Finally, after many days of rain, we had a dry and sunny afternoon last weekend. We decided to make the most of the gorgeous weather and visit one of our local beaches at Barry Island. Made famous by ‘Gavin and Stacey’, Barry Island is a traditional, old-fashioned sea-side beach with amusement arcades, shops selling chips in cones, candy floss on sticks and sweet rock with words through the middle. My favourite are the tuppenny slot machines, where you roll your copper coins down a slide and try desperately to win more. What else could you want at the sea-side.
After parking the car, we headed straight to a shop that sells fresh doughnuts. They came all warm in a paper bag and sprinkled with sugar. They were delicious. As we licked the last of the sugar from our lips and fingers, we headed down to the beach which was full of other families all making the most of the lovely weather.
After the recent storms, the beach was awash with driftwood which we used as our obstacle course, climbing over bits of wood and balancing on tree trunks that had been washed up on the sand.
Next came the building of an alien, who had crash-landed flat in the sand from outer space. We used sea weed for hair, sticks for ears and made waves and patterns in the body with shells and other random objects we found on the beach. I forgot how lovely it is to just sit on the sand sculpting shapes with your hands. We all got lost in the design of our little friend and spent nearly an hour creating our own piece of sand-art. Andy Goldsworthy would have been proud!
After that, we made our way down the sea to enjoy the last few moments of the sun before it set behind the cliffs. We played tag and made snake lines in the sand with our sticks. We headed up the shops, carried on the scent of golden crispy fried chips. We treated ourselves to a tray of chips with a splash of gravy, and it was all washed down with a mug of steaming sweet tea. Delicious!
We had such a lovely afternoon at the beach, recharging our batteries and feeling the sun on our faces. For me, this is why I enjoy living in Wales – I feel so lucky to have such beautiful environments close by. The lovely beaches, the mountains and forests, and Brecon only a 40 minute drive away. We have it all.
Let’s all just hope these sunny, crisp days come again soon, so that everyone can take some time out, and make the best of whatever the great outdoors has to offer.
Winter is well and truly on its’ way. We decided to make the most of a dry Sunday afternoon and went for a blowy walk at Ogmore beach in the Vale of Glamorgan. Hats, scarfs and warm coats came out of the cupboard for the first outing of the year, and we wrapped up warm against the driving wind and rain.
We wanted to go slightly off the normal well-trodden path,and so we parked at a smaller car park in between the main beach and Southerdown. After a short downhill walk, we came upon rocky cliffs that can be scaled down to a real rock hopping experience along a magnificent unspoiled coastline. A bit of care of awareness is needed while scrambling down. Our mission was to find fossils and driftwood for our ever-growing collection.
Hundreds of amazing fossils are dotted on each and every boulder underfoot, as you make your way down the beach. Fantastic swirls, beautiful patterns and obvious images of a life-form from millenniums long-past are etched in the rocks along this stretch of coastline. Just be aware that the cliffs are too fragile to start chipping away, and the turning tide is really fast. If you think of taking a small snapshot of these stunning sights home with you, the best way way is to get down close to the shale and take away bits of rocks that have already eroded.
Just some of the brilliant examples of the fossilized treasures that we found…
The cliff views are simply stunning. This environment is almost prehistoric.
A good tip would be to always check out the tide times before heading to any beach, especially at Ogmore. You could easily get immersed in the environment and have to suddenly escape from an incoming tide which could prove very tricky because of the rocky uphill terrain on this beach.
So for my little adventurer, Ogmore beach is the best destination for an easy Sunday outing. And a good beach is really important in life.
It’s been a while since my last post but, by making use of some free time over Christmas, I was able to get some memories and photographs in order.
My last post was about our decision how to spend our family holiday. We decided on being adventurous and chose to visit St Davids in Pembroke. I’ve been there many times with my work, but had never been there with my family.
We chose a quiet campsite called Porth Clais which is situated about 10 minutes out-of-town and is very close to, (if not almost ON), the cliff edge. I wouldn’t like to call it a basic campsite but, at £7 for adults and £3 for children, you get clean and warm showers, toilets, places to wash dishes etc, as well as a good area for washing your wetsuits. Porth Clais also offers a lot more services at reception which always come in handy for when those “important” items get forgot!
The journey down was great, but the reaction from my husband and daughter when we reached our destination was amazing. The long stretch of beautiful beaches, little unique coffee shops, etc, were all met with very happy faces.
This time, putting up tents was easy. We’ve both realised that using each other’s strengths and weaknesses are paramount, (so I took the lead). When our ‘home’ was ready, I took my family to my favourite place, the walk down to the harbour. As you can see from the pictures, its beautiful and is truly one of my most favourite places to be.
So, for the week we were there, we had one very gorgeous sunny beach day with ice creams and body boarding. Leisurely sitting in coffee shops drinking lattes and eating slabs of rustic, home-made chocolate cake. Oh yes, and delicious, freshly cooked fish and chips in the town centre. Then catching crawly-crabs with a cheap line thrown from the harbour wall. My favourite activity was when my daughter jumped from the harbour wall into the sea… a very proud parent moment.
It was a fantastic holiday. Both my husband and daughter, (on separate occasions), wanted to move down to St Davids, as they loved it that much.
So from the nervous decision-making from my husband and me chosing a camping holiday we came away at the and of a relaxing week both agreeing that we had made the best decision and we are already planning when we can go back.
I recently went on a training day through my work. I spent a gloriously sunny day at Caswell beach in the Gower, South Wales. It’s a stunning beach where we, as a work unit, regularly surf and coasteer. But my visit was slightly different this time. The course was all about the promotion of Beach Schools.
Its’ aim is to bring children out of their classrooms and into nature, where they can learn about, and appreciate nature, within the environment. It was a brilliant day. I came away with a wealth of knowledge of sea life, learned some new, fun (and cheap) games for children to play on the beach, incorporating sensory activities, beach art and, most importantly,.. the joy of rock pooling.
I remember, as a child, spending hours exploring rock pools when the tide was out at my local beach. Waiting patiently, expecting to find huge crabs; always finding unusual and colourful shells which were shoved into pockets for “trading” later on in school. Always, the while, thinking that it was daring to leap from one rock to the next to avoid whirls of incoming tidal sea water.
With this in mind, I took my daughter to a nearby beach to pass on everything I had learnt from my course. It was a sunny, but slightly windy day, but that didn’t deter us as we loaded the car with buckets, spades and our nets. Off we went to Llantwit Major, where my father knew of a great rocky stretch which wasn’t too busy and was a great place to explore.
We arrived just as the tide went out, leaving us with perfect conditions for rock pooling. As we started exploring the pools of crisp, clear, salty water, I started to tell my daughter about the different animals she could find, about the different shells and what animals could have lived in them. I explained how there where so many varietys of seaweed. It was fantastic. She was so interested in this simple activity. We jumped from rock to rock, exploring each pool and identifying shells and animals trapped within.
I was so happy in her enthusiasm. It was great experience, as through her sense of exploration, my mother and father, (who had “tagged along”!!), also became engrossed in searching for good rock pools and I could regularly hear them calling for my daughter to “come and see what I’ve found”.
We spent nearly three hours at the beach. We came away with a great collection of shells and a hunger for a slice of Victoria sponge and a steaming mug of hot chocolate, bought from the beach’s quaint, old-school cafe, selling homemade cakes, which was another amazing bonus.
What a great way to spend a Sunday. My daughter went to school the next day with stories of her adventures, her shell collection and lots of facts about sea life.
In an age of computer games, “Kindled” novels, DVD’s and smartphones, it was fantastic that this simple activity could engage my little girl in such deep exploration of her environment. More importantly, it was amazing to watch her grand-parents…… my OWN mum and dad, revisit activities that were such a huge part of their own childhood activities and development.
This weeks’ question, dear reader, is what was the thing that bridged the generation gap for you, and your kin. What happened. Was it a momentus thing, or did it go unnoticed by others, except for you and your young ones.