It was a depressing start to day two of our visit to Swansea and Gower.
I drew back the curtains of the hotel bedroom and looked out over a damp
and murky Swansea Bay. Eira Wyn had already dressed and mumbled
"Bernard, where are we going today?" I mumbled back "We
might as well go to Mumbles".
We had never visited Swansea or Mumbles before but the name always fascinated
me. It sounds so Dylan Thomasy.
Mumbles is a village just a couple of miles outside of Swansea that reaches
to the Western most tip of the Bay of Swansea. It is made up of a number
of districts including Mayals, Newton, Oystermouth and West Cross. But
the actual Mumbles are the two small islands that project out from the
headland into the Bristol Channel.
The sea was relatively calm on the day of our visit but even so the currents
around the islands looked treacherous and it was easy to see why they
needed the lighthouse that is planted on the further most Mumble.
We arrived at the headland above Bracelet Bay after a ten minute drive
from the hotel and parked up the car on the municipal Car Park. Being
October it was out of season and thus free parking. After taking the obligatory
pictures of the Mumbles and the Lighthouse we popped into the Cafe that
sits on the headland.
I can imagine that if I were a local I would have protested about the
construction of such a building being built on such a beautiful location.
But I presume that it has been built on the site of another earlier building
and it is a lovely spot to have a cup of tea and appreciate the grand
view. I got the impression the Cafe was owned by one of the South Wales
"Tafia" , one of the many Italian families who settled in South
Wales and seem
to run all the ice cream parlours and coffee shops.
It was a bit early in the day for Eira Wyn to sample the ice cream so
we settled for a cup of tea and toast. The staff were very pleasant and
the cafe seemed to be very popular, considering it was an October morning,
with it's own community of regulars.
Feeling refreshed we made our way to Mumbles Pier. It was a pleasant
surprise ( in a shadenfreuden sort of way) to find that our home town
Pier, in Colwyn Bay,
is not the only wrecked Pier in Wales !
Eira Wyn thought it was a dump ! But I loved it.
The land based part of the Pier complex is an interesting mixture of
old Victorian buildings housing an Ice Rink and newer buildings that housed
a conservatory style restaurant, cafe and amusement arcades. The Pier
itself has undergone considerable works of repair and it is obviously
on-going as the far section of the Pier
is in ruins. It is only 50p to enter the Pier, which is cheap at half
the price, especially if you are lucky enough to be there when they launch
the Mumbles lifeboat that is attached to the Pier.
I wasn't that lucky.
But I would strongly recommend a walk on the Pier. The powerful currents
of the Bristol Channel rush below your feet and on through the gaps between
the Mumbles Islands. A lone angler told me he had caught Sea Bass between
6lb and 8lb. That's big Bass.
From the Pier we made our way back into Mumbles town itself. It is basically
one long road facing the mud and sand of Swansea Bay. There are an eclectic
mix of shops, restaurants, and pubs and, although it was mid October when
we made our visit we could see from the number of business premises that
it was a busy, bustling resort. We had heard of the "Mumbles Mile"
and it's legendary nightlife but unfortunately we were unable to sample
it as we only had time for a day time visit. Perhaps the "night life"
tag explains the fact that most of the properties needed a fresh coat
of paint. I often find that resorts that are heaving at night, with bright
lights flashing, look like abandoned wild west towns with a lone tumble
weed rolling down the street when viewed in the cold light of day.
After a bit of window shopping, and debating whether we needed that essential
Welsh item, an umbrella, we turned up Newton Road, another busy shopping
street, and found a nice little cafe for a snack before we payed a visit
to Oystermouth Castle.
The Castle itself was closed on the day of our visit but it is in a
pleasant parkland off Newton Road, just a few hundred yards from the
seafront. Although the sky had clouded over I managed to take a few
half decent pictures of the Castle, and the gentleman who was cleaning
the toilets in the park was a cheerful man who whistled while he worked
and brightened up the day.
Making our way back to the seafront we passed a fish-mongers selling
a great selection of sea foods including
fresh scollops, looking as fresh as the scollops I had found on Oxwich
Beach the day before. 80p per scollop, again cheap at half the price.
Turning the corner on to the seafront we found a shop selling those other
essential items of a tourist to Wales ... love spoons. The shop is called
"The Love spoon Gallery" and they have an excellent selection
of intricately carved examples of this ancient Welsh tradition.
At first site some appear expensive but when you consider the amount of
work that has gone into the carving of the spoons they are actually very
Our visit to Mumbles took place in mid October, and no British seaside
resort presents itself at it's best so late in the season, but we will
definitely visit Mumbles again.
The sun was breaking through by now and we decided to drive round the
Mumbles headland to see what was there. Langland
Bay was there. >
Page 1 of the Gower : Port Eynon >
Page 2 of the Gower : Oxwich Bay >
Page 3 of the Gower : Mumbles >
Page 4 of the Gower : Langland Bay >