The best of South Gower in one day.

We often have visitors down over the summer. It is amazing that those from further afield tend to embrace the must see sites, while family and friends often neglect the little gems on their doorstep. So this summer we have been sharing our favorite beaches with all our visitors. At the start of the summer we took some family members on our legendary Three Cliffs Pobbles Loop, and last week we introduced some more family to the fantastic Pwll Du Bay.

Our guided trips must be popular, because this week we had more visitors wanting to see the best of South Gower in one day. So we had to start with that legendary Three Cliffs Bay, Pobbles Bay loop that goes past Pennard Castle. You can read all about the route here, or you can see our strava route here. I am also using the Relive app so here is a 3D aerial video of our route too.

The view from Pennard Castle of Three Cliffs Bay is fantastic, as you can see above. You can then walk around the golf course to the headland, or if the tide is out you can take the steep walk down into the valley. You may need a hand…

If you think that looks tricky you should checkout how the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp Run Challenge runners descend it at speed. Once down in Three Cliffs Valley it is a much more of a gentle stroll, that then opens up into an incredible view of Three Cliffs itself. You can read my DimExcuses Three Cliffs Beach Guide here.

With the tide out you can climb through the cave in Three Cliffs and get through to Pobbles Bay. It is a massive beach at low tide.

You can read my DimExcuses Pobbles Beach Guide here. Right out on its furthest east corner is the headland of Shirecombe. You can find some serious rock gullies here full of seaweed and rock pool residents. If you know what you are doing you can look for edible crabs here too, but please respect the tide, it can come in behind you fast!

Once we had taken in both Three Cliffs Bay and Pobbles Bay we took the path out of Pobbles up to Pennard Golf Club and back to our van. We took our guests to the dog friendly Beaufort Pub in Kittle (other Gower Pubs are available) for some light bites and a pint of Gower Gold.

A standard Three Cliffs adventure that you can see many times on this website, but today was all about getting the best of South Gower in one day. So we got back in the van and headed to the furthest West point in Gower, the world famous Rhossili Bay. You can read my DimExcuses Rhossili Beach Guide here.

The National Trust have taken over the car park at Rhossili it is really well run with fantastic friendly staff. With loads of parking you have loads that you can see and do. If you are a really hardy walker you can walk down to the beach itself, or if you really want to find your epic you can surf Rhossili Bay! Both activities will require a tough climb back up the path to the headland.

For the less energetic, I would recommend staying on the headland and taking the short walk out to the Coastguard Hut by Worms Head causeway. It is here that you can take the walk to Worms Head itself, but that is a serious adventure that you will have to plan in advance taking into account the tide times. The causeway is only open at certain times of the tide. You wouldn’t want to get stuck out there!

We just stayed on the headland and took in the panoramic views.

All the best of South Gower in one day! Maybe you can take your visitors on the same adventure. DimExcuses.

Advertisements

Finding Our Epic. End of Summer 2016.

Find Your Epic

Find your epic, was the challenge set out by Visit Wales this Summer. They asked people to photograph great things around Wales and post those photos with the hashtag #FindYourEpic.

#findyourepic

To increase awareness of this marketing campaign Visit Wales had a giant Epic Sign made and placed at breathtaking venues around Wales. Controversial maybe, but shouldn’t all social media campaigns encourage debate? Like Porthcawl’s #SelfieBench. The one thing you have to agree about this sign though is at its massive size, is certainly is epic. Here I have added Grant and Andrea for scale.

DimExcuses #FindYourEpic

Returning to Rhossili for more surfing with the Halpin-Jones clan, a two foot swell with a slight sideshore wind and blazing sun meant we were going to find our South Wales Epic with or without a giant sign.

find your epic surf at Rhossili Gower

The waves were pretty epic, and as always so was the Rhossili view.

Rhossili View

We had to get straight down to the beach and catch some waves.

findyourepic surf

My waterproof camera coming in really useful again.

Epic DimExcuses

Some really epic waves were to be had in the end of summer sun.

Surf DimExcuses

If you really want to find your epic, the view of Wormshead from the sun soaked, surf line up, has to be a contender.

Find Your Epic Wormshead

Exhausting work, this finding your epic.

DimExcuses Shattered

The endless supply of good waves to surf was taking its tole.

Epic

Line after line was rolling into Rhossili Bay. Forming classic Gower blue lines like corduroy.

Gower Blue Lines

You always have to get just one more last wave.

Surf Gower

But with the tide going out, that long walk back up the cliff was looming over us, and it was time to get back to the car park.

Low tide Rhossili

We had a prime spot in the bottom field, with our vans having an unblocked view of Wormshead.

DimExcuses VW

The whole crew wanted a #FindYourEpic selfie in front of the Epic Sign.

Epic DimExcuses Crew

Even Sharon and I had to get our picture by the sign, Molly will be gutted she missed this adventure.

Mark & Sharon, DimExcuses

The great thing about this time of year, is by the time you have finished surfing and had a bit of a chill out in the field, the sun starts to go down on the icon Wormshead. Being the furthest west point in Gower there is nothing between Wormshead and the sunset.

sunset at Wormshead

Truly epic.

Epic Wormshead

So we found our epic, now go and find yours, DimExcuses.

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.

Mentro 20. Surfing All Saints Day, Rhossili Bay, Gower 1st November 2015.

Surfing All Saints Day

It is the 1st November already, All Saints Day, or as it used to be known All Hallows Day. Which is why it is preceded by All Hallows Eve, or as it is called now Halloween. Well it is here and El Nino has let Gower have some unseasonable sun and warm weather.

Rhossili Bay 1st November

With water temperatures still cool rather than cold I headed for Rhossili Bay, Gower and the first of the winter swells.

Misty Rhossili

As well as the unusual weather we also had an unusual south easterly wind, which means offshore winds and clean blue lines. Perfect accompaniment to that solid winter swell.

Surf Rhossili

I managed to join fellow Gower surfer and South Wales surf twitterer Paul (@b_bstephens on twitter). He was getting a lot of waves in the clean conditions. We were surfing on the falling tide and the wind was increasing as we lost the cover of Rhossili headland.

Low tide Rhossili Bay, Gower

The sun had brought the autumn tourists out and the car park was a lot busier than when I took a similar photo of my board in a previous autumn visit to Rhossili Bay, Gower.

Rhossili Bay Car Park

With the sun out and the air so warm for autumn some people were making the most of the Worms Head Hotel beer garden, and there were plenty of surfers to entertain them below.

Worms Head Hotel

The strange weather soon saw an eerie sea mist descend on the horizon. Unusual autumn conditions indeed.

Sea Mist Rhossili Gower

Great weather, great surf and the winter chill is still staying away. El Nino is growing on me.

Gower Surfing

So this was Mentro 20 in my #Mentro21 challenge to surf 21 times this year. Just one more surf to go, DimExcuses.

Mentro 19. Sunset Dreaming, Rhossili, Gower 11th October 2015

Wormshead Sunset

On Thursday I surfed Rhossili Bay as the sun started to set.  Three days later I was back there, slightly later in the day and with the days now a fraction shorter. The result of which was surfing even closer to the Autumn sunset. This was the 19th surf in my #Mentro21 project to surf 21 times this year.

Surf Colt Sunset

Surely the west facing Wormshead at Rhossili has to be one of the best views that you can frame with a sunset. This time I was joined by regular DimExcuses surfer Darren Green, joining me for some one foot glass with a slight breath of offshore wind.

Rhossili Glass

Two hands on the camera meant that some pre-surf selfies could be taken.

Darren Rhossili

Darren above and myself below.

DimExcuses Rhossili

We got an hour and a half in the water making the most of glassy sets that rolled into Rhossili Bay. Large gaps between sets made paddling out an ease.

Blue Lines Rhossili

The shortening Autumn evenings meant that we made our way out of the surf as the sun started to set, producing some fantastic photos after we had changed and packed up.

Rhossili Bay Sunset

We weren’t the only ones taking in the fading light and sunset dreaming.

Sunset Dreaming

A spectacular sunset, even better than last Thursday. Now though we are wearing winter suits and boots surely won’t be far behind. Tomorrow the first frost is forecast and it will be a return to coldwater surfing as I face my last two #Mentro21 surfs, DimExcuses.

 

Mentro 18. Autumn Warmth, Rhossili Bay, Gower 8th October 2015.

Mentro 18 Rhossili

Autumn is like one great big sunset on the year. Surftember moves into October as leaves brown and fall from the trees. It hasn’t been the best summer and even Surftember didn’t live up to its name. El Nino has ruined the party like a drunken ex-boyfriend crashing an engagement do.

Surf Rhossili

But today on Gower, October offered up some post storm swell and some Autumn sun. So I headed for my usual break, Rhossili Bay. The air is cooling but the high thermal inertia of the sea means it is still a summer 14 degrees C. Air and water almost becoming the same temperature. So I notched up my eighteenth (Mentro 18) surf in my #Mentro21 project to surf 21 times this year.

Mentro 18

Having the day off for my birthday, celebrating 42 years since I came kicking and screaming into this world, I decided to spend it kicking, paddling and screaming into some clean two foot sets in the October sun. I either saw a Portuguese Man-o-war type jellyfish or an inflated plastic bag pretending to be a Portuguese Man-o-war jellyfish. Either way I gave it a wide berth. I also got a scare from a large bass that decided to jump a couple of feet out of the water right next to me, as I sat on my board out back.

Clean Rhossili

There was not a breath of wind. A great change for a usually wind blown Gower.  These two had the best seat in the house to watch the waves.

Best Seat in the House Rhossili

The best thing about October surfing is that by late afternoon everything becomes a sunset.

Rhossili Sunset

I had the sea and pretty much the car park to myself, “after the boys of summer have gone” as Don Henly would say.

Gower Sunset

So the sun sets on Mentro 18, leaving three sessions to go to complete the #Mentro21 project, DimExcuses.

 

 

Mentro 16. Challenges should be motivating. Rhossili, Gower 13th September 2015.

Mentro 16 Rhossili

What a difference a weekend makes. On Friday I was doubting if I would surf 21 times this year for my #Mentro21 project. Recovering from injury, facing cooling weather and shorter days, a flat start to Surftember was looking to scupper my plans. But a good swell came in on Thursday, and I was able to do the double, intimidating Sker Beach on Friday and a more mellow Rhossili on Sunday.

Unsung Hero

Today was great, some sun, offshore winds and a steady one foot swell. I was joined by Darren Green and Gareth Cook. It is always good to get out in the water with your mates. So two more surfs done, five to go, DimExcuses.

Mentro 11 Kenfig Sands & Mentro 12 Rhossili. A tale of two beaches.

Kenfig NNR

Not really a tale more of a quick update. No #Mentro21 project updates for over a week, and then like buses two come at once. The #Mentro21 project to go surfing twenty one times this year is going really well, I am half way now.

Rhossili Head

Just like the week before last, I got a surf in at Sker Beach, Kenfig Sands (Mentro 9) on Friday night after work and then made it to Rhossili Bay, Gower (Mentro 10) on the Saturday. The long walk from Kenfig National Nature Reserve Centre to Sker Beach I have been doing on my own, bare foot and in my wetsuit. It takes half an hour and means I can’t take my camera for any beach shots. You will have to make do with Kenfig pool and its famous tree.

Kenfig Pool Tree

To find out more about Kenfig National Nature Reserve read the #MyGreenSpace post from a couple of weeks ago.

It was quite small at Sker Beach and overcast, but I got a few waves. It was interesting to see the pebble beds at low tide so that I now know where they are and can avoid them. Sker isn’t a totally sandy beach and walking over the peoples underwater can be tricky. But what a difference a day makes! The next day Rhossili was a bit on the big side with a horrible onshore wind messing everything up.

Rhossili Bay

The sun was out and it was the National Trust Big Beach Picnic so the carpark, headland and Beach were really busy. The Trust have been really making the most of Rhossili since buying the car park. The pinic looked like a great event and these four got the prime picnic spot!

National Trust Big Beach Picnic

A great day but not the best surf. Well at least I ‘mentro allan’, ventured out. Twelve surfs down, nine to go, DimExcuses.

Mentro 10, everyone else went to Glastonbury, I went to Rhossili. 27th June 2015.

Mentro 10, Rhossili

Last night I surfed Sker Beach, it was heavy, messy, cloudy and wild, the way only surfing deep in a Welsh nature reserve can be. What a difference a day makes. Today I rocked up to a sunny Rhossili Bay, gentle onshore wind and that substantial swell that is pumping in at the moment.

June Rhossili

Almost perfect conditions and a lot of fun. Perfect for the new short board. I went really colourful when I got this one.

DimExcuses Pro Pig

The water is really warm now, breaking through 14 degrees C today. No excuse not to get in.

Rhossili Summer Surf

This was the Mentro 10 surf in my #Mentro21 project. Hopefully this swell will hold and we all will be able to get some summer waves, DimExcuses.

Mentro 8. A Misty Midsummer Night’s Surf, Rhossili.

A misty midsummer night's surf

It seemed like the perfect plan, the second longest day, Gower’s furthest west beach, a 9:40pm sunset and high tide six minutes later. But Welsh weather isn’t a fan of perfect plans and this June continues to disappoint, as we headed back to Rhossili Bay for Mentro 8 in the #Mentro21 project. Molly and Sharon were the ready to rock, if you want to roll, surf patrol.

Ready to Rock if you want to Roll

But we arrived to this, with those who had access to weather reports making alternative plans.

Sea mist

The second longest day was set in heavy cloud, which was then hidden by a thick sea mist. Remember when Rhossili Down used to be there?

We have lost Rhossili Down!

Undeterred I was joined by Luke and Hannah as we made our way into mist to venture down into the sea below. Sharon, Molly, Dennis and Susan stayed on the cliff with now almost zero visibility. Dane from Finn Surfing (up and coming Swansea surfwear brand) popped over for a chat and wished us well before we set off.

Misty Wormshead

We got two hours in with Luke and Hannah getting a lot of bodyboard wave time. As we walked up the mist rose a bit with us, and for a while we could see Wormshead.

Misty Gower Surf

But it started to decend again and our hope of seeming the legendary Wormshead sunset were lost, along with our Midsummer Night’s Dreams.

Wormshead

The nights maybe shortening but I have now added catching a Wormshead Sunset to the #Mentro21 goals. We will catch one, DimExcuses.