Taste of Gower Walk, Three Cliffs Coffee Shop

StillWalks will be joining this eighth Taste of Gower walk for 2016 at Three Cliffs Coffee Shop on South Gower. I will be photographing the walk and carrying out some field recording. These will be displayed on the StillWalks blog a couple of weeks after the walk and before the next taste of Gower walk.

Meet in the Three Cliffs Coffee Shop at Pennard for a circular walk along the cliffs to Three Cliffs Bay with a talk and cup of tea back at the cafe afterwards.

The walk will be approximately miles long.

Parking Options: National Trust car park at Pennard – Pay and Display

Pirate Day at Gower Heritage Centre and Reviewing the Walk

Spot the pirate in this final image from my walk this week with the Taste of Gower walkers. It seems Gower Heritage Centre had a pirate thing going on that day as was apparent from the staff costumes and various other piratical objects around the place once we had been served with our teas and coffees etc. and sat down in the cafe.

It was a great walk – the weather stayed more or less fine for us and I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t love Three Cliffs Bay. By this time we will have done the next Taste of Gower walk at Penclawdd on North Gower and I will be posting about that in two three weeks time.

Gower Heritage Centre

Gower Heritage Centre

Taste of Gower Heritage Centre Walk Soundscape

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Doing the Boardwalk

The last stage of this circular Taste of Gower walk is enjoyable for the same kind of reason as the stepping stones are when crossing Pennard Pill (river) in Three Cliffs Bay – it’s fun, a novelty, a change underfoot from the normal footpath surface, not only in feel but also in sound.

Doing the Boardwalk

Doing the Boardwalk

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Stones in Circles and the Textures of Grass

These stones arranged in circles at Three Cliffs Bay on South Gower have been there as long as I can remember (which is not necessarily all that long!), but I don’t think they go back to neolithic times. People’s footsteps have worn the ground down over time as they walk around the pattern and if it is a construction of modern times, then it is perhaps remarkable that it has remained without damage or rearrangement for so long. Is this a sign of our respect for our ancient past, even though it may be an installation of modern times, or do we just like and respond to the pattern and texture of the arrangement.

And thinking of textures and patterns, I was taken with the grasses growing alongside Pennard Pill as it twists down the valley to the bay. The subtly changing flow of the grasses in the wind, their hues of blues, yellows and greens and the dots of white and buff grass seeds and flowers remind me of the circles of stones, at least when viewed in monochrome.

stone circles

Stones in Circles

Those changing textures and patterns can also be perceived in sound. The clip below presents the susurrus (there’s that word again) of my footsteps, firstly in soft sand and then through flickering, tickering grasses as my feet brush through them on my way to catch up with the other walkers.

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Stepping Out and Susurrus at Three Cliffs Bay

As we were stepping out across the stepping stones at Three Cliffs Bay on this Taste of Gower circular walk fro the Gower Heritage Centre, I noted the different ambient sound.

It may be expected that the sound of the sea will be different to that of a woodland but the susurration of the wind in trees is not so very different to that of a gentle sea as it washes distantly over a sandy beach. It is different though – the open space seems to me to be one of the greatest influencing factors and with eyes closed or not knowing where you are, these different ambient sounds would give you a pretty good clue as to your surroundings.

The next Taste of Gower walk will be tomorrow 26/08/17 – details here.

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones

If you ignore the sound of footsteps in the sound clips below, perhaps you will agree that the word susurrus could be used to describe the background ambience of both soundscapes. According to the dictionary I could also have used the word to describe what I called the murmur of voices as the walking group disappeared off into the distance in previous posts on my walk this week, but personally I prefer the onomatopoeia of “murmur” for voices and “susurrus” for the wind or sea. What do you think?

Sound of the Sea

Walking in the Woods

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Hidden Gems of South Gower

My walk this week revealed some hidden gems on the Gower Peninsula. This first shot of bramble blossom may be very common and out in the open but that makes it no less of a gem (I love these flowers and their fruit later in the year). Other aspects of this walk were definitely hidden – whether they are gems or not is up to you to decide but I recommend a visit rather than judging by my photos.

bramble blossom

bramble blossom

We had to battle through heavy bracken to reach the Pen y Grug ancient burial chamber and Gower Unearthed presented it well along with and another nearby site, that of an old church now well and truly overgrown. The Pen y Grug page linked to above also advertises a good iPhone app for finding ancient sites like these around the world – the Megalithic Portal, Pocket Guide to Megaliths, check it out.

The other hidden gem for today is well know to locals but may be less so to others. Three Cliffs Bay was the turning point for our short walk and we had some great views down to it from above.

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Blown Away at the Point of Return

This was the point the group reached on the Taste of Gower walk at Southgate. Looking over the edge to Three Cliffs Bay, it was disappointing not to go any further but the wind was very wild and this was causing difficulty for some in the group.

Having gone out again on my own afterwards, this was again the point I reached with my cameras and sound kit before deciding to turn back. I may have found the wind exhilarating but the rain which had started to blow in from the sea was less so.

All of the photos taken on this outing are rather grainy and in some cases they were a bit blurred. Considering the weather conditions, even if I had taken my tripod I would not have faired any better – it would simply have been blown away just as I was on one or two occasions!

Below is another short sound clip from my walk. For those of you with an interest in these things, the strength of the wind is evident in this clip recorded with my RODE NTG-3 shotgun mic with a Blimp windshield and dead cat fluffy cover onto a Fostex FR-2LE.

Wild Wind at Southgate 2

Wild Wind at Southgate 2

waves

Walkers at Three Cliffs Bay

Taste of Gower - Southgate-23

Gothic Light

Exposed as I was to the weather on my walk at Southgate, I again used less exposure in these shots of the cliffs at Three Cliffs Bay on South Gower than was technically correct. However, as on previous occasions, this was deliberate and the result is definitely more realistic in terms of how it felt than if I had used the correct exposure. The result is quite Gothic in atmosphere.

The second shot is monochrome and can be seen on Leanne Cole’s Photography blog post Monochrome Madness MM 2-34.

cliffs

Gower cliffs

There and Back Again – My Walk this Week 9

If my walk last week was peaceful and calm, this weeks walk is quite the opposite! Another Taste of Gower walk organised by Mike Aspland and the Swansea Walking Forum with the support of Gower Landscapes Partnership, this walk along the cliffs at Southgate was bit windy to say the least.

We walked far enough to look down on Three Cliffs Bay (not far) but at that point the leaders decided to turn back. The weather was very wild and as some in the group were struggling with it, it was the right decision and we all headed back to the Three Cliffs Coffee Shop.

In fact some of us took another short walk in the opposite direction and I decided that after eating another great lunch at the cafe, I would venture out again with my recorder and cameras. So I will be able to post about this walk through the coming week as intended – I hope it blows you away – sorry about the pun 😉

Listen below is a short sound clip of the wind.

Wild Wind at Southgate

Wild Wind at Southgate

walking on Gower

Three Cliffs Bay – Step 7, End of the Series

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The title says it all – it’s the end of this series of photos and while these images are not from Three Cliffs Bay itself, they are from the last part of my walk from Parc-Le-Breos House down to the bay, up to Pennard castle and back through the woods.

The last photo hints at the crossing of a footbridge and, indeed, this footbridge leads back into Park Mill, the village just below Parc-Le-Breos.

Buddleia Woodland Path Woodland Stream River Reflections