I’ve decided to use this picture for Ailsa’s travel theme this week (click here to see more entries). I was camping near the beach at Port Eynon in The Gower, South Wales with some friends. In between bouts of heavy rain, the sun would come out and I’d grab my camera to take a few shots of the stunning scenery that The Gower is famous for. I loved the detail on these rocks, so I bent down to get a better look. This is what the beach looked like from a more usual angle…
Exploring new places is one of the things I love most about travelling. Seeing new landscapes, finding different subjects for photographs and discovering those little oddities that make places unique are all things that excite me. So when one of my best friends announced that she wanted to celebrate her 30th birthday camping in Port Eynon, somewhere I’ve never camped before, I jumped at the chance. I had briefly visited Port Eynon once before, but I hadn’t had the chance to explore much. During the winter, I’d offered to take my mum and dad on a drive around the Gower so they could see a bit more of Wales. The weather was pretty dire that day, so our experience of Port Eynon was nothing more than running from the car to the fish & chip shop for dinner and then back again. It was so grey that I didn’t even realise there was a camp site less than 100 metres away.
My second trip to Port Eynon, I am happy to say, was much more successful. I wouldn’t recommend Carreglwyd camp site, though. They are very insistent (on their web site, on the booking form, face-to-face) that their camp site is for FAMILIES ONLY. NO GROUPS are allowed. If, for any reason, you do not understand this rule, they will kindly repeat it to you at every given opportunity. Our party was mainly my friend’s family, all age ranges included, and then a few more of us who booked in as pairs. So as not to disturb anyone, we camped at the very far end of the campsite (a 15 minute walk to the toilets, which were next to the electrical hook-ups – the only people on a campsite that don’t need a toilet?!). It turns out, however, that as long as you’re part of a ‘family’ (which apparently can include school groups and families where every member is about the same age), you can make as much noise and disturbance as you want. Members of our party were quizzed every time we walked through the site. Were we staying there? As the only other reason to be there was to walk the coastal path which runs through the site, I did point out that I’d be unlikely to be hiking wearing shorts, sandals and a vest top and carrying nothing but toilet roll in my hand. Members of my friend’s family were stopped from entering the site and we were generally made to feel very unwelcome. The only people in our party who weren’t treated this way were a gay couple. In the UK, it’s against the law to discriminate against someone because of their sexuality, and rightly so. You can, however, choose to make assumptions about and discriminate against people because of their age and who they choose to travel with. I think it’s time that businesses need to stop assuming that ‘groups’ are going to be disruptive and realise that anyone can make a disturbance if they put their mind to it, regardless of age, race, sexuality or how many of them there are. My tent-mate and I did make a trip to another local caravan park, as they are the proud owners of the only supermarket in Port Eynon. I have to say we were made to feel very welcome there, so rest assured there are nice places to stay in the area.
The accommodation issues did not dampen out weekend, though. Although we had the weirdest weather, bright sunshine interspersed with sudden, dramatic rain showers, once we’d pinned down all the tents in the strong winds we had a really nice, relaxing time. Port Eynon, like all of the Gower, is beautiful. Here are some photos that I managed to take between the rain showers.