Thursday, 24 August 2017

Wildest Place on Gower

I’ve read somewhere that a staggering three quarters of a million people visit Rhosilli each year. Most stay around the car park, admire the spectacular view of the beach, maybe grab an ice cream, and then move on. The more adventurous make the long trek to the top of Rhosilli Down, where the view is equally breathtaking, but the braver ones head for the Crabart and Worm’s Head.

On sunny weekends in August the footpath along the south side of the Inner Worm can be quite busy. The breeding seabirds have gone, most of the flowers are over, and I have the impression that today’s visitors are here for the experience, rather than the wildlife. I engage some in conversation; many have come from overseas, one man from New Zealand saw The Worm on the Internet, and just had to visit. Other’s from nearer home come often, but all marvel at the feeling of wildness and the seascapes.

Decades of visitors and millions of feet have made the rocks leading to the Middle Head treacherous in places; many start the crossing, but turn back after a few minutes. Even those with good stout walking boots find it tricky, and not many get the other side. It can be dangerous here, and each year there are accidents, some even fatal.

The Outer Head is where it’s really wild. I pass the famous blowhole - with only a gentle swell in the bay there’s hardly a hiss. With the breeding season over, the footpath to the top is open. It’s no place for the faint-hearted up here, just a small space to sit, but what a view. I feel detached from the world, it’s exhilarating, and for me, the wildest place on Gower. I look down to the flat sea; gulls, gannets and Manx shearwaters feed in a frenzy of activity, a sure sign there are dolphins about. I don’t find them, but harbour porpoises frequent these waters at all times of year. The tide waits for no man, and I don’t have much time to stay and look; I must get back over the causeway before I’m cut off.

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