Saturday, 30 October 2010

Autumnal ocean

I love swimming in the sea at this time of year because it's still really quite warm...even though it may look cold and grey. Today I went in at Maidencombe, after building up quite a sweat on the coast path towards Shaldon; the walk is a big dipper of constant up and downs, following the green valleys between the crumbling red cliffs. The swim at the end of the walk was a salty, zingy tonic .

Friday, 29 October 2010

An imPRESSive day

Take an orchard, a group of friends, a tractor and a press, and you're overflowing with apple juice in no time. It's a relaxed way to be with people, because if you don't feel like chatting there's no shame in excusing yourself and going to find a job to do . And vice versa.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Falling leaves

Autumn is paradoxical. Although it is rather melancholy, with everything dying, at the same time many fruits and delicious things are being produced. As we walked along an old pipeline in woods above the Dart, there were frequent popping and clicking noises as acorns dropped off the oaks above our heads and bounced onto the granite. The sun came out and shone through the crinkled trees and leaves. I found some wood blewit mushrooms; they really are the most lurid lilac colour.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Bugle Hole

I am never happier than when exploring new territory, preferably by swimming or paddling around channels, caves and rocks. Some time ago my friend Amanda had told me about a pink cave she'd found at Bugle Hole, near Mothecombe. So off we set, on a whitely sunny day, to try and find it. We located Bugle Hole, a rocky inlet, along with a cave. We didn't think it was the 'right' cave, because she'd described how you could swim through it. But we weren't looking properly, because the cave only revealed its true extent once we'd waded right in, and found it snaking back on itself, through to the other side. We went through and then swam among a little archipelago of shark-fin-like islands. When drying ourselves off in the sun afterwards there was a final bonus: lots of cowrie shells.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Get off my rock

The sea at Castle Cove in Dartmouth, at the mouth of the estuary, was like a boiling cauldron so we decided to find somewhere calmer to swim, and went to Warfleet Creek. This is a charming cove which leads into the estuary; the water is normally the most beautiful slatey green but today it was a thick brown. Undeterred, we set off and had a glorious time bobbing around as we headed towards the main body of the river. Then, to my left, I saw a rock which I thought would be fun to climb out onto, and maybe have a jump off. (Later I looked it up on the map; I think it's called Halftide Rock). Anyway, I was just standing up on it, and rather enjoying myself, when a man came out of a little pink house, virtually on the water, and told me the rock was his 'garden' and I should get off it. Naturally, being a polite and courteous swimmer, I did....but I did wonder how anyone can 'own' a rock in the estuary which gets covered up by the tide for quite a lot of the time...

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Fungi phantasmagoria

The sheer outlandishness of the fairytale fungi world was in huge evidence today. Everywhere we walked in the woods by the Dart, we saw them, in huge variety and numbers. There was everything from the white hevellas - shown here to the right - like a small troop of magicians lurking in the undergrowth - to the hideous tongue-like beefsteak fungus which horrified my children. We even saw what we believe was a Devil's Bolete - or could it be Boletus Calopus? (shown below) Could someone please advise?