The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

WCP: Mumbles Head to Port Eynon

Tuesday 17 March

Distance: 15.6 miles

Weather: Hazy morning, giving way to a glorious afternoon

What a splendid day’s walking that was! Had the weather not been hazy, it would have been coastal walking perfection. Whilst Swansea Bay was perfectly nice, I found it incredible that such a change in surroundings could be gained in the space of a handful of paces, upon rounding Mumbles Head. Suddenly, I was on a rugged coastline, wiggling around, heading up to cliff-tops and down to bays, with gorse predominating around me. Gorgeous!

I confess I was a little worried, about 3 miles in, that the local authority had installed a tarmac/concrete path the whole way around the Gower, as that was what I had been walking thus far …


…however, by the time I reached Caswell Bay (where I should have headed down to the beach at the first opportunity, rather than following the coast path around) the tread had become more natural, and beyond that bay I was happily on grass and dirt paths.

Mick had encountered issues with getting Colin parked at Oxwich, due to a tardy car-park-opening-man, so I didn’t meet him until just east of Threecliff Bay, which you can see in this snap (it is a really bad picture; I do need a new camera, but it wasn’t helped by the haze):


Threecliff Bay is the start of an enormous expanse of sand, which at low tide runs all the way to Oxwich, and it is a stunning location. The coast path would have you wiggle your way across the dunes behind the beach, which surely can’t allow such appreciation of the coastline, but fortunately for me, Mick had already done a recce and established that (if we rushed, to beat the tide) it was possible to get around Great Tor, keeping to the beach for 2.5 glorious miles of firm sand.

We made it around the headland with a matter of moments to spare before it would have required a paddle; half an hour later I was having an early lunch in Colin.

Persuading Mick that joining me for the first half an hour of my afternoon was preferable to sitting reading his book, I led him past a chapel and up 273 steps. That’s a lot of steps, and thus it’s understandable that after undulating gently at that altitude for a short while, he shunned the notion of accompanying me down the steps towards Oxwich Point, on the basis that by the time he got to the bottom it would be time for him to head back.

It’s a shame he couldn’t accompany me along the next section, as it boasted more incredible scenery, by now with the sun bursting through:


At Port Eynon I was (yet again) tempted to continue on another 4.5 miles, but once again managed to talk myself into moderation.

We might have stayed at Port Eynon where (contrary to my internet research) one of the campsites was open. However, when quoted £27 for a bit of grass for the night we reverted to Plan A and are now parked up as the sole occupants of a Certified Location up the road (complete with toilets and showers) for half the price. I do believe that’s the most we have ever been quoted for a night at a campsite.

(As an aside, we spent last night in a large car park, tucked away right at the very far corner from the entrance. At 1am I was woken by a car pulling up right next to us, despite every other space being free. A minute later another car pulled up. I had to know what was going on and thus had a peek out. As they pulled huge multi-part rods out of their boots, I had the answer: fishing. At 1am! They returned at 5am. I struggle to understand the attraction of fishing in the first place, but going out for 4 hours at 1am on a cold night? Madness!)

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