Gower

Present: Rhoda (organiser), Belinda, Will, Sarah, Bruce, Richard N, Jan, Claire, Alan, Joanne, Steve, Catherine, Maggie, Trudi, Jo, Keyna, Simon H, Richard C

Location: Rhossili Village Hall bunkhouse

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Although the Bank Holiday weather forecast was on the traditional side (i.e. not promising), we set off for the Gower holding on to the hope that the peninsula would somehow miss the threatened rain. Certainly Friday night was fine: those who congregated in the Worm’s Head Hotel for dinner were treated to fabulous sunset views over Rhossili Bay.

On Saturday, Richard N’s plan was to catch the bus to Port Eynon and walk back along the coast before tackling the Worm’s Head. Getting 18 people up, ready, and out of the bunkhouse for an 8.45am bus was always going to be challenging, and so it proved: some made it, some decided not to bother, and one (Maggie) was left in the middle of the road with her bootlaces undone as the bus departed without her. The “decided not to bother” group, which comprised Claire, Alan, Sarah, Bruce, Will, Belinda, Keyna, Simon and by default Maggie, set out instead to walk the other way, east, along the coast, meeting up with Richard’s group for a snack stop partway along the southern stretch of the peninsula. There were plenty of beetles on the path for coleoptery expert Jo to identify, including green tiger beetles, oil beetles, and the interestingly-named bloody-nosed beetle. The eastbound group stopped at Horton for lunch and beach cricket (Bruce having brought the cricket kit along at Alan’s special request). As usual, some took the game far more seriously than others: walkers along that part of the path were probably quite startled to hear Alan insulting Keyna’s Aussie roots when she failed to take a catch. It was then on to Oxwich for a drink in the pub (and a cream tea for Simon) before walking along the sands of Oxwich Bay and up to the bus stop in Penmaen. There was a 50-minute wait for the bus, which then took the scenic route and nearly an hour to cover the 2 miles back to Rhossili thanks to narrow lanes, tricky manoeuvres and an excess of parked cars in Horton which led to prolonged discussion, much interest from the inhabitants of the village hall, a 15-point turn, and a round of applause from everyone on board.

Fortunately everyone was back in time for the 3-course meal that awaited: Steve and Joanne’s watercress soup, Richard and Jan’s variety of tagines with couscous, Keyna’s amazing salad, and Rhoda’s meringues with fruit and cream. We then adopted the default NMC position of sitting around, drinking, and chatting as late into the evening as we could manage.

On Sunday Claire led a walk north along Rhossili Down and across to Llanmadoc, where we had a pub stop once we managed to find the pub. We then carried on towards Whiteford Point, where the lighthouse proved similarly elusive: it took a lot of map examination during our lunch stop to work out how exactly we’d got turned around. Maggie enjoyed the bird hide at the point where we stopped, although she seemed to think the birds would be inside the hide… Lighthouse finally located, some ventured out to examine it at closer quarters, while the rest started the long slog along Whiteford Sands and then Rhossili Beach. We did manage to cut the corner off by going through a caravan park, which also happened to supply much-needed toilets and ice creams. Having covered 15 miles or so, we were very glad to get back to the bunkhouse for tea and cake.

In the evening we got the BBQ going (although it was a little chilly to sit outside), and Julie, William and family joined us from their nearby accommodation. There were also delicious leftovers from Saturday night on offer. Catherine and Keyna disappeared off to the pub, and returned much later, after many had gone to bed.

On Monday there were a variety of activities. Rhoda had organised horse riding for her, Keyna, Richard C and Jo. Sarah, Bruce, Alan, Claire, Steve, Joanne, Will and Belinda decided to reprise the beach cricket: rather than go on a walk first, they headed straight towards the beach 5 minutes from the bunkhouse. However, that was deemed unsuitable due to the steep descent, and the next bay round was covered by the tide. Therefore a walk was necessary after all: round to Rhossili, where we encountered Julie’s family who were bodyboarding and kite flying. There was plenty of space for the cricket, although the cold wind made standing around a rather unattractive proposition. Tom joined in while still wearing his wetsuit, and William’s kite had an unfortunate encounter with a local dog. Eventually it was time to head home, after an ice cream stop – and NO RAIN all weekend!

Sarah Davies

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