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" 4 - Swansea Market and Tor Bay "

Date & start time: Tuesday  1st April 2014.

Location of main walk: Tor car park, Penmaen, Gower, Uk ( SS 526 884 )

Places visited : Oxwich Bay, Little Tor, Great Tor, Three Cliffs Bay and back in a circle.

Walk details :  2.5 mls, 400 ft of descent, 1 hour 30 mins.

Highest point : The car park . . . 350 ft above sea level.

Weather : Misty start clearing to a lovely day.

 " Swansea Market and Tor Bay " at EveryTrail

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Our five day holiday draws to a close all too soon, but there's lots to pack in on the last day.

A trip to town to buy goodies that we can't easily purchase up here in rural Cumbria

and then a walk on Gower again . . . this time with a little 'added' surprise !

After a lovely view when we woke, the sea mist rolled in across the bay

and hid the view from Sandra and Jackie's house.

By mid-morning it had cleared again.

We are down in town centre for a little retail therapy, culinary style . . . buying herbs, spices and Welsh delicacies.

This is the view across the car park at the bus station to the Grand Theatre (with the 'G') that we plan to visit tonight.

Inside the covered esplanade of the new bus station.

Through the Quadrant Shopping Centre . . .
. . . into the Swansea (covered) Market.

"When I were a lad"  . . . the market was an open area and we bought cockles from a lady just inside the entrance.

I remember her sitting next to her table (or basket) in her long woolen dress . . . or maybe I'm just hallucinating . . . I was so young.

[ The original site was built as a covered market but was extensively damaged in the war,

as was most of the town centre, and it had lost its roof and the fashions changed by the time I came along.]

" Welcome to Wales "

The market has a series of indoor shops around the outer edge with a large open area in the centre.

Swansea's famous " Joe's Ice cream" on sale here.

On the adjacent stall you can also buy hot, freshly made Welsh Cakes direct from the bakestone . . . a real "must buy".

Ann goes in search of Laverbread.

It is a cooked seaweed rather than a baked loaf . . . don't get confused . . . it is the dark mixture in the pots in the middle.

" Do you want Cockles as well ? "
A great name for a fish stall in the market.

Swansea does have a commercial fishing fleet and some of the produce will end up here on the market.

Welsh, home grown bananas . . . only joking . . . it is April 1st after all !


- - - o o o - - -

After lunch we decide on another Gower walk,

and the dogs need a walk of course.

Sandra is working today

so Jackie joins us with their dog Rufus

and we head out in  the car

along the South Gower road to Penmaen.

- - - o o o - - -

We walk through the fields below Cefn Bryn, past the old Guide Camp hut.

This led us out onto the cliffs above Nicholston Burrows and Oxwich Bay.

The farmer had been clearing the undergrowth back to reclaim the field where it had started to be overgrown.

On the cleared ground down by that hedge on the left we spotted something unusual.

Lying  in the sunshine and getting over the cool winter was a long snake,about three foot in length.

Fortunately we spotted it early and made sure the dogs didn't come across it first !

This was an adult male Adder (or Vipera Berus),  Britain's only poisonous snake.

He seemed to be relatively lethargic but use of the zoom rather than getting to close seemed a good idea.

He was as aware of us as we were of him . . . mutual respect was the order of the day.

The last time we had seen one of these was in Nicholston Woods at the back of Oxwich Bay three years ago

We leave him to continue sunbathing.

Oxwich Bay looking down on Nicholston Burrows and the wooded hillside I mentioned.

Jackie and Rufus on the top path.
Ann sets off down the sandy track to the beach.

If you prefer . . .

Do you prefer close-ups of natural oak-apples with a distant and defused sea scapes . . . or do you prefer the long view ?

Hold your cursor over the picture to compare you choices.

Down on the beach at the eastern end of the big bay.

Recent winter storms have left some sea-borne debris but also undercut the dunes slightly

so the last drop down to the beach was slightly steeper than expected.

Looking along the coast with the three headlands of Little Tor, Great Tor and Pennard Cliffs.

Lovely sunshine and plenty of space.

Rufus has a favourite tennis ball . . . except that Harry has it at the moment.

Ann plays kick the ball, Harry playing a rather good goalkeeper role . . . there's nothing wrong with his reaction times !

The big face-off . . .  " Do I go for it or will that big dog object ?"

Go for it Rufus . . . he's just a big Woof !

Harry adopts his usual semi-aquatic pose on every possible occasion

and today was no exception.

" There's the ball . . . fetch it."  says Jackie.

- - - o o o - - -


We're across at Great Tor headland now.

It certainly is a fine piece of rock.


The limestone strata derived from

calcium deposits on the bed of an ancient sea or lake

which have been up-ended and now face sky-ward,

an indication of the mighty power of the earth

in all things evolutionary.


- - - o o o - - -


The bottom strata has come away from the main rock face, hence the shadow behind it.

Lovely views out to sea this afternoon.

A small fishing boat plies the water between us and Oxwich Point.

We are not quite alone on the beach . . . this family of five are walking the sands in our direction.

End on to us now, the Three Cliffs that give this part of the bay its name.

They'll become clearer as we walk up the beach.

Pennard Castle and the water tower stand sentinel over the valley . . . as seen through a gap in the rocks.

Several large gulls fly past above our heads

Gower is certainly blessed with lovely cliff scenery and wildlife.

Geology is interesting too. . . here a rock sculpture and mini arch is revealed,

created purely by the action of the water and sand cutting a hole in the rock.

The white shell like structures are barnacles, normally covered by the rising tide.

On the beach, at the edge of a rock pool, a fine collection of sea shells

including razor, mussels, whelks, coquina and possibly cockles.  Click here for a reasonable shell identification site

Heading up into Three Cliffs Bay.

The more usual view of the headland seen as we start the climb up onto the sand dunes at the back of the bay.

The wider view . . .

From the summer homes and chalets of Penmaen round to the Castle and the river as it emerges from the valley and heads for the sea.

Close-up of the river . . . it changes each year depending on the weather, the river levels and the whims of nature.

This year there seems to be a big breakthrough of the raised beach at the back of the bay

and a whole swath of stone has been washed over onto the grass in the centre of the picture by the river bend.

The stepping stones seem to survive the changing fortunes of the bay.

Zooming in on one of the well loved, well maintained chalets on the headland.

As we climb up from the bay and back along the headland we pass several large sections of flowering gorse.

These are lovely and I believe they are violets . . . any confirmation ?

Buttercups . . . almost certainly . . . but those petals are rather slim.

Lovely wild flower photos - I'm no expert but I half wondered if the yellow buttercup type ones might be lesser celandine ... AM

You might well be right there Ann Marie . . . . many thanks, RmH.

Primroses . . . definitely.

Back at the start of the lane down from the car park . . . time to be heading home.

- - - o o o - - -

In the evening we find ourselves, tickets in hand, in the Grand Theatre Arts Wing

partaking of light refreshments prior to the Swansea Amateur's Operatic's production

Gareth is busy backstage as he has the position of Stage Manager !

Gill, Sandra, myself and Jackie . . . programme bought, glass in hand, waiting for curtain up.

Three pictures of the stage and scenery taken in differing light settings

[ pictures by Gareth during technical rehearsals]

The scene is all set for " A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum"

the original play that gave rise to Frankie Howerd's long running TV series  Up Pompeii

Meet the cast . . . of the Swansea Amateur Operatic Society
A great production and a fitting end to our holiday in Swansea.

Check out their Facebook page here . . . and the recent Show Review from their local Evening Post newspaper.

- - - o o o - - -

Tomorrow we cross the border and head North East . . . to meet a new member of the family

. . . but that's another story !

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Nikon P520 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . Good friends to stay with whilst on holiday.

© RmH . . . Email me here

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