Saturday, 28 January 2012

Land of the Dragon

Worms Head, from the Viking 'Wurm', meaning Dragon.  A location I've wanted to paddle for some time.  I was denied this paddle almost two years ago and haven't been back to the Gower since.  The passing high pressure this weekend seemed like the perfect chance to reclaim the paddle.
Today I was joined by Taran and Noel.  After getting up at 6am and driving west we left my van at Llangennith and drove back to Oxwich Bay to launch.  The sun was out the sea was flat, it was perfect, if only a bit on the chilly side.  A seal was lounging in the water, a good start.
Out into the bay the low winter sun almost blinds our view.
There was a bit of swell evident out in the open.
Within no time we were paddling past Port Eynon and for me at least, new territories beyond.
The sun provided a bit of warmth on our backs as we made our way further west.
We pass Culver Hole, a large sea cave whose entrance is sealed off by a 60ft stone wall.  Culver from the Old English word 'Culfre' meaning dove or pigeon is a medieval dovecote believed to date between 13th-14 century.
Steep waves sweep in all along the shore line, the thoughts of landing at Llangennith I think on all our minds.
We receive a flyby from Whiskey Oscar 99 with a friendly whoop whoop from their siren.
Paddling on I wonder why in the two years me and Taran have been paddling together we've never been to the Gower before.  The cliffs rise and fall dramatically, can only imagine the forces involved in creating such a landscape....

Like Noel have to be here to appreciate the scale of these formations.
We approach the cave where an almost complete 26,000 year old skeleton was discovered, better known at the Red Lady of Paviland.  The red lady was in fact a 25yr old male originally assumed to be a female dating back to the Roman period.
We take our time and explore every nook and cranny of this fantastic coast.
There's plenty of bird life to enjoy on the way.

The cliffs continue to rise and fall as we near our lunch stop.

We stop off at fall bay part of the Worms Head headland.
Moving on we hug the shore continuing up the neck of the head.
Deceptive waves seem to rise steeply and wrap around the end of the head as we paddle on reluctantly toward the danger.

Reaching the tip the conditions liven up slightly but the scale of the dragons head is jaw dropping.
 Gulls use the up-drafts and circle around the towering formation.  Wow what a place to be, this is the only way to view the Worm, not by foot.
Trying to get a sense of prospective.
On the dark side of the head the cliffs rise steeply from the sea, interrupted with cave arches and inlets.  Gulls, Shags and Razorbills cling to the steep cliffs above our heads.
A few seals pop up watching keeping a keen eye on our progress.
And with good reason, there are plenty of young ashore.  This small seal looks like it might have been one of this years.
We leave the shadows of the the great serpentine headland and cross over Llangennith to our final destination.  Mass flocks of birds circle around us in the open water.    
A shot of me with the Worms Head.
We land in the surf, not huge but steep fast and great fun.
We linger a little while longer enjoying the last drops of daylight in the foaming surf.
Its then a gigantic carry up the beach and over the sand dunes back to the van.
One of the best paddles in a long time, a must for all kayakers.  Thanks guys for a superb day.  

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