Coasting

We’ve been rather lucky in the past week that our leave from work coincided with some of the best weather we’ve enjoyed for some time.

Beach at Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula

We spent the first few days working on the house and garden, with a long hot day digging and weeding my MIL’s garden, and various other tasks. Later in the week, though, we took some time for ourselves and decided to spend a couple of days exploring the wonderful coastline that we are lucky enough to have nearby.

Laugharne Castle, Laugharne, Carmarthenshire

Capsized boat at Laugharne

We began with a visit to Laugharne (pronounced Larn), in Carmarthenshire, a first for both of us.

Dylan Thomas' Boathouse, LaugharneAfter exploring the town and peeking into the writing shed of Dylan Thomas, and the Boathouse where he and his family lived for the last four years of his life, we continued on to Tenby for the afternoon. There we strolled along the cliffs and beach in the sunshine, enjoying the obligatory ice cream before piling back to the car.

Glimpse of Rhossili Bay from the cliffs

The following day, we headed for the Gower, and an old favourite: Llangennith Sands at Rhossili Bay. Three miles of golden sand arcs along the coastline here between Rhossili and Llangennith, and we walked most of its length along and back, enjoying the fresh sea air and watching the tide slowly roll out.

Llangennith Sands, Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula

A path snakes down the cliffs to the beach from the car park at Rhossili, spilling its travellers straight out onto the top of the beach, just above the remains of the shipwrecked Helvetia which ran aground here in 1887.

Part of the wreckage of the Helvetia, run aground on Llangennith Sands in 1887

Llangennith Sands, Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, South Wales

I love the white house that sits alone on the brink of the beach, gazing out upon the vast splendour of sand and sea. This is the Old Rectory, now a National Trust property, and used for filming in Torchwood: Miracle Day. What a wonderful place it must be to wake up, summer or winter.

Old Rectory above Llangennith Sands, Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula, South Wales

On our visit, the beach was almost deserted, with children back at school, and it was a wonderful peaceful walk. We stopped for a while and tried to fly King of the Hill’s kite, but the wind was not constant enough, and we only managed to get it airborne for a few minutes during several attempts. The thermals were obviously more successful, and we counted 15 paragliders circling overhead at one time.

Llangennith Sands, Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula

We paddled our feet on the way back along the beach, in the cold cold water – we’ve swam here before, but this year there hasn’t been enough sun to warm the water, so we didn’t go far. Returning to the cliff top, we then walked along the cliff path towards the Old Coastguard Lookout.

Old Coastguard Lookout, Rhossili

A track leads down from here towards the water, and at low tide it is possible to walk across to the tidal island known as the Worm’s Head.

Worm's Head, Gower peninsula

With the tide low, people could be seen clambering along those rocks, and it’s something that we’ve marked for a future visit – with careful planning to allow plenty of time to get there and back safely. In the meantime, we made our way back to the car (via another ice cream) before driving home, after a lovely day.

It’s so easy to forget what is on our doorstep, relatively speaking, and these trips have just whetted our appetite to keep exploring the magic of South Wales. It’ll be a hard return to work again next week, after such a beautiful interlude…

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14 thoughts on “Coasting

  1. What memories you have bought back to me! By coincidence I was thinking about the Helvetia wreck today. I spent my childhood and teens on the Gower and did the walk from Rhosilli to Llangennith many times – there is nowhere I have seen as beautiful. We used to fish off the Worms head stranding ourselves on the island for hours when the tide cut it off – so very exciting. Your pictured remind me a visit is long overdue.

    • What a mad coincidence indeed. And what wonderful childhood memories, it really is a beautiful place, we had forgotten just how much, so didn’t even take the ‘proper’ camera (instantly regretting that as soon as we arrived). Exciting times, waiting for the tide to turn to go home, made me laugh… we must go back more often – especially in these quieter seasons when we almost have the place to ourselves.

  2. Your leave was well timed with the lovely weather and you’ve got some lovely places on your doorstep for a visit. We haven’t spent a lot of time over there since we moved to Wales but we do like Three Cliffs beach. Would love to visit Laugharne. Maybe one for next spring.

    • I know, we couldn’t have picked a better week if we’d tried! We haven’t been out and about nearly enough since I moved to Wales either, spending the past few years buried in work on the house and garden, but finally that is starting to change. South Wales has some very beautiful coastline; we passed signs to Three Cliffs, will have to visit there another time.
      And then there’s West Wales and North Wales to explore too… and never enough holiday!

  3. Glad you re-connected with what has to be one of the loveliest stretches of coastline anywhere in the UK, not least because it tends to be so quiet, compared to Cornwall. I have a horror of getting so used to where we live now that I lose the wonder. I think we all need to occasionally take time out to appreciate where we are and what we have.

    • I’m sure that the raw power of the weather will keep you appreciating the splendour of your spot. I’ve only seen Anglesey from the peaks of Snowdonia, but spent many fond (and sometimes scary) weekends scrambling up rocks and mountains in north Snowdonia, often camping at Capel Curig. We’re long overdue a visit!

        • Heh, after a few years of repeatedly scary scrambles up Tryfan/Bristly Ridge/Crib Goch (shudder) and round the horseshoe, and reinventing my fear of falling at a whole new level, I think I’ll be sticking to the gentler tracks next time we go up! Though my husband will doubtless have other ideas, he still has no fear! Would love to hop along and investigate your magic isle next time though, will definitely holler when we make plans that way, probably next year.

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