13. Oct, 2014

The Sleeping Dragon

Believing that a tidal island on the Gower Coast was a sleeping dragon, the Vikings, during their invasion, named it Wurm.These days, this famously photographed island, shaped like a giant sea-serpent, is known as Worm’s Head, and it is another place I love to roam about on.

     My kind and unassuming husband and I can often be seen crossing the rocky causeway that connects the island to the mainland. However, one has to be extremely careful of the tide as many people and animals have drowned here.

     This incredible piece of land, a mile long with a height of 150 feet in parts, is home to the grey seal, peregrine falcons, choughs, razorbills and guillemots, kittiwakes and gulls, shags and cormorants. Fulmars can be seen gliding like angels over the waves and on occasions, we have seen puffins off the end of the island. In late summer you might be lucky enough to see scoters, an all black duck and so much more.

     So despite the harsh conditions during winter months, this incredible island has something quite unique, in order to attract such an abundance of wildlife.

      Dylan Thomas often visited the island and once made the mistake of falling asleep and was cut off by the tide. These are a few of the words he wrote about his adventure:

I stayed on that Worm from dusk to midnight, sitting on that top grass, frightened to go further in because of the rats and because of things I am ashamed to be frightened of. Then the tips of the reef began to poke out of the water and, perilously, I climbed along them to the shore.     

      This dragon of an island has pleased many people with its beauty and strangeness. For me though, it always reminds me of my father. As a little girl, he took me to the island in search of crabs. I made such a fuss when he found one, he never took me again. We did, however, go home with a bucket full of shells and tiny stones made shiny by the sea.