Monday 18 February 2013

The Spring Chasers

Having decided to visit the Gower Peninsula in mid February, the Tense Towers team opted to travel light and not take too many ID books on the trip. 'Odonata of Britain and Ireland'? Unnecessary! 'Insects of Great Britain'? Nah. 'Wild flowers of the British Isles'? Don't be daft! 'Birds of Britain and Europe'? Oh, go on then, just the one. In a week when most of the UK was still dealing with sub zero temperatures and snow, this didn't seem like a bad call.

Whilst South Wales was a little warmer than MK, it was most definitely much wetter. After five days, it finally stopped raining and we felt a little like Noah must have done when the dove returned with a bit of greenery. Mind you, the weather hadn't curtailed our excursions, it's just that there was a soggy trend. Wet sand on the beach. Wet bracken/gorse on the heaths. Wet grass in the fields. Wet mud/grass/trees in the woods. In fact, the sea might have been drier.

However, there's beauty in all landscapes, even if it is just grey skies, grey seas, grey mud and grey rocks.

Fifty shades?
Now, in all the time that we've been visiting the Gower, we had never so much as set foot in the Worm's Head Hotel to soak up the stunning view of Rhossili Bay from the bar and dining room. This year we decided to right that wrong and booked ourselves in for a Sunday lunch at a window table.

Oh yes, bring it on.

Oh no.
With a lessening in the precipitation, we spent another morning walking from Caswell Bay to Pwlldu Bay, along a coast that has seen its fair share of smuggling in times past. Whilst Caswell is sandy and beloved of holiday makers and newbie surfers...

Pwlldu is a much more secluded and inaccessible bay, perfect for trying to outfox the Revenue.

However, en route between the two, on a muddy coastal path between gorse bushes and the short but steep drop to the rocky shore below, we did find the odd spot of colour.

And when I say "odd", I do mean O.D.D.

This is Tremella mesenterica, Yellow Brain Fungus, growing on gorse stems. In the second photo, there are also several small invertebrates which appeared to be feeding on it.

In a few sheltered spots, there was also evidence of the vanguard of Spring flowers, in the form of Primrose, Milkwort, Dog Violet and Barren Strawberry.

The only other real colours of note were provided by the geology, where veins of minerals had forced their way between the vertical bedding planes.

Obliging partner shown for scale

My knowledge of rock is sadly limited to the more wacky  prog bands... sorry.
The weather during the first half of our stay on the Gower was neatly summed up by the sign displayed outside the National Trust shop at Rhossili...


holdingmoments said...

It seems you caught Wales on one of its regular 'wet' days Graeme. Despite its reputation for always being wet, or windy, or both, it's still a beautiful place, as you've shown here.
Look at those beaches. Perfect.

Martin said...

First of the Hirundines seen here this past week. Spring is on its way north...

I hope the visit was worth the drive, despite the weather.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Ah, 'perfect'-ly empty! The best kind :o)

Imperfect and Tense said...

That's good to hear, Martin.
The Gower is always worth it!