Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Swimming with sea trout - and a nudist

Sharrah Pool, between Dartmeet and Newbridge, must be the most spectacular of the Dart pools. It is fed by a cascade, from where the water thunders through a granite channel and out into a fifty metre long pool. There are stark green and white striations on the bottom as well as many other beautiful underground rock formations. I saw a shoal of at least thirty large sea trout darting around excitably like grey ghosts underneath me; the sheer number and size of them was unnerving. An older couple then appeared on the other bank and I gave them a wave. The next thing I knew, he was starkers and leaping in. Fair enough, we've all done it. Next thing, he's out and standing on a rock, master of all he surveys, where he stands for about ten minutes. Please....just put it away! (luckily my son obviously has a budding career as a paparrazo and managed to get this shot of him - see if you can spot him!!)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Swim before school

I had an hour or two before school pickup and went with Ellie to explore the river Teign, where it comes off the Moor and proceeds, rather unpromisingly, through the clay pits towards Newton Abbot and out to sea. We parked at Chudleigh Knighton and walked under the noisy A38 bridge, following the river south. We were greeted with a most pleasant and bucoloic scene. Meadows and river, with swimmable bits and beaches and even some rope swings along the way.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Soaraway Soar

For sheer drama you cannot beat Soar Mill Cove. It is surrounded by craggy, jagged cliffs and at low tide you can explore among the rocks and caves, one of which goes back for ages and opens out into an eerie cavern. There are two massive rocks on the beach called the Priest and Clerk which are fun to climb on, and to swim around at high tide. Just off the beach is the Ham Stone - in the distance in the picture. We had wanted to swim to it but the sea was too rough. Still, it was total joy to be in the water, diving under the breaking waves and swimming through the swell. We also found some little pools which were fun to wallow in.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Canal capers

The idea of canal swimming has always seemed most unattractive, but today all my perceptions were blown out of the water (as it were). We cycled to the Turf pub on the Exe estuary, which sits on a spur of land that juts out into the water and the wideness of the river with all its changeability. I had hoped to swim there but the tide was wrong and we were surrounded by mud flats. We cycled back along the canal path, and got to Topsham Lock, where the water looked beautifully green and fresh. Without demur, in we got, and it was the most gloriously lovely experience. The canal is fed by the River Exe, and the water was clean and clear and very deep in the middle. A couple of guys were fishing nearby, they told us, for 'big pike with teeth'. The whole thing brought to mind that line in Ducks' Ditty in Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. "Slushy green undergrowth, where the roach swim/Here we keep our larder, cool and full and dim".