Sunday, 13 February 2011

Wild, windswept Watcombe

The red sand and cliffs at Watcombe in Torquay are the remains of a time around 300 million years ago when Devon was very different. It was near the equator, a sweltering desert. The irons in the rock oxidised, creating the red colour which is still so prominent today. This all seems a little far-fetched on a bleak winter's day....but the evidence is there in those red, red cliffs. We swam out of the bay and headed south along the coastline, where we spotted Smuggler's Hole, which is marked on the Ordnance Survey map. A quite dramatic, large cave at the bottom of a wonderfully stark cliff. Unfortunately the sea was too rough to go in and explore it.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Nicey icey NOT

Anna and I were hot and tired from our session in the gym, and so thought a refreshing swim in the rain at Huccaby Bridge would be just the ticket. It's an idyllic spot that is always crowded in the summer because the pool is right by the road, with ample room to set up your deck chair reassuringly close to the car. We did our 'special winter thing' which involves leaving the house in swimsuit and dressing gown, running from the car to the swimming spot, launching in for as long as we can bear it, before exiting, wrapping up in the dressing gown again and heading for home and a hot bath. Today the water was truly icy, with my knees particularly sensitive to the cold. We normally manage to put up with the freezing temperatures for long enough to acclimatise, but on this occasion we were both defeated, and it was only a minimal dip. Still, you have to remember that the water is at its coldest at this time of year. Roll on Spring.

Darkest, bleakest Dartmoor

Out on Harford Moor, it was murky in the extreme. The light came and went, as did the fog and mist. The wind howled around us constantly, and the rain was horizontal. I had my swimming things with me as I hoped to investigate various bits of blue on the map - all of which turned out to be either bogs or puddles. The one decent bit of water was a pretty little reservoir surrounded by trees with lots of 'keep out' signs. We really had to battle against the elements, and concentrate all the time to stop getting lost. It's a bleak world out there sometimes. A short video conveys a little of what it was like. you can view it here.