Sunday, 18 May 2014

Whitford Point Lighthouse

Summer has come early and an opportunity to paddle one of my last remaining gaps on the Gower coast presented itself.  The paddle was planned for Sunday so I decided to take the family camping the previous evening...
We spend the evening walking the length of Worms Head as the sun set on the western horizon before retiring to our somewhat 'cosy' tent.  Last time we all slept in here the children were a lot smaller.
The following morning Hannah headed home with the kids while I made the short journey to meet up with Sean, Paul and Katie at Pen-clawdd on the Loughor estuary.  Katie wasn't paddling today but was going to meet us at the other end of the trip.
It was around high water so the estuary was in flood, at low water it completely dries out.  We paddle down the length of the estuary was uneventful apart from a private air show from a couple of small propeller aircraft.
A the mouth of the Loughor Estuary at Whitford Points stands an impressive lighthouse which marks an extensive sandbank that almost stretches across the entire entrance.  We took the opportunity to stretch our legs before heading out to the light.
I always get a tingly feeling and a big smile on my face when paddling out to such a focal destination I haven't been to before.  This abandoned lighthouse is unique in that it is the only cast iron offshore lighthouse in Britain, despite over seventy years of disuse.  
The light has had some extensive repairs in it's time.  During it's operation bands were placed around the tower after the cast iron panels kept loosening.  Later concrete and stones were placed around it's based after soft sand foundations gave concern to sinking.    
The fast flowing ebbing estuary waters provided some playful conditions around the light.
The tower has received a white wash coat of bird poop in it's time.  In an effort to save the tower crumbling into the sea the Llanelli Coastal Millennium Park offered it for sale for £1 on the provision that the new owner repaired it.  Unfortunately the future looks uncertain for the light as prospective buyers are put off by the £100,000 repair costs.  
For this trip I brought along my new Greenland paddle to test (more to follow on later posts).
Sean seems to be enjoying the new paddle.
We cut in through the shallow waters dividing Burry Holms and Rhossili Bay and take another opportunity for a short break with Worms Head on the horizon.

Back on the water we make a loop around the island and head back in close to the shore to eventually land at Broughton Bay.

On the sands is a host of life from Spider Crabs to hundred upon hundreds of Starfish.

The carry to the car was somewhat of a record, the waters edge where we landed can be seen in the top of the above picture.
A great end to a great weekend on the Gower peninsular with great company.  Thanks to Katie, Paul and Sean for the invite and the lift back to the van.

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