Mentro 1. Newgale, Pembrokeshire, Easter Sunday 2015.

Newgale Pebbles

I have a project this year to get in the water surfing at least 21 times. I am calling this project Mentro 21, with mentro being Welsh for ‘to venture’. With a sunny Easter Sunday and a small wave predicted, where better to start the first surf (Mentro 1) than Newgale Bay in Pembrokeshire.

Newgale

We arrived to a lovely small one foot wave, but this tailed off towards the falling tide as midday went into afternoon.

Perfect Right

With a lack of surf adventure Molly was happy to step in for some action shots.

Baywatch Molly

She even brought some friends…

Molly, Leader of the Pack

…and made some new ones.

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The sand level was very low and the low tide was exposing some quite bizarre sand banks. The children were finding these sandbanks get new lands to conquer.

Sandbanks

The dogs were more interested in the rivers the sandbanks were creating.

New Rivers

Molly supervising Eddie here in some serious bobbing for pebbles.

Pebble Bobbing

We put Molly in the van for five minutes, to try and get her to take a break from charging up and down the beach with her mates.

VW Molly

She wasn’t happy.

Moody Bulldog

And was soon nosing out the window.

Nosing out the Window

So we let her back out on the beach…

Molly Newgale

…and in those sandbank rivers.

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Those who had struck when the iron was hot, and got in on the early tide had been rewarded with a lovely little wave.

Morning Surf

By the evening I was in less luck, but there was no way I wasn’t going to ‘mentro allan’ (venture out) for the first surf of the year. So I was a lonesome figure as I walked into the ripples.  That is me tiny on the right (Get your reading glasses on).

Evening Ripples

Here I am in the line up.

Evening Line Up

Well basically I was the line up, but I got some small waves and got my hair wet for the first time this year. It wasn’t too cold even though the water temperature is nine degrees at the moment.

Newgale

Mentro 1, the first surf of the year done. The next 20 hopefully will have a bit more action, like Molly here.

Splash

Whatever happens you can’t beat Newgale when the sun is shining like that and it was great see friends and family down on the beach enjoying it too.  We had left home at 9.30 am and we got home at 11 pm. One seriously great sunny day.

Newgale Beach

With a fantastic Easter Sunday in the bag, we are now looking at a sunnier Bank Holiday Monday. Molly is in a bit of an adventure coma, so I think a simple day at Oxwich, Gower for us today. You should get out too, DimExcuses.

 

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Seen from a watcher’s point of view. DimExcuses Behind the Scenes Christmas Special.

DimExcuses

When not writing and photographing Wild West Wales, I like to get in the water and try and get some waves.  I am often dragging my long suffering girlfriend Sharon down the Gower, West Wales, or even on the ferry over to France. Like me Sharon likes to snap away when we are on our adventures, you can see our 2013 France trip here, and our 2014 trip here.

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As a change from normal proceedings I have got Sharon’s camera and have put together the best shots of me on our travels. A behind the lens look at the man behind DimExcuses.

DimExcuses Pobbles Bay

From the sunniest Pobbles Bay, Gower gets above, to beaches of Brittany, France below.

Wave Graffiti

Our long stays in Newgale West Wales ensures that we see some good waves. Getting bashed by them…

Taking a hit!

…and occasionally riding them.

DimExcuses Newgale

Always accompanied by Molly the French Bulldog / Boston Terrier cross (Frenchton).  she is my surf coach…

DimExcusesSurf Bulldog

…Lifeguard (please note I am in the photo below too)…

Molly the Lifeguard

…equipment checker…

Molly Equipment Checker

…and chief mechanic! Here she is helping Dennis Halpin get his exhaust back on.

Molly Bulldog Mechanic

It would have been a logistical nightmare to take Molly to France, so we left her with the Cwm Tawel Yurt Glamping Crew in Bridgend, and got back out to the French sun and surf.

Cote Sauvage

Catching some waves on the Cote Sauvage.

DimExcuses Cote Sauvage

Obviously it wouldn’t be true DimExcuses behind the scenes without a apres-surf glass of French Wine!

Wine Time DimExcuses

Here is the full gallery of my DimExcuses adventures (click to view the slideshow)

Sharon, Molly and I hope to get up to similar adventures in 2015! So Merry Christmas and Nadolig Llawen from us here in Wild West Wales, have a good one, DimExcuses.

The Old Oak. DimExcuses MTB Ride, Derwen Trail, Brechfa.

Raven's Wings

This is just a glimpse of my favourite and trusted trail, ‘Y Dderwen’ (Welsh for ‘The Oak’) trail in Brechfa, Carmarthenshire.  It is only a glimpse as I forgot my phone and couldn’t map the trail on GPS for you.  The trail is situated in the Brechfa Trial Centre in wild west Wales and can be found on the Cognation website.  The trail centre also hosts the Gorlech red trail and the famous Raven black trail.  The Raven shares the same car park and linking fire roads as the Derwen trail we were riding.  The Gorlech trail can be found further up the road with its own car park at Abergorlech.  The fantastic Raven’s Wings sculpture is in the carpark for weekend warriors to get their facebook and blog photos (above), ahem…

The Derwen is in two parts and is ideal for entry level rider or a family.  The first part is the green loop that is 9 km long with some moderate climbs and descents.  At the midway point in the green loop you can opt for the more challenging blue  route.  This adds an additional 5 km to the ride, a challenging climb and incredibly fun rollercoaster decent.  A group of differing abilities could split into two at this point with some doing the blue run and the others waiting further on at one of the picnic benches and shelters provided.  Below is one of the much needed bench stops.

Bench stop

Here we are below at the summit of blue trail.  Myself and first time DimExcuses riders Sam Donaldson and Paul Jones.

us brave few...

We were lucky with the weather, but I would class this as an all weather trail for the hardy rider.  Obviously the wetter it is the more technical the riding becomes, especially over loose stone sections and areas where puddles develop.

Bench

It is a great ride, designed and built by Rowan Sorrel.  He has a great understanding of trails, and I find is green / blue routes designed to really flow.  A slower rider can easily follow the track, while a more experienced rider can get a lot out of the berms and table tops along the way.

Post ride

I find the 15 km of both trails combined  a perfect length for the less regular rider looking for a day out.  We were around the trail and back at the carpark in less than 2 hours.  It was then a case of heading up the road to Abergorlech for some home cooked local food in the Black Lion Pub.  We must be charmed because just as our food was being served along with a well earned pint of IPA ale, the heavens opened and in came the weekend’s heavy rain showers.

Rain at the Black Lion

As the Derwen is my favourite route, and one I like to share with people new to trail centres, I will soon be back and this time I may remember my phone, DimExcuses.

Dub be good to me. Volksfest Wales, Carmarthen August 2013.

The start of August saw me attending my second Volkfest, which was also being held for a second year in Carmarthenshire Show Ground.  The weekend camping was a bargain £25 with full show entry.  I arrived Friday night under a cloudy Carmarthen sky but the rain held off long enough for everyone to get their pitches set up.

Carmarthen clouds

When the rain did turn up in the evening, we were all safe and dry watching the bands under the cover of the large events shed.  This was massive and everyone fitted into it no problem.  I made myself at home along with my bulldog buddy Winnie.

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Winnie and I settled back to watch the bands and enjoy our evening, before calling it a night and getting some shut eye ready to be up and at it for the rest of the Volksfest Wales weekend.

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Winnie has been getting upto all sorts of adventures this Summer, and you can follow them at #AdventuresOfWinnie or on my Twitter feed @DimExcuses.  She was sporting her VW bandana especially for the weekend, and taking no nonsense.

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I can assure you now that rumours Winnie and I were at Volksfest Wales 2013 in this massive adventure bus are not true.  It must have been another South Wales celebrity, Dainton from Dirty Sanchez and Kill City Skateboards was spotted at the show but I can confirm this wasn’t his either.

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Next on the agenda Saturday afternoon was to catch with our favourite Carmarthen local band Idiot Box, who played a set out of the hanger to the whole show ground which was now basking in the Welsh Summer Sun.

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As the Sun continued Saturday, so did the fun.  We were in the same field as Rothfink Industries.  They are a crazy VW apparel company with a cruising retro style.

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I can’t even explain the next picture?  Maybe you can get some answers at their website www.rothfink.com.

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As the sunny Saturday at Volksfest Wales moved into the evening we were back at the main stage for more bands and a couple of pints.  After a great night we woke up Sunday to the Welsh weather, but by then nothing could ruin a great VW weekend.

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I will definitely be back next year and DimExcuses so should you.

A belated happy New Year from Wild West Wales! Tenby 2012/13

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My New Years Resolution is to try and do a better job of keeping my Blog up to date.  I am going to try and blog at least twice a month and never more than twice a day.  Anyway a belated Happy New Year!  This year I was offered a chance to stay in a cottage in Tenby, which is lovely as always and pictured above. 

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After a take away Chinese meal and a few drinks with friends, we got our jackets on in true Welsh style, and made our way to the main square where the party was in full swing.

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The busy pubs started to pour onto the street for the midnight hour and the fancy dress was very impressive! 

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As the countdown to midnight ended balloons were released onto the crowd.  The balloons were then followed by a great fireworks display. It was a fantastic atmosphere and I would definitely recommend Tenby as a venue for next New Years Eve.

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