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GOWER NEWS Gower’s Independent Online News, Event and Information Guide

Why Stand Up Paddle boarding is a hit with the ladies...

PAGES 44 - 49

3rd Picture: Jay Doyle © 2011 Ben Wyeth

Issue 5 September 2011

From the Editor It’s been another busy summer with visitors pouring onto the peninsula to

Come Rain or Shine: Surfers Take to the Sea!

soak up some glorious Gower sunshine. Of course, this sentiment would be true if only the sun had graced us with its presence for more than a few odd days. I’m not the only one to have noticed: Simon Jayham from Surf GSD shares his thoughts on the impact of British weather on the local tourism trade - see pages 52-53. Even though it’s not been the Having just returned from the brightest of summers, it’s been a fairly Midlands on a family visit to Warwick dry one - enabling people to explore Castle and Alton Towers, I can assure the area without being completely you that getting drenched while drenched through to their skin! To be queuing for the latest thrill-seeking fair, I think we’ve had it relatively easy ride does not have the same appeal as compared to those around the World sticking on a wetsuit and enjoying the who’ve experienced some severe Gower beaches, regardless of what the weather conditions of late. Even in weather throws at you! I for one am the UK, the Gower area seems to looking forward to enjoying Gower’s have been relatively dry compared beaches in the coming months, with other parts of the region and especially the Big Beachwatch UK.

Weekend - 17/18th of September.

Some of the highlights of August have been body-boarding at Caswell Bay on a gloomy day; enjoying lots of

Bat Tracking at Cwm Ivy Woods

walks around the peninsula; tagging along on activities such as the ‘Batty about Bats’ event organised by the National Trust Gower; and, as always, meeting new people who share a passion for Gower, it’s natural beauty, people, culture and diversity. In particular, I would like to thank, and formally introduce, Gower News’ new resident weather forecaster and feature writer, Chris Ridgway. His

With the main tourist season for 2011 drawing to a close, there are still lots of things going on during the month of September, including: Mumbles G o w e r O c e a n Fe s t , G o w e r C yc l i n g Fe s t i v a l , M C S

sterling and most accurate forecasts

Beachwatch Big Weekend and

over the August holiday period, and

Swansea Open House - now in its

expertise as an Earth Scientist, is

eighth year and includes access to

certainly adding value to Gower

some of Gower’s historical churches.

News’ publications - thanks, Chris!

A little later in the month, Port Eynon hosts the Gower Chilli Festival, which sounds rather intriguing!

A Grey Day at Caswell Bay!

A Celebration of Chillies 24th September

Brown Long-Eared Bat "Plecotus auritus"

This Week’s Contributors •

Mike Briercliffe

Chris Ridgway

Jay Doyle

Ben Wyeth

Rebecca Satchwell

Steve Pleydell

Susan Rainey

Simon Jayham

Leanne Davies

Ian Ambrose

Officially there are 18 species of bat in the UK. Last weekend I had the pleasure of listening to one of those

Cover Picture by Ben Wyeth

species resident on Gower. Using a handheld device supplied by bat expert, Steve Lucas from the Bat Conservation Trust, I and a group of around 20 people were led by Steve and National Trust Ranger, Alan Kearsley-Evans, in search of the local bat population in Cwm Ivy Woods, Llanmadoc. Read the full article: pages 14-15

If you would like to get involved by writing an article, or to share your Gower news or event information, simply send an email to the Editor:

GOWER NEWS 3rd September 2011

This Week’s Contributors

Editor / Design / Illustration Ian Ambrose Publisher Gower News | Gower News is an independent and privately owned online publication. Distribution This e-publication is freely distributed through Gower News’ e-newsletter and online media network: Views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Gower News' Editor. Gower News does not accept responsibility for the products, goods or services featured or advertised throughout this epublication. Gower News does not personally endorse any business, organisation, product or service featured in this publication. Every effort is made to ensure the information contained within this publication is accurate and up to date. The contents of this publication are subject copyright and must not be reproduced in any way without the express prior permission of the publisher.

Views of Gower: Pobbles 23rd August 2011

34-35 Weekend Weather Forecast for Gower

“September, in a metrological sense, means the start of autumn.” 36-42 Chris Ridgway writes about ‘The Great British Weather’ 6


57 Join Gower News for Coffee, Croissants and Cake in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support

22 National Trust Gower: Oak Leaf Challenge

Oak Leaf Picture © 2011: Chris Russell-Jones


8-9 Gower in the News 10-13 Festival of the Tides 14-15 In Search of the Common Cwm Ivy Pipistrelle 16-17 What’s On Around Gower 18 Swansea Police Open Day 19 999 or 101? Who to Call and When? 20 Produce and Craft Markets 21 Producer of the Week 22 Oak Leaf Challenge 23 Bracken Clearance with National Trust Gower 24 Mumbles Gower OceanFest 26-27 Gower Cycling Festival 28-31 Beachwatch Big Weekend 32 Mumbles Tide Predictions 34-35 Weekend Weather 36-42 Great British Weather 43 Ask Sue! 44-49 SUP’er Women 50-53 Shout Out! 54-56 Advertisements 57 Coffee Morning 58 Connect with Gower News 60-61 Biographies

Gower Dialect

Gower in the News Following the theft of a car park honesty box in Rhossili during August, Gower News’ Editor met up with Andy Reed, South Wales Police Inspector for Gower. It was reassuring to hear from Inspector Reed that South Wales Police are sufficiently resourced to deal with incidents across the area. With a local team of Officers who maintain a visible presence on the peninsula, it seems the recent spate of incidents are as a result of ‘carelessness’ by property owners who left vehicles unlocked in some cases, and in others, valuables left on display - all easy pickings for the opportunist thief. Whilst the theft at Rhossili church seems to be somewhat of a mystery, given the incident does not appear to have been reported to the Police, other incidents appear to stem from a complacent attitude towards theft. The message to all, visitor and resident alike, is ensure property and vehicles are securely locked and that valuables are not left in sight.

A Weekend in Wales TNT Magazine posted an article on its website this week: A weekend in Gower, Wales. Though rather adventurous, and perhaps a little optimistic with its timings, the article gives a good overview of how one might spend a weekend visiting the area. The article can be viewed online at: h t t p : / / w w w. t n t m a g a z i n e. c o m / t n t - t o d ay / a rch i ve / 2011/08/30/a-weekend-in-gower-wales.aspx


Gower in the News

Crime Update

Gower Dialect

Gower in the News Western Mail Columnist, Robin Turner, writes about his discovery of dragonfly whilst on a visit to Pwlldu Bay. “This is truly one of the gems of Gower, remote and romantic, the surf washing a steep sandy beach backed by the rippling, crystal clear streams of the Bishopston Valley,” writes Robin. The article can be viewed online at: h t t p : / / w w w. w a l e s o n l i n e. c o. u k / n e w s / c o l u m n i s t s / 2011/08/30/robin-turner-way-out-west-91466-29324323/ #ixzz1WbfGbcGH

Gower Cave Art Discovery This week, the BBC reported on developments at a ‘secret’ Gower cave, whereby the discovery of what is believed to be the etching of a speared reindeer estimated to be more than 12,000 years old, has apparently been vandalised. Archeologist Dr. George Nash claims the cave art has been covered over with mud and the surface of the cave drawing has been scrapped at. Archeologists are planning on scanning the whole cave with laser equipment. Sadly, a gate to prevent public access may now be erected after the alleged vandalism to the discovered cave art. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. The BBC clip can be viewed online at:


Gower in the News

Pwlldu Explored by Robin Turner

Festival of the Tides 2011

The Festival of the Tides committee were overwhelmed again this year by the level of support given by businesses and local residents. “Further volunteers were gained, and the level of sponsorship far-surpassed our expectations,” said Leanne Davies, Chair of the Organising Committee.   August 13th was a great day, and although it showered for most of the day, it didn't have a huge impact on the number of visitors. The committee would like to extend its sincere thanks to all those involved. Leanne said: “An extraordinary amount of work goes into hosting this Festival, and it’s the amazing team of volunteer members who work tirelessly all year to make it happen. “It’s also the fantastic event-volunteers who enable it to tick over, and of course it’s the sponsors who fund it all.  All of these factors come together to make this event possible, and what a fantastic day it was - testament to the hard work and level of devoted commitment all involved have to the Festival of the Tides.”


By Leanne Davies

© Photographs Courtesy of Danny Ludkewycz

Post Event Report

The annual Festival of the Tides event is just one of North Gower's success stories, in an area so rich in heritage, tradition and kind hearted residents. “I’m so proud to be a part of it, to live here, and to work here - I we want to celebrate it every year and give something back for young and old to enjoy,” said Leanne. If you attended this year’s Festival of the Tides in Penclawdd and have photos of the event, then the organising committee would like to add them to their exhibition. They’re also seeking video clips of the event they can show. If you can help with photos of video footage of the event, please contact Leanne on Swansea 851778. Alternatively, drop them in to Gary at The Crofty Inn. Any originals will be scanned and returned.

Interested in getting involved in next year’s Festival of the Tides? Contact Leanne on 851778 for details.


Festival of the Tides Penclawdd Pictures © 2011 Mike Briercliffe

In Search of the Common ‘Cwm Ivy’ Pipistrelle Gower News’ Editor, Ian Ambrose, reports on an evening of bat searching in Llanmadoc. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly ‘batty about bats’, but these nocturnal creatures have a certain appeal and have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. During summer evenings as a child, my parents often had barbecues long into the evening - a time when summers seemed to consist of long hot sunny days spent down Three Cliffs beach, topped off with a stop-off at Shepherds in Parkmill on the way home for a cooling Mivvy ice-lolly! Back home, sitting out in the back garden gazing at the darkening night sky whilst the barbecue reached its ‘optimum cooking temperature’ - I think this was actually my dad’s excuse to down a few beers before cooking the food attention would soon be drawn to the fluttering of wings silhouetted against the clear moonlit sky. Some 25 years on from those childhood summer evenings, where bats seemed part of summer life, I was drawn to an event organised by the National Trust Gower, interestingly billed ‘Batty About Bats’. Our guide for the evening was bat expert, Steve Lucas from the Bat Conservation Trust. Steve welcomed around 20 of us who had gathered at a car park in the village of Llanmdoc (locally pronounced Llanmadog). Together with National Trust Ranger, Allan Kearsley-Evans, Steve ‘walked and talked’ us to Cwm Ivy Woods in search of the local bat population. I’m happy to report that it wasn’t more than 10 minutes before we were listening to, and seeing bats flying around even before we had reached the wooded area at Cwm Ivy.



According to the Bat Conservation Trust, there are 18 recognised species of bat in the UK. However, one of those is technically extinct as it’s not thought to be breeding. At night, bats take the place of birds. With small eyes, bats have good eyesight, very good UV sight, and thought to have genes for colour detection. However, it’s their echo location ability that perhaps makes them a master insect catcher. Pipistrelle bats are the smallest and commonest bat in the UK, and are said to be able to consume some 3000 insects in an evening’s hunt quite an impressive performance if true. Armed with a palmtop computer connected to a rather expensive (£1,700) bat detector, Steve was able to identify that the bats we were seeing, and indeed hearing through our own less-expensive (£75) detectors, were in fact, common pipistrelles. He informed the group that the common pipistrelle are a separate species to the soprano pipistrelle - they can be differentiated by their echolocation calls. The bat detecting devices, supplied by Steve for the evening, could be set to different frequencies. Soprano pipistrelles can be heard around 55kHz; common Pipistrelles at 45kHz. In our search for bats around Cwm Ivy Woods, it soon became clear that common pipistrelle were in abundance as they hunted for their evening meal, consisting of small flies, mosquitoes and midges. That might explain why I wasn’t bitten that evening - neither by a midge, nor bat for that matter! The National Trust on Gower organise a range of different events which help raise people’s understanding about their conservation work in the area. Events range from guided Gower walks, to becoming an active volunteer with their Saturday Volunteering Group - the next one is this weekend in Cheriton.

Events Around Gower Event details believed to be correct at time of publication. Event charges may apply. Check event contact for further details and booking information. Date





3rd - 17th Various September

Swansea Open House

01792 655264


3rd 10.00am September

Bracken Clearance with The National Trust Gower. Meet at The Britannia Inn, Llanmadoc.

01792 390636


3rd 3.00 September 6.00pm

Seashore Safari Adventure at Rhossili

07879 837817


9th - 11th 11.00am - Gower Bluegrass Festival September 11.00pm

01792 371206


9th 7.00pm September

Gower Wild Harvest at Eddy’s in Llangennith

01792 386606


9th - 11th Various September

Mumbles Gower OceanFest

07970 577879


10th - 17th Various September

Gower Cycling Festival

01792 233755


01792 390636


11th 10.00am - Oak Leaf Challenge with The Septmeber 3.30pm National Trust at Rhossili Bay. Friday 9th September 2011

“A Celebration of Seasonality and Community”

Selection of Gower appetizers to include: Cheriton Quail eggs with duck confit; Penclawdd cockle popcorn with lavabread; pot au feau of local wild fowl and game with foraged wild herbs and mushrooms & choux farci paysanne; fillet of wild bass with Burry Holmes crab, crushed Bank Farm potatoes & sea purslane; and slow roast stuffed breast of Weobley Castle salt marsh lamb with garlic mayonnaise & roasted roots. Cost: £24.95 per person Arrival: 7pm Venue and Booking: Eddy’s Restaurant, Hillend Caravan Park, Llangennith Swansea. SA3 1JD – 01792 386606

16 Tell us about your Gower or Swansea Bay event. Email your event details to:

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Swansea Police Heddlu Abertawe


DIWRNOD AGORED A fun day out for all the family Diwrnod llawn hwyl I’r holl deulu Sunday 18 September 2011 Dydd Sul 18 Medi 2011 11am - 4pm Cockett Police Station Gorsaf Heddlu Cockett FREE entry/parking Mynediad/parcio am DDIM

In an emergency, always dial 999. This means you require urgent police assistance where there is a real and immediate threat to life or property. If you would like to report a non-urgent incident however, or have a problem or general query, you can call 101, the 24 hour non-emergency number for the police. Use 101 when the incident is less urgent than 999.

Pontarddulais Produce and Craft Market Second Wednesday of every month between 9.30am - 12.30pm The Institute, 45 St. Teilo Street, Pontarddulais Mumbles Produce and Craft Market Second Saturday of every month between 9.00am - 1.00pm The Dairy Car Park, Oystermouth Square, Mumbles Gorseinon Canolfan Food and Craft Fayre Second Saturday of every month between 9.30am - 1.00pm Canolfan Centre, Millers Drive, Gorseinon Pennard Produce and Craft Market Second Sunday of every month between 9.30am - 12.30pm Pennard Community Centre, Pennard Penclawdd Produce and Craft Market Third Saturday of every month between 9.30am - 12.30pm Community Centre, Banc Bach, Penclawdd Clydach Produce and Craft Market Last Saturday of each month between 10.00am - 1.30pm Moose Hall, Beryl Road, Clydach Llangennith Produce and Craft Market 27th August and 24th September 9.30am - 1.00pm Llangennith Hall, Llangennith

Local Produce

‘Local Producer of the Week’ ~ Maybrook Country Cuisine ~ Maybrook Country Cuisine is owned by Luke Rees and Rebecca Satchwell. Together they produce home-made jams, chutneys, jellies, marmalades and sauces. Their produce is sold at the Mumbles, Penclawdd and Llanrhidian local produce markets their produce is also stocked by some shops in Mumbles and around Gower. As a business, Maybrook Country Cuisine started to experiment with jams and chutneys in Ireland two years ago on a farm in County Kildare - they later became established in South Wales. “We use locally sourced produce for our jams and chutneys, getting a lot of our produce from the Gower peninsula, we also forage for fruits around Mumbles,” said Rebecca.  “We try to keep our products as seasonal as possible so our produce is as fresh as can be when going into the jar. We have always been interested in cooking as we met on a cookery course in the South of Cork in Ireland. This instilled in us the importance of using fresh produce and enjoying what ever we do.” Visit Rebecca and Luke and sample their produce at Mumbles Produce Market on Saturday 10th September from 9am - 1pm ~ ~

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Enjoy the great outdoors while helping the National Trust to keep Gower special!

Held once a month, the National Trust Gower ‘Saturday Volunteering Group’ undertakes a range of tasks such as litterpicks, scrub clearance, vegetation management and fencing. The Saturday Volunteering Group is family friendly - children must be accompanied by an adult!

If you would like to help or want further information, please contact Claire Hannington on (01792) 390636 or email 3rd September - Cheriton: Bracken Clearance 1st October - Whiteford: Pine Pulling/Fencing 5th November - Mewslade: Gorse Clearance 3rd December - Bovehill: Scrub Clearance

This year the Mumbles Gower OceanFest will host the Welsh Longboard Classic, Bay 6K Paddle Enduro and the Gower SUP Surf Classic. With stand up paddle boarding and surf clinics, expert advice and free board demos, there'll be plenty of opportunities for newcomers to the sports and also anyone wishing to progress. The event sees the long-awaited return of the Welsh Longboard Classic, a prestigious surfing tournament which was considered one of the premier longboarding events in the country. The Longboard Classic ran for two decades and over the years attracted some distinguished names in the international field of surf stars and world champions, including Californian greats Jay Moriarty and Robert 'Wingnut' Weaver, star of the cult surf classic Endless Summer.  Whether competing in the tournaments or just chilling at the beach and soaking up the atmosphere, the event promises to deliver a spectacular experience for everyone.

contact the event organiser Jay Doyle on 07970 577879

10-17 SEPTEMBER 2011 The Gower Cycling Festival is an opportunity to explore some of Britain's most beautiful countryside. If you're a visitor seeking a relaxing way to see the sights, an experienced cyclist looking for a new area to explore, or a local resident expanding your cycling horizons, there is something to suit you.



ES tel: 01792 371206







r 6 10.00 Railway Inn, Killay

r 12 10.00 Railway Inn, Killay


Follows the beautiful coastal cyclepath through the Millennium Coastal Park hugging the Loughor estuary. Beautiful views to north Gower across the sea. We shall cycle through Pembrey Park with lunch at ‘Time for Tea’, Kidwelly.

Leader: John White | Challenging | 48 miles | All day


r 7 10.00 Railway Inn, Killay

IMAGE: Sustrans library


SATURDAY 10th SEPTEMBER Official Festival Launch by Martin Caton MP and Reena Owen 10.30 Blackpill Lido

r 1 11.00 Blackpill Lido (next to Junction Café) FAMILY FUN RIDE TO MUMBLES

An easy ride on cyclepath around Swansea Bay. With beaches café’s and Lido there is fun for all.

A grand circuit with views of the famous beautiful Worm’s Head. We’ll ride close to vast and spectacular west Gower beaches, with a lunch stop at Hill End, Llangennith.

Leader: David Naylor | Moderate | 32 miles | All Day

r 8 10.00 Railway Inn, Killay SWISS VALLEY

Away to the north on quiet roads we’ll climb high and drop into the Gwendraeth Valley which has a rich industrial heritage. Lunch at Caffi Cynnes in Pontyberem. Then it’s nearly all downhill back via the Sustrans Swiss Valley (route 47).

Leader: Martin Brain | Challenging | 42 miles | All day

Leader: Nick Guy | Gentle | 4 miles | 2 hours

r 2 11.00 Blackpill Lido (next to Junction Café) A GOWER TASTER

A mountain bike and part road ride via Clyne Common, across Bishopston Valley and Pennard Common, over Cefn Bryn with fantastic sea views to lunch at the Heritage Centre before returning to Blackpill.

Leader: Rob Wachowski | Challenging | 30 miles | All day


r 4 10.00 Gower Heritage Centre OFF ROAD OVER CEFN BRYN

If you have a mountain bike that’s never been off tarmac before, come and get some dirt on your tyres by climbing Cefn Bryn for spectacular views. No special mountain-biking skills required. End with BBQ at Gower Heritage Centre.

Leader: Claudine Conway | Gentle | 12 miles | Half day

r 5 10.00 Gower Heritage Centre CEFN BRYN PLUS

A ride over Cefn Bryn into west Gower. A character-building hill or two will reveal great views and a visit to King Arthur’s stone. The ride will take us through the heart of Gower’s ancient history. Rewarded by a BBQ at Gower Heritage Centre.

Leader: Phil Jones | Moderate | 15 miles | Half day

Leader: Nick Guy | Gentle | 15 miles | All day

r 13 10.00 Gower Heritage Centre A GOWER TRAVERSE

A route of contrasts exploring the differences between north and south Gower. We’ll visit the old yew tree at Penrice Church and seek the tomb of murdered Mary. Lunch at the Greyhound Inn, Oldwalls.

Sponsored by: Gower Farm Campsite, Reynoldston Leader: Don Ashman | Moderate | 22 miles | All day


14 10.00 Railway Inn, Killay r (10.45 Gower Heritage Centre for walk only)


Cycle to the Gower Heritage Centre via mid Gower road and Green Cwm. We’ll leave our bikes there to walk down Three Cliffs valley to the beautiful beach. Lunch at Three Cliffs café, Southgate before walking along a higher route. Then cycling back to the Railway inn via Ilston Church.

r 15a 9.00 Railway Inn, Killay


Leader: David Naylor | Moderate | 25 miles | All day

r 3 11.00 Blackpill Lido (next to Junction Café)

A gentle ride along the flat Sustrans NCN route 4, almost all on cycle paths. Time to explore the Wildfowl and Wetland centre at Penclacwydd (entry charge and café). Just before we finish visit the Ddol Farm vinyard for tea and cake. Inexperienced cyclists welcome.

Leader: David Naylor | Moderate | 12/4 miles ride/walk | All day

A circular route on cycle paths and quiet North Gower roads. Stunning views over the salt marshes. Lunch at the Greyhound pub, returning via the picturesque Green Cwm.






10.00 Railway Inn, Killay

Make the most of Swansea’s terrain. Approach our hilly city with determination and be rewarded with spectacular views and a new perspective on Swansea. On urban roads but low gears or strong legs needed. Lunch at Railway Inn.

Leader: Claudine Conway | Challenging | 20 miles | Half day

10 r 2pm Bikeability Centre, Dunvant Rugby Club


A gentle ride down the Clyne cycle path to Blackpill, featuring a variety of specially adapted bicycles. A refreshment stop at the Junction Café with Lido, beach and play area.

Leader: Bikeability | Gentle | 4 miles | Half day


r 11


10.00 Railway Inn, Killay

A longer ride up the Swansea Valley to the impressive Henrhyd Waterfalls. Back down a different valley and finishing around Swansea Bay. Bring sandwiches.

Leader: John Cardy | Challenging | 62 miles | All day

A long ride with some testing climbs, taking in one of the most breathtaking castles in Wales! Lunch at the Ferryside Café on the Towy estuary. Mostly on minor roads, a tough hilly route.

Leader: Claudine Conway | Challenging | 70 miles | All day

r 15b 10.00 Railway Inn, Killay


Up the Loughor valley with stunning views to the west and then up to the castle for lunch. Back the other side of the valley.

Leader: Phil Jones | Challenging | 48 miles | All day


16 r 11.00 Civic Centre (East car park)


A gentle flat ride along the Swansea Bay cycle path towards Mumbles and back, with a lunch stop at the Junction café, Blackpill. Adults can join us, if accompanied by a teenager.

Leaders: Rachel Guy & Claudine Conway | Gentle | 6 miles | Half day

r 17 10.00 Railway Inn, Killay NORTH GOWER CIRCUIT

This classic route is hilly on the way out but flat on the return home! The beautiful high Cilonnen Road offers views to the west from Welsh Moor (NT) and across the estuary to the north. We descend to the Salt Marsh road then pass through the village of Crofty, hub of the cockle industry.

Leader: Bob Smith | Gentle | 17 miles | Half day

r 18 10.00 Gower Heritage Centre


A challenging mountain bike circuit over the highest points of Gower, with spectacular views over Rhossili beach. Discover Gower’s natural charms including swooping single track roads, bridleways and rocky terrain. Please ride suitably equipped and wear a helmet. Lunch at Hill End.

Leader: Roy Church | Challenging | 30 miles | All day

FESTIVAL PARTY SAT 17th SEPTEMBER 7pm Gower Heritage Centre £5 (Children Free) A chance to reward ourselves for all the riding! Live music, Great venue, and unusual auction Licensed bar and food available. Hosted by:

Start points and facilities All start/finish points have car parks nearby - charges may apply. Blackpill Lido SA3 5AS. Public toilets, café. On cycle path NCN 4. Gower Heritage Centre SA3 2EH. Toilets, shop, cafés. Railway Inn, Killay SA2 7DS. On NCN 4 – no public toilets. Dunvant Rugby Club SA2 7RU. Free parking and toilets. Civic Centre East Car Park SA1 3SN. Toilets, café.

Marine Conservation Society ‘Beachwatch Big Weekend’ 17th and 18th September 2011

According to the Marine Conservation Society: Wales hit an all time high in average litter levels at 3,372 items for every kilometre surveyed. In 2010, 755 volunteers across Wales collected 62,694 items of litter!

Beach litter has almost doubled over the last fifteen years, and in 2010 alone, average litter levels across the UK jumped an alarming six percent compared to the year before. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) wants to break this rising trend, and the charity says they cannot do it without public support.

Photo: Š 2011: T Fanshawe

People of Gower and Swansea can help by taking part in this year’s MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend which will be taking place on the 17th and 18th of September - the event will see thousands of volunteers taking to the beaches all and around the UK coast. They will clean up and record the rubbish they find, as part of the International Coastal Cleanup which takes place in 80 countries worldwide.

Some of our best loved marine wildlife is under threat from hazardous litter in our seas. Hundreds of species of marine wildlife accidentally eat, or become tangled up in litter - and it’s also hazardous to people. The data collected during beach clean up and survey events shapes MCS’s beach litter campaigns and keeps the subject matter firmly on the Government’s agenda. MCS Beachwatch Officer Lauren Davis says it’s crucial we do something to tackle rising litter levels: “We’d like to see much more involvement around the UK coastline. Right now, we’re especially on the look out for people who can help us organise a beach clean in the area, and anyone can simply volunteer to take part.” Lauren says a beach clean is a great way to gather vital data: “It’s great to have the help of so many enthusiastic locals of all ages who are clearly passionate about getting involved and improving their local marine environment. It’s amazing what you can find, on the last survey in July we came across part of a bed post, far bigger and heavier than the young volunteer who was determined to drag it quite some distance off the beach!” // How to Get Involved \\ Beachwatch Big Weekend 2011 – be part of the biggest and most influential fight against marine litter in the UK. Events are set to take place on beaches around Gower. So far, ‘Beachwatch Big Weekend’ events are planned for Rhossili, Langland and Three Cliffs Bay. Find out more at or telephone 01989 566017

Marine Conservation Society Beachwatch Big Weekend

In July we came across part of a bed post, far bigger and heavier t h a n t h e yo u n g volunteer who was determined to drag it quite some distance off the beach!

Photo: © 2011: Matt Oldfield

Get Involved! 17th and 18th September 2011

September 2011 | Mumbles

Mumbles Tide Date




Predicted Times Shown in British Summer Time.

Saturday 3






Sunday 4






Monday 5






Tuesday 6






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Tide Predictions: © Crown Copyright and/or database rights. Reproduced by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office and the UK Hydrographic Office (

weekend weather

Community Gower Weather September, in a metrological sense, means the start of autumn. However, I would personally say, that having observed the weather and natural world, it probably started around the third week of August. Scientists and humans have a natural instinct to neatly categorise things like the seasons into fixed times. However, I would suggest Nature doesn’t always necessary work that way - the length of the seasons tend to fluctuate from year to year depending on the seasonal weather patterns at the time, and where you are in the country. The changes for the coming autumn subtly started in August. For a few weeks now, the leaves on the Silver Birches have been turning yellow; keep an eye out for Horse Chestnut leaves which produce a wonderful display this time of year. There have been plenty of wild berries and nuts around in the hedgerows too. Elsewhere in nature, the Swallows and other migrant bird have started their journey back to Africa. With the nights starting to draw in, there is a cool, damp smell in the air. This is followed next morning with mist and by heavy dew on the grass. As a geologist, I base my scientific observations in the reality of the dynamic outdoor living world, as opposed to a laboratory. What I would encourage is that you, the reader, to judge for yourself when the seasons start and finish. Use your senses, observe the natural world, look and see what the weather is doing, feel the rhythm of the planet around you.


Community Weekend Outlook 02/09/2011 - 05/09/2011 The weather this week has been dominated by High pressure that moved in off the Atlantic and stayed with us for most of the week. However the remnants of Hurricane Irene, that affected the East coast of the United States last weekend, is now moving across the Atlantic and is sitting south of Iceland. Friday The remnants of Irene will mostly affect Northern Ireland and Scotland. Gower should remain dry with some cloud and sunny spells. Overnight the remnant of Irene, now a weak weather front, will pass over just bringing cloudier conditions. However in its wake, a second weather system will be moving in from the SW during Saturday morning. Saturday will see a cloudy start to the day, the winds will pick up from the W/ SW direction as a cold front will move across us bringing rain around lunch time. This will be with us for most of the afternoon, hopefully clearing by the evening into the night. Sunday should be potentially a better day than Saturday, some cloud, the occasional shower and sunnier spells. The wind will be a noticeable feature around the 20mph mark, gusting at 36mph. Temperatures will be around 16/17째C. However, by late afternoon/evening cloud will roll in as the next Atlantic weather front moves in from the SW. Monday the start of the working week will start unsettled with variable conditions: rain and cloud with occasional sunny spells. The Westerly winds will be noticeable up to 20mph, gusting at 33mph. The outlook is another unsettled weekend, dominated by Atlantic weather systems, although Friday and Sunday look the best days for any outdoor activities. Have a good weekend whatever you are doing. Chris. Specific detailed daily forecasts can be obtained from professional organisations like the Met Office:


The Great British Weather By Chris Ridgway In my last ar tic le I outlined the differences between weather and climate, and touched upon the British climate being Temperate Marine. In developing the topic of the Dynamic Earth further, we have to ask: what causes the weather we experience here in the UK, and why do we have wet spells, cold snaps and occasional hot summers? You may have noticed in my weather outlooks that I refer to “weather systems off the Atlantic” - it is the complex interactions between the Atlantic Ocean and atmosphere which governs the weather, and ultimately the climate of NW Europe.

Picture - Rhossili Bay © 2011: Steve Pleydell


The NAO Seesaw Effect There is a seesaw of atmospheric pressure over the North Atlantic which alternates between High pressure over the Azores and Low pressure over Iceland. This constantly changing pressure gradient is known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The NAO “Index” expresses the constant shift in the oscillation from year to year and decade to decade. A High NAO Index means Low Pressure over Iceland and High Pressure over the Azores. For us that means persistent Westerly/South Westerly winds which bring warmth from the tropics and subsequent rainfall - this accounts for the often mild, damp and windy weather we experience here in the UK. In contrast, when the opposite occurs with a Low NAO Index - High pressure over Iceland and Low over the Azores - bringing weaker westerly winds, our weather is dominated by the continent. If a Low Index occurs in the summer, our weather tends to be dry and warm. If the Low Index occurs in the winter, cold air brings ice and snow.

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Jet Stream The NAO governs the position and strength of the “Jet Stream” in Northern Hemisphere at high latitudes - this is known as the Polar Jet. The Jet Streams are fast flowing currents of air, located on the boundary between the Troposphere and the Stratosphere, which flows in a sinuous path in a West-East direction around the Globe.

It is the position of this meandering Polar Jet, coupled with the NAO, that is important in determining the weather we experience. If the NAO Index is High, then the position of the Polar Jet is approximately over the UK, bringing us mild, wet weather from Atlantic weather systems - especially in the autumn and winter, or in recent years ‘wash out summers’. If the NAO Index is Low in the summer, then high pressure from the continent tends to ‘block’ the Polar Jet often positioning itself to the North of Scotland, bringing warm settled summers to most of the UK.


With a Low NAO Index in winter, the ‘blocking pattern’ of continental high pressure tends to push the position of the Polar Jet south into Spain and the Mediterranean, bringing cold, snowy winters which we have experienced in recent years.

North Atlantic Dynamics The seesaw of swings in the NAO is unceasing - cycles can last anything from a few decades to a few years. Swings in the NAO can be sometimes unpredictable and sudden. The extreme swings of the NAO are part of the complex atmospheric/ocean dynamics of the North Atlantic. There are a number of different variables from sea surface temperatures, strength of the Gulf Stream and distribution of Icebergs etc. The interactions are poorly understood, however some of the swings in the NAO may be accounted for by changes in the sea surface temperature. The Gulf Stream - a warm current of water that flows across the North Atlantic - brings mild, warm-water surface waters to the coastline of Britain from the Tropics. When this dense warm water flows North towards the Arctic, it sinks, carrying down salt and gases to the ocean depths. This sinking of salty water forms a vast heat pump which causes a constant influx of warmer water to Northern Latitudes.

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What happens when this conveyer belt of warm water fluctuates? By coincidence, when the ‘pump slows’ the temperatures fall in NW Europe; when the ‘pump’ resumes, temperatures rise!

Historical Weather Patterns Over the past 200 years, fluctuations in the NAO have produced memorable weather: a Low Index in the 1880’s brought cold winters; a Low Index in the 1940’s brought cold winters that interfered with Hitler’s plans to invade Russia; the 1960’s brought the coldest winters since the 1880’s. In contrast, the last quarter of the 20th Century saw a High Index, bringing with it, on average, milder, warmer conditions. Since the end of the last Ice Age, the weather in Britain and NW Europe has been dominated by changes in the NAO Index and changes in downwelling in the Arctic. The latest observations and geological evidence suggest that a Cooler Earth brings more rapid and greater fluctuations in the NAO Index, and therefore more extreme weather events such as snow, floods, heat and rain. The weather patterns become essentially extremely variable.


Just Coincidence? Is it coincidence then, that satellite data, in combination with ocean buoys, suggest the Earth’s atmosphere has been cooling since 1998 and the oceans themselves are also becoming cooler? Is the likelihood that the washout summers and cold winters we have experienced in recent years could be the result of a rapidly changing NAO Index because of a cooling Earth? Let us just say: it is not unprecedented! There is geological and historical evidence to suggest, that over 10,000 years since the end of the last Ice Age, as the Earth has warmed and cooled, it has a dramatic effect on the weather. 1315 saw the start of what we call the ‘Little Ice Age’ - it lasted to around 1850. Although this period wasn’t entirely cold, it was marked by dramatic, unpredictable swings in the weather as a result of a Cooler Earth. From 1315 to around the mid 1330’s, a series of wash out summers, cold winters and occasional hot summers were experienced. Sound familiar?

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Pennard Burrows: The Sands of Time

Ask SUE!

Ruth Madoc with Susan Rainey from Gower Ancestry

Are your ancestors from Gower?

In my next article I want to discuss how the realities of changing weather, and real climate changes, have shaped the histor y and landscapes of the Gower.

Who do you think they were?

~~~ “If the sun don’t come you get your tan from standing in the English rain.”

Send us your questions and we will ask sue to answer as many as possible by publishing them in future editions of gower e-news!

John Lennon


Last year Susan Rainey from Gower Ancestry conducted research for BBC Wales’ Coming Home series featuring the famous Welsh actress, Ruth Madoc. Susan said: “Ruth's ancestors came from Swansea, Llansamlet, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. Unfortunately none from Gower. “I was with Ruth all day at the filming of the programme in Swansea I even arranged for her to meet long-lost relatives from Llangennech.” One of the highlights of Susan’s research was the discovery that Ruth Madoc was related to former British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George.


45 Itʼs a sunny summerʼs afternoon on the Gower Peninsula. The tide is high and the sea is glistening. Thereʼs a wave breaking at Rhossili - not quite big enough to draw surfers out in their hoards, but just perfect for Jay and Abi, two local stand up paddle boarders, to make the most of the opportunity to surf in crowd-free waves – just one of the many perks of stand up paddle boarding.

Commonly referred to as SUP, stand up paddle boarding is one of the fastest-growing watersports in the world. The everincreasing members of the SUP community are now so omnipresent out on the water, it’s hard to believe that it was barely five years ago that the sport took off in the area. And on the 10th and 11th September, the local and international SUP communities will come together when Gower will host its very first official SUP tournaments at the Mumbles Gower OceanFest.

As is the case in traditional surfing, male SUP boarders outnumber the female contingent. But its popularity has grown steadily among women, not least because it’s an easily accessible watersport which brings a multitude of health and fitness benefits. To some, SUP facilitates a more rapid progress into surfing; the voluminous boards make catching waves easier, you’re already in the standing position and all set to catch the wave as your paddle propels you graciously through the water. So popular now is the sport among women that female-specific boards are being designed, streamlined in unnecessar y volume, making them lighter and easier to carry while aiding the board to be more responsive in waves.

One member of the female SUP community is Jay Doyle, founder of Mumbles Gower OceanFest. Jay has been a keen SUP boarder since she discovered the sport five years ago. “I was introduced to SUP by a friend who runs a watersports school on Swansea Bay,” said Jay. “The first time I tried it I fell off the board more than I could stay on it, but I was instantly hooked! Within a couple of days I’d bought my first SUP board and I haven’t looked back since. At first I thought I would use it mainly for leisurely flat-water fun; I love the core workout it provides and it’s a great way to improve your overall body alignment and strength. But gradually I started taking the board out in waves and now I go SUP surfing at every opportunity.

“I think one of the great things about SUP is that it can be as physically demanding or as gentle as you choose. I enjoy progressing my SUP surfing and to me the sport is my fitness regime, but I don’t feel the need to push myself too hard. I love the camaraderie among women out on the water - we’re always encouraging each other and it’s great to just hang out on the boards and have a laugh together. Sometimes we get inquisitive seals or porpoises coming close by which is amazing. You wouldn’t get that at the sweaty, crowded gym!”

SUP facilitates a more rapid progress into s u r fi n g ; the voluminous boards make catching waves easier, youʼre already in the standing position and all set to catch the wave as your paddle propels you graciously through the water.

“I’m hoping that the event will act as a platform to launch more initiatives to widen access to waterspor ts, regardless of someone’s background, age or ability. I get so much enjoyment out of SUP boarding, and I feel very fortunate for that. If this event goes just a little way to help and encourage others to get out on the water, to share that positive experience, then to me it will be a success.”


The Mumbles Gower OceanFest also sees the longawaited return of the Welsh Longboard Classic. The tournaments take place at Langland Bay, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 2011. Visit for more information or email Jay at

Words: Jay Doyle Pictures: Ben Wyeth

Shout Out! Car Park Charges There has been some debate on Gower News’ social media channels about the price of car parking in Swansea. Do you think the level of charges is fair - do they help or hinder the local tourism industry?

Save Clyne Valley According to local campaigners, Clyne Valley is under threat from Join the “Save Clyne Valley” Campaign

development. Campaigners say that through submissions as LDP candidate sites, Swansea City Council want to

turn tow parts of it into residential developments.


\\ Produce Market Cancelled // Due to a lack of demand, Three Crosses Local Produce Market is no longer taking place.

Public Meetings ➡

Swansea Council: Performance and Finance Overview and Scrutiny - 5th September 2011 at 10.00am

Upper Killay Community Council: Monday 5th September at 7:30pm (Recreational Hall)

Swansea Council: Health Social Care and Well Being Overview and Scrutiny - 6th September 2011 at 10.00am


Shout Out! If you do not look at the past, how will you know what the future holds? Local business owner, Simon Jayham, shares his thoughts on the impact of British weather on local tourism. This season has at least been drier than the last five years, but that is the only good point. To be fair, with the temperature on a regular basis only reaching 14 - 17°c in August this year, it really helped kill-off any hope of a boom at the beaches. It has been for some, a perfect storm: lack of money, fuel prices, car park fees, cost of tea and cakes at beach cafes...the list is endless. Mind you, many of these costs would be overlooked if the weather was good - this brings me onto the heading above.   During the last five years, the weather has been worse than the usual British summer - some academics are saying we are nearly over halfway through a 10 year cycle.  Therefore, what have we learned from the last five years (summer seasons), and how could we improve our product to suit the British seaside visitor?  Firstly, what have we learned? Easter will be better than the summer, so do not go away to Europe as the weather for the last 5 years has been better on the ‘Costa Del Caswell’ than the Costa del Brava! The weather will be ok up until, or after, Wimbledon and start getting worse towards mid July - regressing when the school holidays start! Yes, the wet season/changeable weather arrives for 6-8 weeks. After that, we then have a settled period up until end of November which leads nicely into a white December - when the good old British transport system will shut down again (do not book a flight in December). It is what it is: a British Summer! So travel prepared, plan your outings and activities that will help you enjoy the holidays whatever the weather.


How can we improve and make the most of things? The tourism teams in Swansea and Wales, together with the tourism businesses and operators, need to start pushing wet weather images and wet weather activities - wet, wet, wet - you get my drift there, don't you? Target the good weather periods of Easter and September to November (which used to be off-peak but are now becoming peak!). This of course means all activities being open such as Blackpill lido which, for last five years, has not managed to be open for any of the out of ‘season’ heat waves. Instead, its unsightly temporary fencing has remained erected until the last Bank Holiday of May (conforming with the old idea of British Summertime). Places to stay and places to eat need to get real and consider what they are charging for their products. For starters, they need to compare themselves with an all-inclusive holiday in the sun! Why? Well, that is what a load of our visitors do. The inflexible car parking prices need to be analysed, and the guys that give the tickets out need to go on a ‘welcome host’ course, as do many council employees. Although some in the region do not like, or understand, the dynamics of tourism - it is here to stay. In fact, it is one of the few areas of growth in these challenging times.  Perhaps by treating the region as a 'Big Hotel' we will increase much needed revenue, which in turn, with the correct stewardship, will help progress our region forward. The bottom line is: it is simple to blame the weather, government or local council for hard times, but every dark cloud has a silver lining, and for the next five years there will be plenty of dark clouds! By Simon Jayham (Surf GSD)



Flute LessonS

If you are a beginner, the consultation lesson will allow you to try a flute and get advice about hiring or buying an instrument, if you then decide that you wish to start. If you play already a longer consultation will be appropriate. Individual weekly or fortnightly lessons can then be arranged of any length from 20 to 40 minutes depending upon age, standard and stamina. Theory lessons and pre-instrumental classes are also available. Pre-instrumental lessons are usually taken in groups and prepare children for learning any instrument. The Curwen and Dalcroze techniques used help develop the child's aural awareness and aim to get them feeling music as well as reading it before beginning to play.


Rhian Clement B. Mus (Hons) Lond. Rhian enjoys teaching from beginner to conservatoire level and offers professional lessons for beginners, non-beginners, children and adults. *Enhanced CRB disclosure. To find out more and/or to arrange a time for a consultation lesson:

Tel: 01792 233978 or for texts 07772 533891 e-mail:

‘Gower Labradors’

Labrador Retriever Puppies

Advertisement Pedigree Retriever Labradors Puppies > Available Early November 2011

> Dam and Sire Kennel Club Registered

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> For More Information & Register Interest Online



Coffee and Croissants

Saturday 1st October 10am

ÂŁ10/adult To register, send an email to: Includes: coffee/tea/croissants and homemade cakes - plus a chance to explore Gower with others. Proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support.



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Issue 5 - 03/09/2011 - Copyright 2011 - All Rights Reserved

Biography Ian Ambrose BA (Hons) FInstAM (Dip) MInstLM Ian grew up in Swansea and spent much of his summer holidaying around the Gower peninsula. After leaving school at the age of 16, Ian enlisted into the British Army as a professional musician. On completion of 12 years service in 2003, Ian became Community Manager for The Salvation Army at their Richardson Street Citadel in Swansea, having first gained a Diploma in Administrative Management through the British Army’s resettlement training programme. In 2008 Ian established Prestige Ironing, a professional collect and return ironing service in Swansea. As part of his continuing professional development, Ian graduated from Swansea Metropolitan University in 2011 with a First Class Honours in Public Services. Ian is a Fellow of the Institute of Administrative Management and a Member of the Institute of Leadership and Management. Ian’s interests include: management, leadership, administration, marketing communication, writing, hyper-local blogging and social media. He is married with three children and lives on the Gower peninsula. Gower News was established by Ian in 2009 - it has continued to develop and grow into Gower’s most up-to-date independent news, events and information service for Gower.

Biography Chris Ridgway

Gower News: e-News Publication - Issue 5 - 3rd September 2011  

3rd September 2011. Why Stand Up Paddle boarding is a hit with the ladies! Mumbles-Gower OceanFest 9th-11th September 2011. Gower e-News is...

Gower News: e-News Publication - Issue 5 - 3rd September 2011  

3rd September 2011. Why Stand Up Paddle boarding is a hit with the ladies! Mumbles-Gower OceanFest 9th-11th September 2011. Gower e-News is...