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Thursday, November 02, 2006

The lure of Rhossili

I had a medical appointment at 09.30 yesterday morning. After leaving the surgery at around 10.05, I walked along St. Helen's Road, contemplating a walk around the Marina and the new SA1 development. As I headed onto Oxford Street, to cross the car park towards the Grand Theatre and the Quadrant, I spotted the 10.10 118 service waiting at some traffic lights. I had some things to do in town, but as I drifted around, my mind kept returning to an image of the bright green 118. After doing my errands, I found myself in Tesco, buying some sandwiches, a bottle of pop and a bag of Ryvita Minis. After paying a very reasonable £1.68 for my lunch, I headed to the bus station with a few minutes to spare before the 11.10 118.

In less than an hour, I was in Rhossili. Despite the sunshine, there was a northerly breeze and a nip in the air, reminding me that it is, after all, November 1st. The cold was a little uncomfortable at first, but walking warmed me up a little bit. Also, I've noticed that once I get a quarter to a third of the way along the path towards the Worm, it always seems to warm up. I think the cliffs offer some protection from the wind from this point onwards.

Despite the breeze, the sea itself was fairly calm, and the Worm itself looked serene, bathed in early winter sunshine.

When I was at Rhossili a fortnight ago, the place was teeming with fungi. Sadly, there were very few around yesterday, and the ones I did find were very leathery and on their last legs.

When I reached the old coastguard hut, I spotted an annoying old fart I vaguely know, and took a detour to avoid him. I have little time for the old guy in question, because he's often a bit inebriated, has poor personal hygiene, and waffles on for hours about not a lot. As I stood overlooking the Worm, I realised the old bugger was heading my way. Oh no you don't, I thought, and in sheer desperation, I started to head down the steps, towards the patch of greenery at the bottom.

The last time I wandered down here, about eighteen months ago, I only got about a third of the way down. I was so wobbly on my feet at the time, I could barely keep my footing, and was forced to ascend. Today, I only had a little bit of trouble, whilst stepping down off some of the steeper steps, onto the chippings. I combated the problem by stepping down sideways. Anything to get away from the old fart!

To my surprise, I made it to the bottom of the cliff with very little difficulty. It was only when I stepped on to the green, looked up and spotted these people, that I realised I had to get back up the cliff again at some point. Ugh!

I quickly forgot about the climb ahead, when I began to explore new terrain. I was amazed by the treacherous sharpness of the rocks on the shoreline below. Imagine being in an old wooden vessel, getting slammed up against these, on a dark, stormy winter's night?

As I started heading in the direction of the Worm, to try to snap it from a new angle, an unusual, stubby-winged bird flew past me. Certain I'd spotted my first ever puffin, I picked up speed, and headed up a slope, in the direction in which the super-speedy little bird had vanished.

As I reached the top of the rise, I proceeded with caution, as I suspected I'd find a sharp drop to the ocean below. I wasn't wrong. I could see no puffins, or birds of any kind, but I spotted this massive rock, jutting out into the sea from the cliff's base.

I decided to head in the opposite direction, after my fruitless puffin quest, towards a large, distant headland. As I walked along the green, I spotted this peculiar little stone circle in a clearing amongst the vegetation. I wondered what, if anything, it commemorated.

Shortly afterwards, I took my favourite shot of the day, looking towards the headland. Does anyone know what it's called?

I then decided to ascend the cliff, thinking it would take me about twenty minutes. I didn't want to miss the 14.12 bus, as I had a Pullman's day ticket, which I couldn't use on my local First Cymru buses, so I needed to connect with another Pullman's service at 15.30 from the Quadrant, which would drop me off at home. If I'd missed that service, there wouldn't have been another one for two hours.

As it turned out, it took me less than five minutes to get back up the cliff, something which astounded me. I wasn't out of breath, and didn't struggle at all. I've lost a couple of stone in weight over the last two or three months, so that may well have helped. I took a very leisurely stroll back to the village, arriving with about fifteen minutes to spare before the bus was due.

Upon my return to town, after lugging a ten ton bag of cat litter from Wilkinson to the bus station, I made it well in time for the bus that drops me right by my house. I hope to get out and about some more this week, as several days of sunshine have been forecast. I'll post any decent pics I take.

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