Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Pious Pelican

When I was living in Cardiff and surfing in South Wales, I was always intrigued by a pub called The Pelican in her Piety at Ogmore. It turns out to be charming, and a good place to wait for the howling onshore wind to drop. Yesterday (only yesterday!) there was barely a breath of wind, and the surf was great, a nice, easy, head-high wave peeling gently into the rivermouth near here, and not too many surfers in the water.

Llantwit Major was a different story. The No Dropping In rule doesn't seem to apply there. Which is a shame, as it's a nice, long right hand reef. And not too difficult to paddle into, for intermediate surfers of a certain age like me. It's just that every time you get up, there's some Llantwit ahead of you, making the wave crumble and close down before you get there. Perhaps they're just very friendly, and want to lead the way on every wave, just so you don't feel lonely. Llantwits. (I'm assuming Llant is a Welsh five-letter word for an act of copulation, where Anglo-Saxons use a four-letter one).

So anyway, I'm back on the road again, again, after a fantastic couple of weeks revisiting the north coast of Scotland. I surfed the two most isolated beaches in Britain, met four most excellent eccentrics, bumped into Snoz again, and had another shot at Thurso East.

Sandwood Bay is the northernmost beach on the West Coast of Scotland - a long, exposed bay just below Cape Wrath. It's a four mile walk over the moors from the nearest access point, the village of Oldshoremore. It took about an hour and a half to get there, carrying board, wetsuit, water and lunch. And well over two hours to get back. But it's through fantastic scenery, like this:
And when you get there, you're greeted by this:
I set off early and didn't see another soul until I was warming up, ready to hit the water, which made it feel all the more isolated - a sensation that was soon punctured by the steady trickle of walkers out on a Sunday hike. The waves started out big and wind-swept, but unfortunately soon died down to just wind-swept, with a horrendous longshore rip that tears at your legs and sweeps you up the beach. But it's still worth the trek.

On the way back to Durness, you pass through more fabulous scenery, like this:
And when you get there, you're faced with a dilemma: do you head for the campsite, along with all the motorhomes...
Or do you camp somewhere more secluded, like this?
Hmm, tricky one.

1 comment:

kukurusta said...

Marvelous JB, keep on moving, we keep on reading. Big hug from far far away.