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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rhossili: why sheep should study aesthetics

I took my cat, Liberty, to the PDSA on Tuesday morning. We normally go by taxi, but finances dictated that we took the bus. Rather than going to Tesco Llansamlet, then getting a taxi from there up to the PDSA, we got the 145 bus which dropped us off at the bottom of the hill leading to the PDSA, and the same back to town. Unfortunately, the cat peed herself in fright even before we got the first bus of the day into town, so I suffered the embarrassment of travelling on two buses, engulfed in the stench of cat pee. Luckily, I anticipated this event, and took spare bedding, which I was able to change whilst the vet was treating the cat. I also had bin bags with me, one of which was put to good use enclosing the sodden bedding, so the stink was contained. We were home by about 11.40, and I realised I had a £3.40 day ticket burning a hole in my pocket, and the day was a sunny one. So it was the case of 'Rhossili, here I come'.

After grabbing a rather greasy and unpleasant rissole and chips for lunch, most of which I gave to the pigeons and seagulls outside the Guildhall, I hopped on a bus into town, in time to get the 14.10 bus to Rhossili. Alas, I developed a vile and stinking headache on the way, which appeared impervious to the super-strength painkillers I took to try to shift it.

It's good to see prominent warnings like these displayed at Rhossili.

However, barely a week passes without someone being stranded on the Worm. These people are often foreigners, I've noticed, so maybe they simply don't understand the English-language warnings. I know big warning signs don't look very aesthetic, but neither is losing your life, or a loved one. So surely, a few foreign language notices ought to be erected as well? In this day of modern technology, surely some kind of high-tech, electronic notice could be erected, which allows users to read a notice in their own language? Or perhaps the English sign could be supplemented by smaller ones in the most popular world languages, French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Mandarin, or whatever. There are still too many people ignoring the warnings. If I had my way, I'd deploy some kind of high-tech entry system at the gate near the National Trust Visitors' Centre, and only those who had read a warning displayed on an electronic screen of some kind, would be allowed through the gate.

I'm trying to get up the energy to brave a walk on Rhossili beach. Getting down there is tough enough, if you have any kind of infirmity. Getting back up is hell. But I want to get closer to Burry Holms to get a few decent shots. Even with the zoom, it's impossible to get good quality images, from three or four miles away.

It might be easier to approach from Llangennith. How much of a walk is it from the village to the beach? Is it all uphill from the beach back to the village?

I was quite surprised to see hundreds of sheep grazing on Rhossili cliffs at this time of year. They're normally in the fields during the tourism season. Most were the typical grubby, off-white colour you'd expect, apart from a couple. This black sheep attracted quite a lot of attention from passers-by.

However, it was this peculiar-looking creature that caught my eye - I thought it was a goat at first, but closer inspection revealed it to be an unusually-marked sheep.

Does this sharp cleft in the cliff have a name? It's such a prominent feature. Is it a natural cleft, or something left behind by some human activity, e.g. quarrying?

I really envied the view this person must have had. Just wish I had the health [and the guts] to give it a go.

Another Rhossili landmark I must really get closer to, is the Old Rectory. I simply cannot get any satisfactory pics of it from a distance.

Maybe I could walk along to the Old Rectory, and then keep going towards Hillend, in order to get closer to Burry Holms. That way, I could avoid the climb back up from Rhossili beach.

I'm so glad I'm not a sheep. They roam free here, at one of the most beautiful places on this planet, but do they appreciate it? Do they hell! All they care about is whether there's enough grass for them to munch.

I envy them the simplicity of their life, but that's where it stops. Imagine if your appreciation of the aesthetic was strictly limited to roots and shoots? Rhossili would just be a big snack bar to you. Having said that, I can think of worse places to eat my lunch.

I just wish I could occasionally spot a sheep looking out to sea and at least seeming as if it was enjoying the view. Daft buggers.

I spotted this eye-catching pattern in the sand below me, as I made my way back to the bus stop. It didn't come out too well in the original pic, so I've Photoshopped it as best I can, to try to show what my eye saw, but the camera failed to capture.

As I took the pic, I got accosted by this character. When I stopped to take a pic of my visitor, the cheeky thing started pecking at my shoes, in a bid to coax food from me. Alas, the only consumables I had on me were a bottle of pop and a tube of extra strong mints.

I spotted these sheep, doing a spot of formation-chomping. It's a shame it wasn't sunset - it would have made a striking image.

Yet again, not a single one enjoying the view. I was so busy enjoying the view and taking pics, I unfortunately stepped back, with no regard for where I was heading, and had a prickly encounter with this thing. Ouch!

I really must get down on to Rhossili beach soon, long slog back or not. Sick of trying to capture the spectacular waves from such a height.

Shortly after these pics, I hopped on a Swansea-bound bus, my headache somewhat alleviated by the sea air, if not totally cured. I hope to make my next Gower trip to Caswell, but it will have to be on a Saturday. Doubt very much if it will be this Saturday, but it will be sometime soon.


The Pig's Lip said...

cool images Sian - love the look of the ocean - the waves look so invigorating

Siani said...

Thanks, Chris - I hope to get down on to that beach soon, but suspect I'll be better off exiting it via Llangennith, rather than trying to haul myself up the cliff path at Rhossili.

Andy said...

Like Chris, love the pictures and the blogsite - professionally done. Been to Rhosili a few times now and loved every minute of it. Living in Carmarthenshire means we have so many attractions of our own that I rarely have the pleasure of the Gower. Shame, I should go more often. Also loved Port Eynon (?) a few years ago. You're very lucky Sian!