Walking from Mumbles to Three Cliffs Bay

Three Cliffs Bay at sunset

On Saturday morning, I drove Bash to Cardiff Airport and saw her off to Amsterdam, where she’s spending the week reporting on Eurooscon for Ping Wales. How, then, to spend the afternoon? I somehow managed to resist the alluring prospect of tidying the house, saving it for Sunday, and instead walked from our house to Three Cliffs Bay. It were nice.

Photos are here, potentially boring account follows…

(By the way, Friday night was rather good too – Lanonima Imperial at Taliesin, performing The Ecstasy of Orpheus. We somehow got invited to the after-show nibbles and wine, and Will’s excellent art is here.)

Before I set out, I wondered about starting along Mumbles sea front, going round Mumbles Head to Limeslade Bay, and then on from there to Rotherslade. However, looking at the map I realised this really doesn’t actually get you very far, and goodness me, it really is quite a long way to Three Cliffs Bay, isn’t it? In fact, I’d never actually walked past Langland before, and really wasn’t sure how long this would take or how difficult it would be. Or if it would rain. So I cut the corner that is Mumbles, and hopped across to Rotherslade on Overland Road. Not cheating. Honest. Arrival at Rotherslade: 1:28 PM

Rotherslade to Caswell went quicker than I’d expected, mainly due to the prescence of an excellent pace-setter in the shape of a woman who was yomping along ahead of me. This turned out to be a good thing, because I had been strolling gently, but realised that striding forth was much more fun, and if I hadn’t realised that, I probably wouldn’t have made it to Three Cliffs before sunset, so casual was my strolling.

I’d only eaten a chocolate croissant for breakfast, however, so I had to stop at Caswell and take on supplies (2:07 PM). They’ve done the snack bar up, and it’s a lot better. They were playing the The Killers album, so I spent most of the rest of the day singing “Andy You’re A Star”. Heh.

I finally dragged the camera out on my way up from Caswell, and took these:

Caswell Bay Caswell Bay

And then, on to Pwlldu! It’s an odd little bay, with muchos pebbles and some luverly little houses tucked at the side. I asked a likely-looking local (out walking her dog and husband) where to pick up the path to Three Cliffs and she told me, but seemed quite quizzed out that I intended to go all the way there on foot. “It’s quite a long way, you know.” Well, yes, I do have a map here. Stop worrying me!

Pwlldu Head (3:18 PM) has some great views back towards Swansea – both back along the cliffs and headlands, but also over the countryside. Definitely worth the trouble and extra walking, silly lady with dog and husband. Look:

View back from Pwlldu Head

See? The first bay is Pwlldu, then Caswell, then Langland/Rotherslade, and round that final headland we’d find Limeslade and Bracelet Bays. Not bad. Pwlldu’s sort of the half-way point, I guess – maybe a bit less than half but certainly the turning point, when you stop walking away from Mumbles and start walking towards Three Cliffs, if that makes sense.

Pwlldu Head was the quietest (and windiest!) part of the walk, although Caswell to Pwlldu came a close second. As I got past the head, I started approaching the environs of Southgate. Good heavens, there’s even a car park there, although you don’t have to walk too close to it, gladly. No pub though – have to keep going to Parkmill if you need a pint at this point. But anyway, the solitary cliffwalker suddenly finds themselves meeting people carrying Tesco bags containing doughnuts and things.

Before Southgate, around about High Tor, there were some lovely cliffs, a really big mushroom (nearly a foot high?), and a logic problem for dogs:

High Tor Cliffs Cliffs Big Shroom!!! Cryptic Warning for Canines

And then, around 4:40, striding past the doughnut eaters, their stupid cars, and their crazily enthusiastic and indiscriminately friendly dogs, a celebratory cup of coffee and bar of chocolate was taken (but not from a Tesco bag) within first sight of the destination:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Three Cliffs Bay is within sight! Three Cliffs from Shire Combe

Three Cliffs – it’s really nice. The waves were crashing in, the sun was setting, it was still lovely and warm, the wind was low, and the ground was open enough that the rustling of the Tesco bags was sufficiently distant for one to stop, stretch out on the grass, and feel pleased with oneself. Then it was on down to Pobbles Beach, past the rowing hippie woman and her French beau (swearing at each other at the tops of their voices, he memorably accusing her of only wanting him to be how she wanted him to be – er, ok), and up t’other side to one of the three cliffs – it must have a name, but what is it? Anyway, I finally made it there at 5:20, about four hours after I set out. Not bad at all. I walked fast but stopped frequently, so I guess it could be done quicker or slower, whichever you wanted…

Sunset over Three Cliffs Bay Three Cliffs in Silhouette Waves at Pobbles Beach Three Cliffs Silhoette

The tide being in, I couldn’t exactly walk on the beach, so I had to content myself with picking my way along the burrows, and snapping at the gorgeous bay as the sun set and my jumper started looking appealing. I hightailed it up to Pennard Castle, past the golf course to Parkmill, and then through the woods to the Gower Inn, just in time to catch the 6:15 to Swansea. I got off at Sketty, walked through the park, just missed another bus on Mumbles Road (three times in the last fortnight has a bus pulled out as I ran to catch it, being less than 30 feet from the back of the bus when it disappeared), and finally made it home at 7:30. Oh yeah, and the air on Mumbles Road really stank of pollution, which I don’t normally notice. Made me wonder how much worse things must be in London… :-)

Three Cliffs Bay at sunset Ruins of Pennard Castle

A great day, and a great walk, although parts of me now ache.

If you give me the chance to think about it, I’ll tell you I don’t enjoy solitude, but actually that’s not true. It’s just that I like company too. But actually, solitude I can cope with, and on Saturday I greatly enjoyed it. w00t.

On the other hand, if anyone fancies a stroll some time, let me know. :-)

2 Responses to “Walking from Mumbles to Three Cliffs Bay”

  1. October 27th, 2005 | 8:37 pm

    I did that walk a few weeks back — it’s absolutely gorgeous! Was tired by the end of it but I got dozens of pictures.

    Didn’t realise you lived in Mumbles mate :)

  2. Gaynor
    February 20th, 2013 | 9:01 pm

    I cannot wait until Spring! Hopefully we’ll get some good days to walk the kids and dogs, although sadly our old Black Labradog may not be up to it this year. Loved reading your memoirs of the afternoon – made me feel I was there. Wish I was!