A sharp frost was on the ground on a Sunday morning in February when we set off for the two hundred mile drive to the Gower Peninsula. We drove on through a Winter wonderland of white with the cars outside thermometer steadfastly reporting minus two degrees C.
But as we approached the South Wales coast the frost thawed and the temperature soared. We met our guides Alan Murphy and Dominic McGivern in the car park of the "Gower Inn" swiftly setting up Lenseman with the helmet camera we set off via the Watermill and on along a gentle forest road in to Park Wood. The climb became gradually steeper and finally we exited the wood and turned up on to the long ridge of Cefn Bryn. The sun was beating down and winter kit was stripped at every halt. The Cefn Bryn is a classic moor top ridge and it reminded us strongly of the Long Mynd in Shropshire. Alan described the up-coming high speed descent and we switched on the video, then hit the big ring and blasted along jostling for position, each trying to be the first to hit the descent proper.
I took the lead and instantly regretted it as we hit two sets of tractor tyre ruts crossing the trail around a foot deep, my Girvin forks bottomed out three times in heart stopping succession as my fork saved my skin for the umpteenth time. We sped on down a sweeping right hander and on towards a screeching halt just in front of a deadly looking ditch.
The filming was a write off, Tom's helmet had tilted and the whole sequence was on a 30 degree off camber. Still, it showed the speed of the descent nicely as we replayed it holding the camera 30 degrees the other way... A short road stretch brought us to a farm road then a steep climb led back up on to the moors. From the top of here a helter skelter single track had us bouncing off gorse bushes (ouch) and skidding down to a sudden stop at a minor road with a big collection of grins all round.
A quick nip through Llangennith to Hill End and we came out from under a cloud that sat on the moor. Here we had our first view of the breathtaking Rhossili Bay. No tacky seafront and concrete wall here, the huge hills of the Rhossili Down drop straight to the vast beach and across the foot of the Down, high above the beach, runs a single track bridleway.
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