The DimExcuses End of Summer Walk is in its ninth year, and this is my 6th time on this epic big Gower walk. We have always been lucky. This 19 mile, 9 hour end of summer ritual has generally been great weather, and our irresponsible approach to never checking the tide times has never stung us too badly…
The start of this years walk was no exception. It hasn’t been the best summer, but as we waited by the bus stop in Killay, to get the first Gower bus to Rhossili, the sun was starting to sneak out.
There were eleven of us on the bus, and we got over the first hurdle of getting the driver to let our massive wolf on! Technically a Husky, German Shepard cross, Oakley is definitely quite dire wolf in appearance.
Arriving at Rhossili we were met with End of Summer Walk first timer Lauren, bringing us up to twelve walkers. Lauren wasn’t the only new feet, we were also joined by Ellie, Ben, Ian, Ffion and Harry, all who had never undertaken this epic effort before. A quick team picture with the famous Rhossili Bay in the background and we were off!
A forced march cross-country taking in the amazing South Gower cliffs and we were soon in Port Eynon.
The fantastic staff at the Captains Table had reserved us a table and bent the breakfast deadline to sort us out with breakfasts of varying size. Obviously I had a big breakfast as it was a big walk. After thoroughly enjoying our breakfasts, it was team photo two, before making the sheltered coastal walk to Oxwich. The weather was fantastic, we couldn’t believe how lucky we were (at this point).
We were soon sitting at the Oxwich Bay Hotel enjoying a pint in the sunshine. At that point friends and relatives were ringing us to say the rain was coming down in sheets in Swansea and heading our way.
We were still in buoyant mood, we could see the rainfall in the distance but we seemed to be skirting past it.
It was at this point we realised that it was almost high tide and Tor Bay was totally cut off by the tide. This meant we have to do a huge sandy climb over Little Tor. The view was quite spectacular back to Oxwich Bay.
It was then that that rain hit us. Right when we were most exposed on Penmaen Cliffs…
…and we still had the problem that it was high tide at Three Cliffs Bay and we had another hard sandy climb ahead of us. Our luck had well and truly run out. This was the hardest the End of Summer Walk has ever been. I even thought we would not make it to Southgate.
We made it to the Southgate Club like drowned rats. There was talk of abandoning the walk there, but that was quickly dismissed as not the DimExcuses way. The new walkers were some of the most keen to press on to the end! My girlfriend Sharon and our dog Molly came to our rescue bringing some dry clothes to the Southgate Club and taking our drenched ones. Apologies to the football crowd in the Southgate who suddenly had eleven soaking walkers changing around them in the busy pub.
As we changed the weather opened up again and we continued on to Pwll Du Bay before the final climb to Bishopston and the Joiners Arms. Sharon came to our rescue again ferrying people back to their cars in Killay.
Next year we will change the end of the walk to double back to the Gower Inn which is on the bus route back to the cars.
So our luck did finally run out, but we took it in our stride and completed the ninth DimExcuses End of Summer Walk. A full gallery of images is below. Next year is the tenth anniversary walk, so you need to be on it with us, DimExcuses.