After months of planning and preparation, Karen and I finally commenced our walk around Gower today. This feat has been a ‘bucket list’ idea for a long time as we have holidayed here over many years. Now that we are Gower residents it was something we simply had to do.
Best Laid Plans
I expected there to be some flexibility in the progress as I wasn’t completely sure of the timings and the distances. I say this even though we have reconnoitred all but 6 miles of the walk in the last 9 months. What could go wrong? What beastly occurrence or mishap could hinder us from succeeding in our venture?
The answer is mud! Pure and simple. So much mud. Mud on the footpaths, mud on the rocks, mud on the stiles and complete mud pools in many places. And if it wasn’t mud it was water. Perhaps I should start with our bus ride into Mumbles to commence our walk.
“It’s only five minutes’ walk from here”
We caught the 7.00 a.m. bus to Singleton Hospital and then jumped on the connecting bus to Mumbles. But it doesn’t go to the Mumbles despite advertising ‘Limeslade’ on the front of the bus. Our local bus company has contrived a route to get to Limeslade without going too close to the Mumbles, even though they are next door to each other.
“I’ll drop you at the nearest stop, it’s only five minutes’ walk from there” our bus driver informed us. “Ha! – I laugh in the face of a five minutes’ walk!” I retorted in my best musketeer voice. I didn’t really do that but, rather strangely, I thought it.
We duly arrived at Verdi’s and took the obligatory selfie in front of it. I had this strange feeling of being important and about to be epic. Not sure where that all came from. I wanted to tell complete strangers what we were about to do. I managed to contain myself.
The first four miles were uneventful, and we celebrated with a cup of tea and half each of an expensive welsh cake in the Surf Café at Caswell Bay. Then we walked calmly to Pwlldu Bay, taking the lower path. It was wet but not too bad. After Pwlldu Bay the trouble started. On arriving at the top of the hill to walk around the head we were met with a huge 40-metre-long pool of mud. There was no way around it so we had to take the road route and omit Pwlldu Head entirely.
Lunch was taken at the Cliff Café, Southgate. A favourite eatery of ours and it did not disappoint us today. But the walk to Three Cliff Bay was like mud pool dodgems. We have never seen so much surface water and mud here before. Eventually we got down to the sand to find that the Three Cliff’s river was swollen and could not be easily crossed.
We resigned ourselves to walking inland to Parkmill and back again having crossed the footbridge to navigate the waterway near the lifeguard shed. The tide was low today and we rounded the point easily. The remainder of our walk to Oxwich was uneventful except that our planned destination had been Port Eynon. The mud and water had lost us a couple of hours and we could not make the time up.
Tomorrow we plan to walk from Oxwich to Rhosilli. If that goes well we might extend it to LLangenith. Mud and Water permitting. The final day will be to get us home to Penclawdd. Wish us luck!