Friday, 27 August 2010

The pools of the past

Haytor Quarry is pretty close to home, yet I've never swum in the pools there. Although it was a dull day, the Moor was colourful, with great splodges of yellow and purple. The quarry is a little sheltered world, a poignant reminder of times past when granite from here was used in such illustrious buildings as the British Museum and London Bridge. There are three pools, attractively accessorised with lily pads and rushes.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

And the band played on

It was like the final scenes on the Titanic. As the annual Burgh Island Race wound up, the heavens opened and there was a monstrous deluge of epic proportions. The band was playing; they were there to perform the first ever "Symphony on Burgh". They kept on throughout the storm; it was all so terribly British. Despite the grey skies and rain, the sea was actually quite calm, and the swim was an otherwordly experience. As I swam around the back of the island, through rocky channels surrounded by foaming spray, I felt totally alive. We'd been warned that 'Sammy the Seal' was in evidence, but there was no sign of him.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Magical mystery tour

You feel very honoured when a friend lets you in on a secret. Today we were taken to a special place that my friend had come across by chance. We shall call it the Black Lagoon....and say only that it is somewhere in the darkest South Hams. It was somewhat eerie and seemingly bottomless, or, 'as deep as a cathedral' according to someone who lives nearby. As we swam we occasionally saw columns of bubbles, like silver coins floating up from the deep.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

A strange swim

Today I wanted to find somewhere I'd never swum before, so pored over the map looking for patches of blue. I settled on the River Swincombe, in the centre of the Moor, where I saw something on the map called "Swincombe Intake Works". It was a bleak yomp under overcast skies and spots of rain to find the place, which turned out to be a forlorn-looking man-made dam of what is quite a small stream. Swimming in it I felt like the last surviving person in the whole world. On the way home I stopped off in the woods and found some chanterelles; dare we hope it might be a good year for the 'shrooms?