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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Languid at Langland

I was in two minds whether to go to Langland or not. On the one hand, I still felt cruddy, although much better than I did at Rhossili. On the other hand, it was only just gone 2 pm, and it seemed a shame to waste a sunny day, and the day ticket I'd bought. I'd only had an hour in Rhossili, so I decided to get my money's worth.

Arriving at Langland, I took an unfamiliar route to the seafront, via Langland Bay Road. My previous handful of visits to Langland have been via the cliff path from Caswell, or Rotherslade Road. I was surprised by the hairpin bend I encountered as I walked down, and very relieved to see traffic lights either side of the bend. I could just imagine the carnage that could occur at this vicious twist in the road, if there were no traffic calming measures in place. I bet the residents of the aptly named Hairpin Cottage, right on the bend itself, must be grateful too, otherwise they could be in danger of finding a car in their lounge. Despite the traffic lights, I encountered a fair share of morons, as I approached the tree-lined end of my walk to the beach. A smug-looking young executive type in his twenties, literally forced me into the gutter as he sped past in his BMW convertible. Then I had to take similar evasive action, when a mid-thirties executive type thundered past in a BMW 4x4. What is is about men, powerful cars and sunshine? It's a deadly mix.

Anyway, I reached the seafront in one piece, and found it to be very busy. Although it was windier than it had been at Rhossili, it was still pleasant. I didn't need my thermal hat and gloves, and felt comfortably warm in a fleece, with a woolly jumper over it. I took my time to stroll in the direction of Rotherslade.

Until the week before Christmas, I hadn't been to Langland since 2002. And before that, I think it was a good sixteen years or so since I'd been there. I'm getting to quite like the place, although I imagine it will be too crowded for comfort in the summer. It's crowded enough on a sunny day in mid-February. The one thing that saddens me about Langland, is the haphazard, and quite frankly, ugly way in which it has been developed. In fact, it stands as a salutary lesson in how not to develop the rest of Gower. The older houses are character-filled and inoffensive. However, more recent developments, such as purpose-built apartment blocks, are an absolute blight on the place, especially that monstrosity overshadowing the cafe at Rotherslade. However, the two dogs in the first two pics I took, seem unconcerned by such matters.

With huge, powerful waves breaking on the shore, I was surprised by the absence of surfers. I know nothing about surfing, so maybe the conditions were not as ideal as they seemed to my untrained eyes.

I was delighted to see a cormorant, or possibly a shag, swooping over the water, before it dived in. I tried hard to capture it on camera as it dived and re-surfaced repeatedly, but my camera's zoom just isn't powerful enough. The bird doesn't show up at all in the next two pics, although it was definitely there.

Finally, I managed to capture this far from satisfactory image. Oh well, one day, when finances improve, I may finally have a camera with all the features I'd like.

I simply wasn't fast enough to capture the more spectacular of the waves that crashed ashore. However, these next images give a rough idea of how dramatic the waves were.

When I reached Rotherslade, the tables and benches outside the cafe were all fully occupied. After standing by the railings for about five minutes, looking out to sea, someone vacated one of the benches, so I grabbed it. It was hard to believe it was mid-February, as I basked in the sun. Insulated against the cold by my fleece and jumper, it felt more like April or early May. I contemplated getting a coffee, but I heard someone say that the cafe proprietors were waiting for the mugs to go through the dishwasher, and couldn't serve any more drinks for a few minutes. I was also reluctant to leave my seat, as I knew it would be filled immediately I vacated it. Not long after I sat down, a lady sat next to me. After a couple of minutes, I noticed, to my horror, that she had a big dog with her. However, he was as good as gold, and didn't come anywhere near me. So I managed to stay calm, and remain seated long enough to take a photo of him, with his owner's permission, of course.

Starting to feel a little worse for wear again, I headed back up Rotherslade Road, to get a bus from Langland Corner. As I waited, I was amused to see a little old man in a flat cap, pootling out of Higher Lane, in his little car. Instead of driving across the main road, and through the traffic islands onto the correct side of the road, he simply swung out, straight down the hill towards Newton Road, on the wrong side of the road. He only corrected his error, when some cars came around the corner, directly at him.

The trip back to town took forever, as it seemed half of Swansea had headed to Mumbles to enjoy the fine weather. When I got back, I made a quick foray into Wilkinon's, for cat food and household items, before heading home. Sad as this sounds, I was in bed by around 17.15, and stayed there until five this morning.


The Pig's Lip said...

I love exploring the rocks here at low time - they are full of fossils and have a great colony of honeycomb worms.

Siani said...

I hope to time my next visit to coincide with a low tide. I'd love to see the fossils.