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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thrifty walk from Caswell to Langland

Long post alert: just look at the photos, if you can't be bothered to read it all!

I took another impromptu trip to Gower yesterday. I headed out to the vet's to get some prescription food for my cat. My only other planned destination was town. But for some bizarre reason, when I hopped on the bus, instead of asking for a single to town, I asked for a £2.70 ticket. Habit, I guess. I only realised what I'd done after I'd sat down, and the bus took off. Too late to change it, then.

After buying a few bits and bobs in Wilkinson, I decided I'd take my shopping home and go back out again, and probably head for somewhere like Pennard. I tried desperately to catch the bus that would drop me outside my gate, but the Quadrant was thronging with absolute imbeciles. No other way to describe them. No matter how many times I politely asked them to shift out of the way, I either got 'you what, love?', ignored or sniggered at. Yes, we're talking shirtless adolescent males in droves. Bring back National Service, I say! Anyway, I missed the poxy bus, and ended up hopping on a Newton bus instead.

I intended heading for Langland again, and sitting there for an hour or so, before heading back. I certainly had no strenuous activity in mind, as I had a couple of bags of shopping. They weren't heavy, but I didn't really fancy lugging them, either. But for some bizarre reason, I decided to stay on, and got off at the end of Caswell Drive.

It's been about four or five years since I last went to Caswell, and for some reason, had it in my head that it was an almighty trek from the bus stop down to the bay. Not so. It took me no more than seven or eight minutes to get there, at ambling speed.

The bay itself was pretty busy. All the takeaways, cafes, etc were open and doing good trade. Being me, I immediately headed away from the crowds, and hordes of shrieking kids. First obstacle was the stream which runs along the beach, but it gets shallower closer to the tide line, so it was pretty easy to cross. I headed west, to the far end of the beach.

Conditions weren't exactly conducive to photography, but I gave it a go anyway. As I wondered along, I found myself thinking, "where's the church gone?", as I looked at this tree-lined, rocky outcrop. Then I thought, "silly bugger, wrong beach". Why I thought I was in Oxwich for a moment, I'll never know. Probably the same reason I bought the wrong bus ticket - encroaching madness.

I was surprised, when I looked east, to see a few people in the water. It wasn't the warmest of days, especially at that particular time, around 13.30.

This house is being renovated. I wonder if it's still a private residence, or if it's being turned into holiday accommodation? Lucky beggars, whoever they are.

The residents of these apartments must have a similar view, although the block itself is not so pleasing to the eye. I wish there were better planning controls in place on Gower.

As I focused my camera on these rocks, I noticed one of them had some kind of metal loop sticking out of it. Probably something to do with boat mooring, I guess.

I also noticed this strange little archway in the cliff face.

I sat on some rocks just below an apartment block for a while. But a quick glance at the incoming tide, and the realisation that my perch was well below the high tide mark, was enough to make me move. I didn't fancy becoming cut off, and having to scramble over rocks and into a private garden, just to escape. As I headed back east, I spotted this curious, man-made structure in the cliffs. Is it a bridge of some kind? It looks like it could be part of an overhead walkway or path.

I spotted a large clump of pink thrift growing on the cliff face, adjacent to the cliff path. I went up there to take some shots of it, intending to go no further.

I found myself continuing along the path, wondering at the wisdom of my decision. But it felt nicer up there than it did on the rapidly-filling beach.

Then, I spotted another huge clump of thrift up ahead, so I forgot about turning around and heading back.

I kept going, surprised at the volume of foot traffic on the cliffs. I'm often wary of walking along here alone, as past walks have been quite isolated. As it's a Bank Holiday weekend, I guess that explains the hordes. I'm so glad I kept going. I came across a grassy bank absolutely amassed with tiny scarlet pimpernel flowers. Along with thrift, it's one of my favourite wild flowers, and to see it in such a rare, massive concentration, was breathtaking.

I got some weird looks from a snotty-looking couple, as I squatted down to take my pics, the silly sods. I don't know what it is about certain la-di-dah types I meet on my Gower walks, but they don't half give real nature lovers some funny looks. I guess it's cool to enjoy the great outdoors, just so long as you don't risk getting yourself dirty. In my eyes, that's half the fun.

As I ploughed on, irked by my silly shoulder bag sliding around, and the weight of my shopping bags, I vowed to dig out my backpack and plan my next walking trip properly. I was hoping Langland was just around the distant corner I could see the path snaking around.

My discomfort was eased by the sight and smell of this honeysuckle.

I wonder if these guys had any luck? Hope not, for the fish's sake.

I was frustrated to see Caswell wasn't that far behind me, even after walking for a while.

Then, I smelt another gorgeous perfume in the air, and soon spotted this lovely dog rose at the cliff's edge.

Not so welcome a sight was this inshore lifeboat shooting past. Moments later, a helicopter flew over, but I've no idea of the two were connected. I didn't get a good look, but I think it may have been the police chopper. Definitely not the RAF or the air ambulance.

I was starting to feel pleased with myself, as Caswell finally started to shrink into the distance.

My smile faded as I looked ahead. As I set out on my walk, I'd been convinced this hateful hill was on the Langland to Limeslade stretch of the cliff path. Damn! I HATE this hill so much.

Having survived the ascent, and the rough descent the other side, I was rewarded by a view of these two birds. I wasn't able to tell if they were shags or cormorants, from my vantage point. Any ideas? I think they may be juvenile cormorants.

As I spotted yet another mass of thrift, I realised Langland really was just around the corner this time.

There were numerous benches at this spot, the first I'd seen since well before the nasty hill. So I sat for a couple of minutes, and refuelled with some Apple Tango and some sweeties. Feeling refreshed, and spurred on by the thought of a nice cuppa just around the corner, I carried on. But not before I took another couple of shots.

Finally, I found myself skirting the golf course, watching a number of pleasure craft in Langland Bay.

The tide was in so I wasn't able to repeat my walk from Langland to Rotherslade, over the beach. So I made my way along the path, heading towards the Rother's Tor cafe. I spotted this rosa rugosa peeping out through a gap in a fence, and got a very strange look from the householder as I took this shot - had no idea she was in the garden.

About five minutes later, I was sprawled on a bench outside the cafe, with a generous, steaming mug of cappuccino. There was no sign of the ball-playing ladies today. After finishing my drink, I began my climb up Rotherslade Road, to the bus stop at Langland Corner. I was glad I'd worn my new hiking boots, even though they're not 100% broken in yet. I think they, as well as my mega-expensive hiking socks, kept my feet in reasonable shape. All the same, I was feeling the strain during the last part of the climb. As I neared the top of the hill, I spotted this foxglove growing at the edge of some one's property.

I quickly headed off after this last shot, and a Swansea-bound bus arrived within five minutes of me reaching the stop. After a quick foray into Tesco, I was homeward-bound, on the bus that drops me off by my gate. I'd had enough of walking for one day.

Additional pics can be seen on the latest post on A Picture of Gower.

1 comment:

jams o donnell said...

Wonderful Siani. I wish I was there!