Planning for the Gower Ultra
With the Gower Coastal Trail Series Ultra 35 mile looming just around the corner, a day off work and perfect weather forecast, this was the perfect opportunity for a recce run around part of the Gower. I did a similar run prior to running SBU35 and familiarising myself with even just a portion of the course proved to be very beneficial in both orientating myself and helping pace myself.
The planned route was going to follow half marathon course which I would have to run along most of and it was a circular route. The full route was approximately 13-14 miles but had options to shorten it if I was running out of time.
I had originally planned to start and finish the route at Rhossili to make use of my National Trust membership for free parking but the sat-nav decided to switch off en-route so I ended up in Llangennith to the north. Knowing that this is essentially the end of the road there was little point in heading back and around to Rhossili, particularly as it was a circular route so didn’t matter where I started.
Llangennith has a large static caravan site and large car park (£3 all day) that is very popular with surfers. I parked the car close to the dunes behind Rhossili Bay Beach and then headed off towards the north. You pass through a sandy path which is difficult to trudge through but thankfully is short before you reach the beach and harder, compacted sand.
On such as sunny day you can fully appreciate why Rhossili is frequently ranked by travellers as one of the best beaches in Britain and even the world! The three mile stretch of coastline joins Worms Head in the south to Burry Holms in the north. It’s extremely popular with surfers, dog walkers and runners and even on a gloomy day it’s a stunning place to visit.
Following the Wales Coast Path I climbed up past Three Chimneys and Bluepool Corner around through a caravan site and up onto the first main climb – Llanmadoc Hill. Climbing up and around the hill you are have stunning views looking out towards Rhossili Bay and Worm’s Head. Up to this point I’m not sure how often I had stopped to take photographs as there were so many picturesque views.
Cresting Llanmadoc Hill it’s a fast descent to the village of Llangennith and then out onto Rhossili Down and another ascent. Rather than ascending to the top of the Down you skirt around the edge making the ascent easier. Along the way you pass Sweyne’s Howes which are the remains of a burial chamber dating back around 5,000 years. Tucked away beneath one of the large stones was a geocache – the first I had stumbled upon. Placed by the National Trust it had a few snacks inside and a guestbook.
Leaving the downs I was running out of time so rather than following the route around the coast and Worm’s Head I head back towards the start. Ignoring that part of the route I should have climbed back over the steeper section of Rhossili Down butt as I’ve climbed this before I know what to expect so decided to head back along the beach so that I could take more photographs.
Route Map and Profile