1st Old Salty Dog Weekend

By Nick

It’s been a busy week for Alpkit over the last week or so. Ken and I went down to Devon for the 2nd Hard Rock Fest and Pete Dollman joined the company last Monday to help us out in the warehouse. Later on we packed up our tents and headed west to the Gower and the Hillend Campsite. Pete, Claudia and I went down as the advance party just to make sure we could pitch our tents as it is not possible to reserve space on this campsite. After pitching all the tents and the Old Salty Dog tipi, we cooked up some risotto, and relaxed with a beer. Later the rest of the crew arrived and out came tales of previous adventures on the surf.

Friday started cloudy but everyone was keen to get out on the water. First up was the kayak brigade Jim, Kenny and the Chunk with guest star Pete for his first taste of the surf. This was 10/10 for effort as learning to kayak with no spray deck is a battle of endurance with the sea, and not one easy to win. After lunch we were joined by Alan, Nikki and Beth. Beth is better known for her Daring Deeds on the rock so this was quite a departure to get out on the surf. But the Monks are made from stern stuff and they all managed to get out on water. Alan in particular was keen to dust of his 80s wetsuit and get into the retro vibe we had created.

As the day drew to a close and the sun started to set, the bank holiday surfers started to thin out and the day started to feel way too short. The beach had stopped us going out for supplies but having risotto again was no hardship. During the evening the tipi came into its own, as the 12 of us easily fitted into the cosy space. Just before we left I wasn’t sure if taking the tipi was worth all the effort, well I was 100% wrong. Saturday being a case in point with Acoustic Steve and Big Jon arriving we planned a barbecue. Bang on queue the rain started and we all piled in. It was great evening and the fact that it was absolutely lashing it down outside, didn’t seem to matter, it just felt like a big old boat gently rocking and creaking in the wind. We sat the barbecue in the middle and feasted on burgers, ribs, and sea bass washed down with the odd bottle of plonk. Alan then treated to us to some sweet tunes to wash away the sound of the wind.

With a few sore heads it was back into the surf, with Acoustic Steve and Big Jon getting a battering leaving them slightly jaded by the end of the day. By this time two boards had appeared and it seems likely that both Jim and Pete have converted to the way of Big Wednesday. I had some family commitments as my auntie lives just a few miles away in the Mumbles, but on my way back I managed to fit in a quick boulder in Caswell Bay.

The evening was a little more subdued as the waves had broken a few bodies but nothing a decent amount of pasta couldn’t solve. Most of us hit the sack early, only to wake up to the rain pounding down. I managed to squeeze into a wetsuit and get on a board but it was heavy work to battle through the surf and I was glad to call it a day before packing up and heading home.

We are now all back in the office, the tents are drying out, the Hawaiian melodies are streaming out of the stereo and we all have date in the calendar notched in for next year.

A big aloha to Jenni who sadly couldn’t make it this weekend, deciding that it would be much better to enjoying some mudplugging on her mountain bike, as Captain Mannering would say “foolish girl”.

We have uploaded some photos of the weekend to our scrapbook.

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