After howling wind and rain, the turbulent sea boils at Limeslade Bay. A piercing light illuminates the surf as is rushes towards the tiny cove, smashing against the rocks with awesome power, and sending misty spray high over the shore. No small boats venture out in conditions like this, a few lie at moorings in the shelter of Mumbles Head, but most have been taken out, or are in the safety of the modern marina across the bay. From the cliff path, the surf is magnificent, and there are white horses to the horizon.
Bracken, now mostly brown and flattened by the wind and rain, carpets those parts of the cliff that are free of gorse. In a sheltered spot by the path a very late and perfect violet peeps out from the deep-green grass, but I find no other flowers.
West along the footpath nobody braves the strong westerly wind, but in the shelter of the head, locals take coffee outside the restaurant by the pier. The huge domed affair that is the new lifeboat house is now complete. It dominates the end of the pier, dwarfing the old classic house, which for over a century has been part of the fabric of Mumbles. I wonder about the ultimate fate of this lovely little traditional boathouse, which together with the pier and lighthouse, balanced perfectly into the landscape. Grade two listed, there’s a plan to convert it into a museum; a similar one at Tenby has been tastefully converted into a dwelling.
The new building sits awkwardly at the end of the pier, a modern carbuncle on a lovely Victorian pier, and I wonder why it could not have been built in the style of the old one. Maybe this is the price of progress, and only time will tell if it will become a local icon, but I have my doubts.