.

Sunset Caswell to Langland walk

The low sun soon left us, but we got a good walk in from Caswell to Langland, and hopefully we will get a few more this Winter, DimExcuses.

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In the Shadow of the Sunset. DimExcuses Mid Winter Walk 2016.

Shadow of the sunset. Pwll Du

Last year we started a new tradition, the DimExcuses Winter Walk. You can see all the photos from 2015’s winter walk here. It is the sister walk to the DimExcuses End of Summer Walk, which you can read about here.

Winter Sunset Sun, Gower 2016

Starting where the summer walk ends, in the Joiners Arms in Bishopston, we headed down to Pwll Du Bay, Gower. We got onto the Wales Coastal Path at Pwll Du just after half past two, which gave us two hours of low winter sun to walk the Wales Coast Path all the way to Mumbles.

Low Winter Sun, Gower 2016

It was a fantastic afternoon, cool crisp and sunny. Eight of us and two dogs made the walk with the low sun at our backs.

Brandy Cove Winter 2016

We were soon in Brandy Cove, and on our way to Caswell Bay.

Caswell Bay Winter 2016

With a low tide and low sun, lots of people were walking off their Christmas mince pies on Caswell beach. In the shadow of the sunset behind us it was important now to get around to Langland Bay while we still had the light.

Shadow of the Sunset Caswell Bay

With a four thirty sunset, we didn’t have much time. The sun was rapidly setting behind us as we made our way passed Langland Bay, Rotherslade Bay and on to Limeslade Bay.

Winter Sunset Gower 2016

The light was incredible as the sun set behind us as we finally reached Mumbles.

Last light Gower 2016

The walk was about 12km, and as we regrouped for a pint by the fire in the Park Inn, Mumbles, we had one very big, very tired dog on our hands.  Oakley has a few DimExcuses Gower walks under his belt now.

Oakley

And we also had one little dog who really didn’t know what to make of the one big dog!

When Molly met Oakley

It was a great walk, that proved that the Gower Coast is for life not just Christmas Summer. We will definitely going again next year, 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. After the wind drops the surf rises up. Langland / Caswell 2nd January 2016.

StormWatch Langland

Rain, rain and more rain as storm after storm hits the UK and temperatures refuse to drop to anyway near average temperatures for this time of year. Coupled with high winds the weather has not been good for getting out and about in South Wales.  As always I have been on the StormWatch, especially on the DimExcuses Christmas Coastal Walk earlier in the week when I saw Caswell Bay had yet again got a bit of a hammering. Nothing like when Caswell  was devastated in January 2014,  thankfully the storm protection measures put in since then seem to be holding up.

DimExcuses Surf Langland

But yesterday (the second day in January 2016) was a respite from the recent storm generated wind and rain. Spotting a good few hours of decent weather Sharon, Molly and I headed down to Rotherslade Bay, to walk around to Langland and Caswell Bay. You can follow our route on Strava here.  Before we had even left the car, we could see that the massive storm swell was still here, but now with no wind to spoil those big peaks and they were coming into Langland in beautiful massive straight lines.

StormWatch Caswell

Caswell Bay was no different with plenty of surfers in the water due to the above average temperatures. There was a 10 degree air temperature which matched the 10 degree water temperature. The sun even came out for a bit and with no wind it felt more like 13 or 14 degrees.  The beach at Caswell looked more like late autumn or early spring with families playing games and having BBQs. There were people in short sleeves, some in shorts, and even some bare foot walkers dipping their toes in.

Mild Winter on Gower 2016

It really is quite worrying. I recall Halloween 2008 when it was barely over 2 degrees for that last week in October and the Halloween night itself. Or there was the freezing winter of 2010 when it did not go over zero degrees on Christmas Day, and it wasn’t until March that we got temperatures even approaching 9 degrees. This winter we have only seen one frost and temperatures barely left double figures throughout December.

Storm Surf Langland Gower

By mid afternoon the word was out, GowerLive was posting some impressive video and surfers were coming down in droves. Langland was looking really busy with a full line up scrabbling for their go at the straight lines. A great afternoon and the 7km walk was just what was needed for Molly the French Bulldog who has been going stir crazy in this poor weather. With more storms forecast we will be continuing to keep up our StormWatch, watch this space, 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.

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.

The last of winter 2013/14.

Spot the surfer

So spring is here and yesterday we had a hint of better times to come. But today showed us winter may not quite finished with us yet! It has been the wettest winter, unseasonably mild, with massive tides and matching swells, all tied to bad weather that has brought storm surge conditions.

Langland after the storm

Well just as we try and wrestle free from winters grip, here are the pictures that somehow didn’t get posted over the last couple of months.

Swansea Bay

From a windswept Swansea Bay.

Molly Swansea Bay

To a Langland Bay robbed of sand by the winter storms.

Molly Langland

Molly the DimExcuses dog was definitely making the most of it, and making some friends.

Bulldog friends

Mind you so of those winter waves looked very tempting!

Winter Surf

Hinting at evening surf sessions to come.

Evening swells

And sunsets to follow.

Molly Sunset

So here is to spring! From Molly and me, DimExcuses.

Molly and Me

Gower Code Red. Storm Surge January 2014

Storm Rider

They are calling it a 50 year storm. Record high tides, combined with a massive swell and extremely bad weather pushed in by an overactive jet stream.  This almost perfect storm surge is the freaky side affect of our relatively mild winter temperatures. The weather men forecast it, the surf charts saw it coming and the relevant authorities issued weather warnings. So irresponsibly we took Molly the puppy out for a look at what this storm was going to do to Gower.

Molly & the Storm

Heading out last night, Langland was our first stop, and fair play it was awesome, but there is no lighting down there, which meant it was hazardous and we couldn’t get any photos.  Just one of Molly surveying the surf.

Caswell Surf Chaos

Limeslade was better lit and the waves were breaking over the road, but again the storm was making photography impossible.  Heading to Caswell Bay it was absolute chaos.  The sea was crossing the road and the storm foam was moving into the car park. After I got this very poor shot of the chaos it was time to head home and dry off.

Langland Surfer

Today (Saturday 04/01/14) the storm has passed for a while but more high tides are due. We headed down to Caswell to survey the impact of last nights storm. Just leaving the car park the damage and mess is clear.

Caswell after the storm

If it wasn’t driftwood across the road…

Driftwood across the road at Caswell

…it was boulders thrown up on the beach head.

Caswell Storm Damage

The poor old Surfside Cafe had been completely overwhelmed. Water had got in and churned the whole place up.

Surfside Cafe, Caswell

The damage to the shutters is clear and that then just let the waves in.  Let’s hope they get it fixed up soon without too much distress to the owners, Molly and I love their latte with a bacon bagel.

Surfside Cafe

The surf at Caswell was looking a complete mess, massive and dangerous.  Two surfers were in the water, but they were just getting a right royal pasting.

Surfboard Langland

We decided to head around to Langland Bay as it should be getting a better wave due to its more sheltered positioning on the Gower coast. The improvement in weather combined with the dropping tide produced some epic Langland surf and plenty of riders were in the water trying to make the most of the heavy conditions.  There was a good break between sets, but the set waves were massive.

Langland Storm

The reduction in wind was ensuring some clean faces…

Two riders Langland

…as long as you made the drop.

2014-01-04 11.29.21

Apparently these high tides are continuing until at least Monday, the swell doesn’t appear to be dropping much and more storms are on the way.  Anything could happen, watch this space and stay safe, 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

Gower Winter Walks 1. Rotherslade to Caswell & back, racing the dusk.

Here is the first in my series of Gower winter walks that you can do in an afternoon.  The days are short and the weather terrible at the moment, but that is no excuse for not getting out and about.  The Gower Coast is full of great walks but these can be a bit muddy at this time of year.  So I tend to choose the surfaced coastal paths when I am walking in January.  This is a great walk from Rotherslade (Mumbles) to Caswell Bay and back, taking in Langland Bay on the way.  I parked on Higher Lane, Langland, but you can make this walk a bit shorter by parking in Langland Bay.  It was a bit of a forced march to make it there and back before dusk as we sent out about 3pm.

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I tracked the walk with Everytrail and you can see the map and stats for the walk here.

It was just over 4 miles long, and although it was on any easy access surface it included climbing 295ft in elevation, so it may not be for everyone.

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Looking out through the reeds at Langland Bay you can really what the surf is like.  A bit cold today though.

DSCN1115

Langland is famous for it’s beach huts, which make quite an unusual sight.

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South Gower is predominantly limestone geology and you can see plenty of limestone jutting out of the cliffs as you make the walk from Langland Bay to Caswell Bay.

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As I mentioned previously the great thing about this winter walk is the way the path is surfaced to make it accessible to most people in all weathers.

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Once you get to Caswell Bay it is a matter of turning round and making your way back.  There is a Cafe and toilets at Caswell and at Langland Bay.

So that is my first Gower walk.  I hope to do a few more over the coming months, I have some good circular ones that you can do.