Day 080: Swansea to Port Eynon
Distance: 20.42 miles
Ascent: 3284 feet
Accommodation: Culver House, Port Eynon
With my boots all dried out, and the weather forecast to be overcast but dry I set of onto the Swansea promenade. My Dad & Brigitte were coming over from France, and would be meeting me hopefully around 12 at a little café near the path in Southgate.
The first part of the day was very speedy along the promenade and partially along the sandy beach, it is amazing how many B&B’s and guesthouses line the Swansea seafront, some looking well kept and some looking decidedly dilapidated. At the River Clyne I re-joined the promenade to use the bridge to cross over and was now in The Mumbles. Though it pretty much merges with Swansea with hardly a gap between them, it has a decidedly different feel with the many colourful houses climbing up the hillside.
Towards the end of the headland I came across a very impressive lifeboat launch pier and ramp, with some beautiful presumably Victorian railings. From here I climbed up the steep steps, where at the top I passed a very quirky little café called the big apple and actually shaped like an apple. From here the path joins the road for a short while with great views out to the lighthouse on Mumbles Head.
Where the path leaves the road at Limeslade Bay, I was quite surprised that it had been concreted (seemingly quite recently), and in fact done very well following the contours of the cliff and making for very speedy walking. This junction also seemed to mark the boundary of the industrial, more semi flatlands I had come through so far in Wales, onto the more rural ragged coastline to come. The path soon took me to Langland Bay, which was more picturesque than I had expected with lots of beach huts, and nice buildings.
The path continued either concreted, tarmacked or gravelled most of the way to Pwlldu Bay passing Caswell Bay on route. The beach at Pwlldu Bay was very interesting with a little lagoon behind the shingle bank and an individual house accessed across a flooded ford. From this bay the path climbed very steeply up the hill to Pennard Farm, from where the path got more rugged with mud, rocks and some uneven steps on the final approach to Southgate.
I arrived at Southgate just before 12 and had half expected my Dad & Brigitte to already be there but it turned out they had been caught in traffic arriving around 12:30. We had a quick bite to eat, and as my Dad had already driven all day and a little tired we decided he shouldn’t join the walk from this point with 9 miles to go but a bit further on at Nicholaston in an hours time.
So, I set of alone towards Three Cliffs Bay, regularly voted in the top ten beaches in the UK & sometimes the world. My approach took me through the maze of the dunes before dropping down towards the Pennard Pill where I encountered my first set of stepping stones since my river fall the other day. Fortunately, these ones were flat, consistent and not under water so were very easy to cross. On the other side the path climbed up Penmaen Burrows where the view across Three View Bays was absolutely stunning. It truly is a spectacular beach.
As I was approaching where I had arranged to meet Dad, walking along the ridge, I luckily spotted him bobbing along in his red hat about a kilometer away several hundred feet below walking in the wrong direction. Luckily, he had phone signal so I called him and told him to stop where he was. After a quick dash down from the ridge and through the dunes, I met him about 10 minutes later.
As it was low tide we walked along the beach all the way to Oxwich, and half way along we were surprised to come across what appeared to be a cannon that was emerging from the sand, and a bit further along the remnants of a couple of old wooden barrels.
The path headed into the woodlands from Oxwich, passed a stunning little church, and after several quite steep climbs we rounded Oxwich Point. The final stretch was stunning following the low narrow strip of fields below the cliffs. We were fortunate to watch a peregrine (pretty sure but hard to confirm from distance) hunting on the thermals, unfortunately it was a fair distance away about half a kilometer so struggled to get a good photo (but included the best one below.)
We finally arrived at Port Eynon, and we climbed over the dunes to the little 2 bedroom apartment that my dad had booked for 2 nights and where Brigitte was waiting. Dad cooked a nice dinner and we all went to bed early.
A great day, with lovely scenery and nice to have Brigitte and Dad on the walk for a couple of days.