There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. Three Cliffs, Pobbles, Winter 2017.

Winter is upon us.  Temperatures are barely above zero and snow is hitting the UK with a vengeance.  Gower may have eascaped the worst of the snow but it is bitter cold with biting winds.  Yet as Ranulph Fiennes is so famously quoted as saying “there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”.

I am permanently wearing a baselayer, I have some cracking Skins thermal ones and I have broken out my snowboarding clothing. My dog Molly is a hardy little french bulldog cross but even she can’t go out without a coat on at the moment.

Molly as a great waterproof coat with a fake fur collar that almost covers her big ears.  It is fleeced too. She cuts quite the dash in it.

It is hard to fit beach walks in at this time of year, as well as the tough weather, there is little light in the day.  So when we do get a chance we just stick to our Three Cliffs Bay loop.

It is the most popular walk on this blog, and probably our favourite walk too. It is the “go to” walk when we want to show visitors around. It is 5km and takes in Pennard Castle, Three Cliffs Bay and Pobbles Bay.

I track my walks using Strava, you can see this walk here. I also use an app called Relive that makes 3D aerial videos of your mapped Strava activities. You can see a Relive video of this walk here. It is really useful to plan out walking this yourself if you have never been there before.

Molly and I were lucky, the wind dropped and the whole walk was undertaken in a lovely stillness that is rare on the exposed Gower Coast.

One of the benefits of this time of year is that you do get the beach to yourself.

Though Molly is really only interested in sticks.

There is a rugged beauty to Gower in the winter.  I think it is the light and the dramatic skies.

The sand levels change from storm to storm in the winter. This is most noticeable when trying to walk through the cave within Three Cliffs to get to Pobbles Bay. it can vary from a sandy walk, rocky scramble or a couple of jumps over sea water filled pools.

None of which is a bother to Molly, she is an all terrain dog, who takes it all in her stride.

She is happy on the rocks and in the rock pools.

That winter storm sand movement has created some spectacular pools.

But there are still huge expanses of sand on the lower tides, plenty of room for a small dog.

As we walked back up from Pobbles Bay to Pennard we noticed warning signs up about Portuguese Man O War strandings. These aren’t technically jellyfish, but a colony organism that is very similar. Their long tentacles can cause a very painful sting. There have been loads washed up in South West UK this autumn and winter. I know a lot people still out there surfing and I haven’t heard of any incidents, but it can’t harm to be wary of them. As they tend to be on the shoreline, they are more of a hazard to dogs, so keep an eye out for them.

It is always worth getting out and blowing the cobwebs away at this time of year. Here is Molly having one last look at the sea before making our way back to the warm indoors.

It is still a long way to spring, but there are plenty of reasons to get out walking down the beach. Just make sure you wear the right clothes, DimExcuses.

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Riders on the Storm 2017.

Every now and then the weather is just too bad for surfing the usual breaks and you have to find a sheltered bay and just ride it out. Sometimes these storm days are the most fun.

With high winds, heavy rain, very unsettled weather and a big swell this weekend, surfing Rhossilli or Llangenith just wasn’t an option.

So we headed to Caswell Bay during a lull in the storm to surf the steep powerful waves coming in. It was short boards and bodyboards only, with fast suicide drops into these steep closing out waves.

I was joined by Sharon, Fin and our trusty waterproof Nikon S33 camera.

No Molly this time as dogs are still not allowed on Caswell Beach until the end of the month. For full details on the Swansea and Gower Summer dog bans click here.

It was a really wet afternoon, but rain doesn’t really matter when you are surfing, and we had plenty of sunny spells.

It was more a day for the bodyboard, but the short board drops were serious fun, even though most drops turned into wipeouts.

Fin was taking the bodyboard all the way to the shore in the powerful white water.

The storm force waves really teach young surfers about the power of the waves. It is great to see someone concentrating on the conditions and learning a lot.

I like to pass the baton down to the next generation of Wild West Wales Surfers.

I love that sharing of the enjoyment of just being in the sea and the infectious fun of surfing. The best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun.

These powerful waves were small but really good fun.

The waves were impressive in shape as the walls rose up.

We really enjoyed and it was a great way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon.

I never regret getting in the water no matter what the conditions. Hopefully I will get in a lot more as Surftember turns into October, DimExcuses.

Take the High Road, Pobbles & Pennard Cliffs. 19th August 2017.

Sometimes you have to change your perspective on things. Usually a quick straight walk down Pobbles Bay, Gower is my go to quick walk for taking my dog Molly to the beach. But I fancied a change and a different view of Pobbles for once.

Pobbles is my favourite beach. You can read my DimExcuses Pobbles Beach Guide here. It is also a beach visited on my classic 5km Pennard Castle, Three Cliffs Bay and Pobbles circular walk. Sometimes it even gets surf!

This was one of those days when it had a surf-able swell. It has been a hit and miss summer, so we decided to make the most of this Sunny Saturday.

We did our usual walk down from Pennard, past Pennard Golf Club, but then climbed out of the bay up to the plateau of Pennard Cliffs to get a different view of the famous Three Cliffs.

Molly is as happy on the limestone rocks of Pobbles as she is on the beach.

Looking back you get a great view of the west side of Three Cliffs and Pobbles Bay in front of it. Just as to get to the top and onto Pennard Cliffs you can also see across to the greens of Pennard Golf Course. Molly stopped for a pose with course behind her…

..before a quick drop and roll.

Molly is always happiest on the Gower Coast. Total adventure french bulldog.

Once the cliffs were climbed we headed back through Southgate village to complete our Pobbles, Pennard Cliffs loop, and as we were passing the Southgate Club, it would be rude not to stop for a pint of Gower Power!

We are definitely making the most of this Gower summer, no matter what the weather, DimExcuses.

Between the showers. Pobbles Bay July 2017.

It has been a while since I posted on here and brought you some pictures of Gower beaches. It is amazing how any new activity you do steals time away from your other activities. This summer I have been really concentrating on my running, at the
expense of my walking. Molly has really missed out on our beach walks too.

I ran the INVNCBL Obstacle Course Race (OCR) at the start of July in Pembrey
Country Park. It was awesome, hard but I would recommend it. I over trained and
have picked up Planar Fasciitis which has also impacted my walking. Add to that I
fell running and have hurt one of my ribs, so no surfing. But I have now healed to the
point Molly and I can get out down Pobbles Bay, Gower between the summer
showers.

You can follow my walking and running at my Strava page, and here is a link to the
walk I have walked and photographed in this post.

I am also using a partner app to Strava, called Relive which plots my Strava activity
on 3D aerial maps. You can see a video of this walk here.

This was a quick 3km walk Molly and I do when we are pressed for time or the
weather is not looking too good. It is straight down and back up from Pobbles Bay
past Pennard Golf Club. Here is Molly checking out the new golf club sign.

This year managed grazing has been introduced in Three Cliffs Valley which is
adjacent to Pobbles Bay.

There is a herd of cows munching the vegetation around the bay. Hopefully avoiding the ragwort as it is poisonous to grazing stock.

Recently the cows have taken to grazing on the actual Three Cliffs
themselves. It is quite a strange sight to see these hill climbing cows, especially
when the tide is in.

It also means I need to keep Molly on a lead. It is best practice to always keep your
dog on a lead around livestock. The last thing I would want is to worry the herd and
them running off the cliff edge.

Mind you she still manages to stalk them even when she is still safely on the lead.

The cows stay off the beach, so it is ok for Molly to run free in the sand there.
Pobbles is a great little beach when the tide is in.

It is a really fun beach for learning bodyboarding when it gets a bit of a swell.

It is best surfed on the rising tide, but can get a little boxed in on the higher tide.

It is great for swimming too and much safer than Three Cliffs which has a very hazardous current from the river.

You can learn more about Pobbles Bay in the DimExcuses Pobbles Beach Guide here. Pobbles is Molly and my favorite beach, we need to get down there a little more this summer, DimExcuses.

Almost Summer. Three Cliffs Bay, 28th May 2017.

Finally summer is nearly upon us, leap frogging over a cool but dry start to spring in South Wales. So as we head into the second bank holiday in May 2017 there was no where else to go but Three Cliffs Bay, Gower.

This time Molly, Sharon and I brought along some family and friends.

We took our regular Pennard Castle, Three Cliffs and Pobbles Bay loop. Pennard Golf Club have done some path work over spring that has improved the walk past the water tower. Molly knows the way like the back of her paw, so she was soon at Pennard Castle.

Suns out, tongues out!

Everyone else wasn’t far behind. The view at Pennard Castle is one of the highlights of Gower.

We were there on a massive low tide, so we could drop into the valley and walk into Three Cliffs Bay. It was one of those low tides where you could have walked all the way from Oxwich on the sand if you wanted.

Perfect conditions for the DimExcuses end of summer walk. But seeing as summer is almost upon us it is not even near the time of year for that walk. Not that Molly was bothered she loves our Three Cliffs Walks.

So spring has almost gone and it is almost summer, plenty of time to get down the beach, DimExcuses.

Spring has Sprung. Three Cliffs Bay March 2017.

Spring has sprung. After a relatively cold snap to end winter in Gower, we have bounced into a cracking spring at the end of March 2017.

So it was back to business for Sharon, Molly and me as we headed out in the sun on our classic Pennard Castle, Three Cliffs loop in South Gower. We were joined by Molly’s newest friend Max and his family.

Max is a Jack Russell puppy. He seemed totally un-phased by the walk and was soon tearing it up with Molly.

Three Cliffs Valley was looking fantastic in the spring sun as we approached Three Cliffs Bay itself.

The key thing with Three Cliffs is to watch the tide, and we demonstrated that by getting through the famous cave that separates the bay from Pobbles just in time. Max left it to the very last second before the tide cut us off.

Molly was soon showing Max the fun that can be had on a trip to the beach.

We finished of the wak with a stop in Onboard Surf & Coffee Shop on the way home. It is a great place for a coffee and a cake, and totally dog friendly. Alas we missed the fresh Gower doughnuts again. One day I shall have one, it is a mission now.

Molly was totally shattered, it is hard work keeping up with a puppy!

A cracking day and a great start to Spring. Hopefully we will have a lot more of these walks this year, DimExcuses.

Darth Mannion 2017. Gallery 4.

This is the forth gallery from the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge 2017. You can find an index of all four galleries here. Click on any of the thumbnails below to open and view the gallery, DimExcuses.

Darth Mannion 2017. Gallery 3.

This is the third gallery from the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge 2017. You can find an index of all four galleries here. Click on any of the thumbnails below to open and view the gallery, DimExcuses.

Darth Mannion 2017. Gallery 1.

Here is the first of four galleries from today’s Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge. To see this gallery of the extreme Gower half marathon click on any of the thumbnails to open the album.

Mud, sweat and tears. The Darth Mannion 2017.

This is my third year photographing the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge (to give it it’s full name).

You can see photos from 2016 here, and photos from 2015 here.

This year was the biggest and best so far. The route was longer, but still included the fiver runs and sea dips that this extreme Gower half marathon is famous for. The number of runners was also up with well over 400 runners this year.

The weather was worse than previous years with high winds and heavy mist. How can you even have those two weather conditions at the same time?

But it is the spirit of the Darth that everyone gets round the course and finish with big smiles.

I am slowing working through my photos and I will get them all up by the end of the weekend. The following links will be clickable once they are available.

Darth Mannion 2017 Gallery 1.

Darth Mannion 2017 Gallery 2.

Darth Mannion 2017 Gallery 3.

Darth Mannion 2017 Gallery 4.

Time for me to get editing, DimExcuses.