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The first day of spring

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:52 UK time, Monday, 1 March 2010

Happy St David's Day everyone - And what a great start to March?!

Spring is finally here - it officially runs from March through till June although our summers seem to occur in May these days. So perhaps someone needs to rewrite the rule book on seasons for this country?

The weather is stunning weather across much of Wales today as high pressure looms out in the Atlantic, so we should be seeing some nice blue skies this week with the weather improving as we head towards Friday.

You can find out more about Dewi Saint on our history portal.

I've not actually seen a daffodil up yet? I guess I'm not looking hard enough but there seem to be a lot of crocuses springing up and my lawn is almost purple this year!

'Brackenb' photo submitted this shot to our wildlife photography group on Flickr.

A nice plump frog hugging her freshly laid spawn sums up spring perfectly for me:


Other spring news...the tides are huge once more as the moon is 99% off being 'full' and is said to be in it's 'waning gibbous' phase.

This means that the Severn Bore will be particularly good over the next day or so and surfers from all over the world will descend on the River Severn.

I believe BBC Countryfile are also heading down there to film the event so keep an eye out for that one.

I've surfed it twice now and it is great fun!

It's nothing like surfing in salt water though and the river is freezing but the whole experience is quite surreal. My last ride was around the 2.5 mile mark so I was pretty pleased with that as most people fall off within the first 50 yards!

The record currently stands at just over 7 miles, and was achieved by Steve King back in April 2006.

The first thing that struck me was the sheer volume of people who actually turned out to watch as well as participate in the event.

Coach loads of people arrive and there are literally hundreds of people lining the banks of the river to watch the spectacle unfold at the more well known spots (near the pubs!).

Here's a shot of me surfing it in 2007 (blue & orange surfboard):

The river has various twists and turns where the water is compressed into narrow, shallower sections and produces a larger, better looking wave - favoured by surfers.

The wave speeds up, slows down and changes shape rapidly according to the contours of the river bed so it's a real test of skill, courage and knowledge to stay with it as it surges towards Gloucester.

It's all very cloak and dagger though as these spots are rarely mentioned by the local surfers (yes there are locals) who surf the bore regularly.

The bore actually breaks every month but the 4* and 5* bores are few and far between over the year.

You can also surf the bore at night with head torches on but it's not for the faint-hearted as all sorts of heavy duty flotsam and jetsam are washed upstream with you, including - beer barrels, bits of broken boat, fridges, dead farm animals, tree trunks etc so you get the picture.

You can in theory have three attempts at surfing the bore should you fall off or be left behind by the wave, which happens often especially on your first attempt.

Staying on the wave can be extremely tricky but isn't helped by the fact that other people are all trying to do the same thing - bumping into each other and clashing against each others surfboards.

This clip on You Tube demonstrates well; the chaos involved!

Should you fall, you can in theory paddle in to the bank, hop in your car and drive 10 minutes or so, up river and rejoin the wave as it trundles past.

This sounds simple but is actually a logistical nightmare as the bank is incredibly slippery so physically clambering out with a 9ft longboard in tow is difficult.

You then have to negotiate the traffic and finally find somewhere to park, preferably near the river.

Goodluck to all the bore riders this year. If I can get my hands on a longboard in time, I might just join you!



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