Saturday, 16 September 2017

First Gale

High tides and strong winds can change the gentle nature of the Gower coast. Gone is the balmy weather of yesterday as the first gale of the autumn blows in from the west. On days like this, I often come to the cliffs to watch the sea boil, and to feel the full force of the Atlantic.  By Gower standards, today’s blow is not serious, probably force eight, and the rain is not too heavy. There’ll be many more severe gales in the weeks and months to come, when the wind can sometimes gust to over 100mph at Mumbles Head.

A few other like-minded souls sit in cars overlooking Limeslade Bay. Pointing into the gale, we sit mesmerised, watching the force of nature. With visibility just a couple of hundred yards, there’s not much to see, apart from the constant waves rolling in from the west, and crashing onto the rocks below. Gulls appear not to mind the gale, revelling in the wind that whips up the cliff-face from the sea. Black-headed gulls seem to enjoy it most, often flying backwards, whereas herring gulls seek shelter in the bay, huddling together on the rocks.

The gale is forecast to blow itself out by mid-afternoon, when crystal-clear light from the northwest will light up the still-boiling sea. This aftermath is what I really look forward to, and I’ll be back as soon as the first rays of sun appear.

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