Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Don't carry on camping

It was going to be an experience worthy of the Famous Five. A friendly farmer and lashings of ginger beer, all in Devon's most southerly parish, East Prawle, with vertiginous cliffs and amazing ocean views. We found the friendly farmer - complete with heavenly field overlooking the sea, but after less than 24 hours we were home again. When there's a cascade in your tent, and gale force winds are lashing the flaps, the whole camping concept seems bonkers; the soggy eggy bread in the morning was the final straw. However there was one thing which made it all worthwhile - a burning sunrise which greeted me as I stumbled out of the tent to visit the portaloo.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Compass Cove

Having been to see Mamma Mia, with its glitteringly turquoise scenes of the Greek coast, I was cheered the following day when we discovered, on a walk near Dartmouth, a beach that could easily compete. It had a cave, and lots of orange stones, some of which we made into a rather prehistoric looking fish.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Winkle picking

I was safely tucked up in bed, drifting off to sleep after a hard day's beach babing, when I suddenly remembered some unfortunate winkles festering in a carrier bag on the kitchen floor. It had seemed such a good idea to gather them while rockpooling, but of course they'd been forgotten upon our return. There was nothing for it but to get up, consult Hugh F-W, and start cooking. (at least they only take five minutes to boil). We ate them cold the next day. Not unpleasant, but not exactly pleasant either. Thank heavens for garlic mayonnaise.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Swimming in the rain

Although the Dart is currently an angry monster (they say it claims a life every year) there are still a few places where it's safe to swim. And of course when the weather's so grim, you don't have to share the river with anyone.

Shining chanterelles

Deep gloom was starting to set in today at the unremitting rain. Finally, towards the end of the day, we decided to set off for the woods and a swim in the river. As we trudged through the drizzle there was suddenly an excited shout from my elder son. Chanterelles! Lots of them, like little lights twinkling around our feet. Every cloud has a silver lining....

Monday, 4 August 2008

Burgh beckoned

The mermaids of Burgh Island - or at the very least the cormorants - were calling us again. Of course it would be very rude to refuse such an invitation. We'd swum round the island last summer, so knew it was possible. However today it was a bit of a daunting prospect; leaden skies, a pregnant swell and some rather exuberant waves smashing onto the island's rocky perimeter. We decided to swim across the causeway and reassess the situation once we'd got to the island. Normally you can see lots in the water as you swim - the particles of sand, the detail of the rocks, seaweed etc - but it was so rough this wasn't possible. Three of the party swam to the first 'corner' of the island and decided it wasn't safe to continue. So we turned back. We'll be back again though.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Spin cycle

"It's like a washing machine out there", the man taking the money at the car park at Bantham warned me, adding that earlier the lifeguards had been saying it wasn't safe for children to enter the water. (disclaimers all round; mine's a double please). Fortunately by the time we made it to the surf, it was ok, although it was indeed blowing an absolute gale as the tide rushed in. The result - the best wave rides ever at this particular location. The sea was a storming lather as we were catapaulted again and again into the shore on our boards.