The past week has certainly been a pretty extraordinary one for those of us who have an unhealthy obsession with watching the weather and then telling random people on various social media sites about it in real-time. You name it we’ve had it from bog standard rain through to sleet, snow and hail mixed in with a smattering of rainbows, the occasional double rainbow, thunder, lightning and lashings of gales. I’d love to have some photos to share with you but most of it has taken place while I’ve been at work where sadly cameras are banned. Without such restrictions you could have been watching a video of our office windows flexing violently and quite alarmingly in and out during a particularly vicious storm, but alas it is not to be. Fortunately for you the wind was still pretty strong on Saturday and thankfully the National Trust hasn’t yet banned cameras on land they own. Therefore feel free to enjoy the sight of pounding waves smashing right over the top of Worms Head on Gower. I can only imagine what it must have been like when the wind was at its strongest.
Around the corner from the exposed northern flanks of Worms Head lies Fall Bay which to the relief of my incessantly flapping coat was sheltered from the worst of the wind. With the sun shining down on us and white puffy clouds in the sky it was very pleasant indeed, although I still wouldn’t have contemplated surfing as one hardy couple were doing.
However, all illusions of calmness were shattered as soon as we turned to face Tears Point where huge rollers were being driven hard onto the rocks. They were by far the biggest waves I’ve ever seen on Gower and although heights were difficult to estimate I’d guess at somewhere in the region of five metres plus. We got as close as we dared but somehow the photos just don’t do justice to what we were witnessing.
Unsurprisingly much of the bird life was keeping itself well hidden with the exception of the usual Gulls and Oystercatchers. It was however very nice to see several flocks of Linnets moving between Gorse bushes near the coastguard hut as well as a Kestrel sheltering on top of one of the stone walls. Cormorants were out in good numbers including a pair that got spectacularly wiped out by a wave near Tears Point. Over at Mewslade another Kestrel and a Buzzard were being harried by the Jackdaws but it was the Nitten field that really produced the goods. Chaffinches, Bullfinches, Blue Tits and Great Tits were the most numerous inhabitants but the day was stolen by a magnificent pair of Yellowhammers which are always a treat to see. Unfortunately they were a bit camera shy as was a nearby pair of Song Thrushes. The following Mistle Thrush posed beautifully however, and if my memory serves me correctly this is the first photo I have ever taken of one.
It was very noticeable just how quiet the coastal path was during our walk now that the summer tourists are a dim and distant memory. They are a vital source of income for the local economy and very welcome but it is nice occasionally to feel like you have the place to yourself. With their departure has come the arrival of the sheep including several rams, one of which was particularly stubborn and looked less than pleased at our presence.
After some reassuring words (to Emma not the sheep) we won the stand-off and sent the ram on its way. To be fair I’d probably have been a bit grouchy as well if my undercarriage had been so exposed on such a cold day.