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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rotherslade and Langland

I paid an impromptu visit to Langland on Monday. I needed a day ticket anyway, so before heading to my own personal hell, a.k.a Christmas shopping, I hopped on a Newton bus. Langland isn't a place I've ever really visited. I usually just pass through when I take one of my occasional strolls along the cliffs from Caswell to Limeslade - something I haven't done for three or four years.

I was half tempted to stay at home, as the weather didn't look too promising from my window.

This guy looked so snug and cosy tucked up underneath my fleece blanket, I contemplated curling up with him and going to sleep for a couple of hours. But I headed out, and hoped for the best, weather-wise.

When I reached the end of Rotherslade Road and got my first glimpse of a moody, stormy-looking bay, I started to regret my trip. It looked as if the heavens were about to crack open and drown me.

I was initially quite disorientated upon arrival at Rotherslade, thanks to the massive, Benidorm-style, pristine-white apartment block that greeted me. I thought, 'where the blue f*** am I'? Then I remembered all the controversy about knocking down the old hotel, and rocks showering down on cafe visitors, when the cliff was blasted to make way for the over-priced apartments. So that's it, I thought. Ugly looking thing.

I hauled myself up the steep incline beside the apartments, and along past the railings towards Langland. Although it looked quite hazy, the skies over Langland offered the first promise of an inprovement in the weather.

As I walked along, I spotted this grand-looking old edifice, Langland Bay Manor as it's known these days. Its previous incarnation was as the Langland Bay Hotel, I believe. It started off life as the home of one of the Crawshays, the famous eighteenth and nineteenth century iron masters.

As I walked past the old house, I realised the sky was developing more and more blue patches.

When I looked back towards Rotherslade, I was amazed to see a blue sky, where, ten minutes previously, it had been overcast and murky.

A few more people appeared on the beach and along the path. Unfortunately, a few had great huge hounds with them, leaping and bounding towards me like great, hairy crocodiles. I wish people would keep their dogs on leads.

Realising the time, and that I had to be back in town soon, I turned and headed back towards Rotherslade. When I spotted this palm tree against a blue sky, I found it hard to believe I was walking along the Welsh coast in late December, especially as I was getting uncomfortably warm.

As I overlooked this rock, I realised, too late, that the cafe at Rotherslade was open. As I approached, I spotted a notice on the cafe's door, stating it would only be closed for Christmas Day.

After trudging back up Rotherslade Road to Langland Corner, I had just a short wait before a bus arrived. The city centre was so vile and overcrowded when I got back, I wish I'd stayed at Langland for an hour or two. The only positive aspect of my foray into town, was this view of Kilvey Hill and St. Thomas, bathed in the light of the setting sun, as I waited for a bus at Parc Tawe.

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