Thursday 21 April 2016
Port Eynon to Sandy Lane
A darker, cloudy sky today; no sun to be seen. It didn’t matter because I was still on a high from yesterday. I made my packeted porridge and ate it in the hostel lounge, staring out across Port-Eynon Bay.
I was on the road just after 8.30 am, heading across the beach to Horton and then past some big houses onto the cliff path. I noticed that my legs felt a bit tired today, which I put down to the last couple of days being quite long and strenuous. How fortunate then that I wasn’t going to walk so far today (not that I knew it at this point as I was aiming for Mumbles).
I made my way around Oxwich Point and Oxwich Beach came briefly into view before I was enveloped by trees. The path wound up and down through a lovely wood on the side of the cliff and I got a chance to admire the carpet of bluebells. I crossed paths with a lady who was also walking the whole of the British coast. Natalia had started walking clockwise from Durdle Door in February. She was on a very different walk to me as her 5-year old daughter had died 4 months ago and she was walking for charity, and through grief. She had a back-up team that arranged people for Natalia to walk and stay with, so she wasn’t carrying a tent. We wished each other well and swapped website addresses; hers is http://www.elizabethsfootprint.com.
St Iltyd’s Church is buried in the wood, barely visible from the beach. Noting the saint’s name I wondered if I was still on some sort of pilgrims’ path?I dropped out of the wood onto Oxwich Beach, a long stretch of golden sand with huge dunes behind. In the middle of the beach I had to head into the dunes to cross a small river via a bridge. I stopped here for a short break and to eat something (porridge makes me hungry!). Then I stuck on the path, through the dunes and up the cliff. I found a brilliant rope swing and stopped to play on it for a bit.
I rounded the small headland to overlook Threecliff Bay; wow. What a stunning sight, with Pennard Pill meandering down the beach and the cliffs protruding into it. I thought it looked quite magical. (It also looked like the path did a lot of serious up and down.)
I kept stopping to admire the view from different angles as I made my way into the beach and across the stepping stones bridging the Pill. Pennard Castle was visible high on the cliff.Someone had lit a fire on the shingle and I walked towards it. Two ladies walking their dogs also gravitated towards the fire (I thought they’d put it but they hadn’t). We got chatting and they were both local. After 5 minutes Pippa had offered me a bed for the night just up on the cliff in Sandy Lane. It was too good an offer to refuse as my legs were tired and, unusually, I hadn’t got a plan for my accommodation that evening. It seemed like it was meant to be so I gratefully accepted the offer. Pippa advised that I walk up to Southgate, stop at Pennard Stores cafe, and then walk on to her house as a nice end to my walk. I took her advice and climbed the steep cliff off the beach.
There is some serious money in Southgate and some very large houses. I only had eyes for the homemade cake in the cafe and spent a happy couple of hours reading the paper and relaxing. I bought Pippa some cake and a bottle of wine and headed across the golf course to Sandy Lane.
Sandy Lane grew up as prefabs during the War and is still made up mostly of wooden chalets. It had quite a hippy feel to it. Pippa’s chalet was amazing; she is an artist and, along with her friend who is a builder, had recently done it up, complete with lots of quirky features (like bent tea strainers as kitchen cupboard handles). She will be renting it out in the summer as a holiday let (Gower getaways – Windyhill) and will live in the cabin in the garden (my bed for the night).
Pippa and one of her neighbour’s were going to the gym this evening so I went with them and had an evening relaxing in the pool, sauna and steam room. After that Pippa and I went to the pub for dinner and I didn’t get to bed until after midnight. I meet some wonderful people on this trip!