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📍 At the tip of the Gower Peninsula in Wales, through the quaint beachside village of Llangennith lies a hidden coastal treasure.


🚙 Approximately two hours drive from Bristol we headed to Broughton Farm Caravan Park (SA3 1JP) where, just outside its entrance, we parked and set off. Following limited instructions and a single large sign signalling 'BLUE POOL' 👉we meandered through the now sleepy caravan park, making sure to head left on to the coastal trail. The path was well worn, a reminder of busier summer days now replaced by a calmer rhythm.

🌊 I love visiting the coast in winter. Without the hum of people, you can really enjoy the landscape, empty of the busy distraction summer brings. As we walked I could hear the shrill chirps of small birds in the tall untamed grass, catching fleeting glimpses as they fluttered between the coppering bracken.


🚶🏼 Having walked for roughly 15 minutes from the caravan park we made it to a bench overlooking an empty beach named Broughton Bay, the sand untouched by a single footprint. With no sign to tell us whether this was it, except for a small ankle-high post with an arrow pointing towards a loose sandy path down to the beach, we took a gamble and followed it. About half-way down we spotted what we were here for - the Blue Pool Corner, a cauldron in a landscape of steep cliffs, one of the best plunge pools in Britain.

🗺 Getting down to it is not easy. The sandy path ends half-way down and from there it's a scramble across rocks. Be careful not to head towards the pool at this point. The best route to follow is off to the right towards the sea. Here you'll find there's a relatively easy way down. Going the other way leads you to a metal stake which marks a ledge with a sharp fall.


💦 Once safely down we climbed the pool's edge and peered into its depths. Nothing stirred apart from a shoal of tiny fish puckering at the surface leaving small ripples like soft raindrops. This was the first time I had seen anything like this in the UK. Carved out by wind-driven eddies swirling rocks at its bottom, the pool is an alien feature amongst the steep cliffs which surround it. The colour of the water was unusual too. Unlike the sea, it glowed a deep aquamarine colour, something I later read is caused by a build-up of minerals and lack of seawater input. A mark of its isolation from the sea until the next high tide that will replenish it.


💦 With as much grace as anyone can have putting on a wetsuit with cold fingers, we quickly wrestled into them. Holding my breath I lowered myself in, not having the guts to jump and risk a phenomenal brain freeze, unlike George who decided no half measures was the best approach. When the cold water hits you it's a pretty intense feeling. Your whole body tenses in response. But after a couple of minutes swimming, a warmth takes over your body and it begins to relax. There's something incredibly refreshing about it.

💦 After my first dip, it didn't take long before I worked up the confidence to jump in. On its highest edge, it's a good 3 metres drop but the pool's depth varies depending on the tide so always make sure you test it. When we visited we couldn't see the bottom and after inspection found it was not even two meters deep. Just about OK for jumping! We stayed at the pool for a good hour, enjoying the therapeutic effect of a day spent by the sea. Utterly distracted, it amazed me how quickly I forgot about the cold. As someone who shivers in the freezer section at Tesco, I would be lying if I said I hadn't been nervous about getting in a pool in a chilly 5 degrees. But what the day taught me is that our bodies are capable of incredible things and stepping outside of your comfort zone can be one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do.


🌅 Sadly, the day was over all too soon and as the autumnal sun began to fade we decided it was time to leave and get on the road to a hot shower and cosy pyjamas. Putting on dry clothes at this point was the dreamiest feeling ever. I felt completely refreshed and my mind washed of any stress caused by the working week before. As we climbed the sandy path back to the top of the cliff, I had one little last look at the cauldron that had captured my heart and vowed I'd be back for another chilly dip soon.


Don't forget to tag us in your adventures with #OceanRoamer!


🌊Happy Roaming 🌊


🌺Charlie 🌺



Post dip happiness👇

🍂Autumn has well and truly arrived and the last of the summer sun has gone. Life in the British countryside is getting sleepy, slowly fading into a winter slumber full of frosty mornings and naked hedgerows. But for the ocean, this time of year brings a whole new wave of life and it's not too late to see it.


🍃Most animals wait until the turn of spring to have their young, but unlike most, seals give birth to their pups in the autumn. Although scientists are not quite sure why it's thought that after a summer of gorging on fish, the mothers are in great shape making it the best time to raise a pup successfully.


📍In the UK we have two species of seal; Harbour seals (also known as Common seals) and Grey seals. Both are beautiful but can be a little tricky to tell apart, especially for the untrained eye. Here's an I.D guide by the Marine Mammal Research Unit if you want to give it a go!


🗺So where can you find these cute sausages? Baby grey seal 👇

⭐️Here is a list of some of my top picks to spot mothers and their fluffy pups. I haven't been to all these places but I've done as much research as possible to give you a varied guide for options all across the UK.


1. 📍Blakeney Point, Norfolk

This vast, 4-mile long sand spit is a dynamic landscape. Laced with sand dunes which shelter quilts of salt marshes and tidal mudflats, it's home to one of the largest grey seal rookeries in the UK, with harbour seals frequenting its beaches too. The best way to see them here is by boat and daily trips leave from Morsten Quay throughout the season. This will give you a great chance to see them hauled up on beaches, and if you are lucky, even playing in the water.


2. 📍Farne Islands, Northumberland

This is arguably the best place in the UK to not only see but interact with seals (more on the ethics of interacting with wildlife below!). Again, like Blakeney, these off-shore islands are mainly populated with grey seals. You can access the islands through regular boat charters which are run by a number of small companies. However, unlike other places, charters run a number of snorkelling and diving trips, giving you the opportunity, if lucky, to get closer than ever to these beautiful creatures - yes please!


3. 📍Pembrokeshire Coastline, Wales

Naturally, being from this part of the world, I had to plug it in the list somewhere!


From boat trips to coastal rambles, Pemb's has infinite opportunities to see seals, with them inhabiting almost every cove along its 180-mile long coastline. And without an ounce of bias, it's the most beautiful place in Britain - even more reason to visit!


🛥Take a short boat ride to the unspoilt RSPB nature reserve of Ramsey Island where you'll find grey seals hauled up on every rocky shore at the feet of its steep craggy cliffs. There's also a good chance you'll get to see porpoises along the way having seen them many times when on boat trips around the coast here!


🚶But if you'd rather keep your feet on solid ground, why not go for a walk along the coastline? I'd suggest walking the coastal path around Marloes peninsula. Here's a National Trust map for a suggested route. You're also not far from Dale here - a small seaside town where my great-great-grandmother grew up. Importantly, it has a quaint beachside cafe and pub for a well-earned refreshment post seal searching.


Harbour seal muma and pup!👇


4. 📍Mutton Cove, Godrevy Point, Cornwall

A short walk from a National Trust carpark, this cliff-top perch will give you a birds-eye view of a well-established grey seal rookery with the rugged coastline as a scenic backdrop. Here you can watch from afar without the fear of disturbing the seals and get a good look at lots of them at once. And who doesn't enjoy a cliff-top picnic? I do!


5. 📍Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

This is another great spot on the east coast of England with easy access from a car-park near-by. This reserve is managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and to ensure the welfare of the seals, a fenced viewing area has been erected making sure people maintain a safe distance. However, a fence doesn't stop you from getting a good view, with some mothers choosing to have their pups right next to the fence! Something to be aware of is that the car-park is small, you have to pay and it gets busy at this time of year. But if all that doesn't put you off then this place may well seal the deal for you.


6. 📍Moray Firth & Orkney, Scotland

So here I've been cheeky and put two places because Scotland is great and you should go!


The Moray Firth is the name of a vast inlet which forms part of the North Sea off the east coast of Scotland. This area is a stronghold for Harbour seals and you can find them hauled up on the sandy banks along this coastline throughout the year. The Firth is also a hot-spot for other marine mammals and home to the most northerly population of Bottlenose dolphin in the world!


If you've got time to spare and fancy a remote escape then Orkney is the one for you! These isolated islands are a short ferry ride from the mainland. Shrouded in history, they're a time capsule reminiscent of a time long ago. And alongside their mystical magic, they're home to 15% of the worlds global seal population, making them maybe the best spot in Britain for spotting selkies!? And whilst you're looking, keep an eye out for the mother of all wildlife finds, Orca! Each year more sightings of these apex predators are being made in the Orkney Islands, so maybe you might just get lucky.


Grey seals! 👇


🐬Watching Wildlife Responsibly 🔭


Although it's within our nature to want to get close, it's important to remember these animals are wild and maintaining a distance keeps both you and them safe. Seals, in particular, are easily spooked and frightened when approached on land. This is important to consider when watching mothers with pups. Getting too close could lead her to abandon her young - something you really don't want to happen! So in general, give them lots of space. It's recommended at least 100m.


When it comes to interacting with seals in the water it's a very different story! Here they are in their comfort zone and will quite often play with divers. They've been known to inquisitively bite their fins and give people leg hugs - I kid you not! In this instance enjoy the moment - you're one lucky periwinkle! But remember, always let them approach you first and never swim after them. Wait quietly and avoid sudden movements which could spook or elicit an aggressive response. And if you're getting the feeling you're unwelcome, then you probably are!


So now I've done my preaching, go forth and find those seals! But if you haven't read enough and want to know more, head over to the Marine Conservation website where you can learn more about these beautiful sea creatures.


Remember to tag us on your adventures with #OceanRoamer!


🌊Happy Roaming 🌊



🌺Charlie


To most I am known as Charlie, although recently I have had the good fortune of acquiring a number of new nicknames; Maggie, Charles... all stories for another time!

By trade I'm a marine scientist and hail from the lush coasts of Pembrokeshire. At the age of 11 I was extracted (unwillingly) to the Canary Islands, where to my horror, I loved it, and spent 8 happy years growing up with my family. I returned to the British Riviera from my isla bonita in 2011 to study Conservation Biology at UWE, Bristol. Since then, I haven't stopped chasing adventure and have lived on a total of three different continents and in 6 countries - all at the ripe old age of 27.

From leading research assessing plastic pollution in The Coral Triangle, to working as a field research assistant in the Saudi Red Sea, I've spent most of my time in the clear, warm waters of the tropics, far from home. But having recently returned to the UK, I am excited to discover the ocean adventures to be had on my doorstep.

Freediving in the Saudi Red Sea. Taken on my GoPro Hero 5.

For a long time I've been a culprit of dreaming of distant shores, ignoring the UK entirely, considering it a bleak and frankly, boring place. This I am learning is possibly one of the biggest mistakes I have made so far, because as you will learn, the isles of our atlantic rock are in fact full of untapped treasures.


Whether you're a seasoned salty or just beginning to dip your toes, my blog is here to share all types of adventure aimed to inspire you to engage and connect with the ocean. It is to me, my greatest love and healer, a wild place where I can escape the tide of time. I hope that through my adventures, you too may find a connection to the ocean, because although we might not have tropical warm waters, we have another sort of magic.


So for now, I will leave it here and I look forward to sharing my first salty adventures with you soon.



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