My sister gave me a call and asked whether I was free the following Monday and Tuesday, and strangely I was. I was working the weekend so had the time off in lieu. We originally planned to drive up to Scotland and do some camping up there, but as we only had one night, we settled for Wales, and revisited an area we used to go as kids.
We were not exactly sure where we were driving, but once we spotted the Gower Inn we knew we were in the right area. The outdoor playground had gone, but the pub looked largely the same as far as I could tell – the last time we had been here was over 15 years ago. We parked in the car park and had a quick pint before getting our things together and setting off.
The footpath to Three Cliffs Bay was relatively short, but we walked slowly and chatted. It was nice to be back here, and as it was off season and during the week, nobody was around. The woods were starting to feel the effects of autumn and were bare and sticky. We followed the meandering river to the sea and it wasn’t long till we made it to the beach. Threatening grey clouds trundled through the angry sky, and the salty sea air whipped at our faces and cries of inquisitive seagulls echoed all around. The sea crashed in the distance, and the strip of sand slowly panned up into view as we got closer. We found a secluded spot and cracked open the thermos and had a small lunch of leek soup – leftovers from the previous night.
We bumped into several people walking their dogs along the beach, most of them stopping for a windswept chat, the conversation naturally being about the area and how much they liked it down here. We hadn’t been walking long before it started getting dark. We had walked past the ruins of a castle earlier, and decided to head back there to camp. The wind had picked up considerably and the rain was hammering down. We found a sheltered spot and set up the tent, before getting in and having a dinner of hummus, french bread and crisps (the cornerstone of any nutritious meal). We ventured back into town to the shop to get some more supplies (beer), but we got their a fraction too late and it was closed. We decided to walk to the pub instead. We got chatting to a bus driver who had finished his shift, he told us in a thick welsh accent:
“Don’t bother walking to the pub, there’s a bus due any minute, I’ll tell him where your headed and he’ll take you up to the pub for no charge”.
So we waited for the bus whilst chatting to this nice man and got a free ride to the pub. After a drink we ambled back to the tent, which thankfully hadn’t blown away. We got in, played some more cards and then at around 9pm fell asleep. As it had been dark since 4 it felt much later than it actually was.
We both slept intermittently all night, being woken from the wind hitting the tent with almighty slaps and flurries of rain. But, even though tired when I woke, I felt refreshed. Sleeping outdoors is an invigoration experience that connects you to your surroundings. It felt like we were kids again, exploring the outdoors and having a proper adventure.