Monday, 26 November 2012

The calm after the storm

Devon has been soaked by an almighty deluge which has lasted pretty much the whole of the last week. Rivers have burst their banks, homes have been flooded, trees have come down, and the trains have stopped running.   It's been a pretty scary time.  Today the rain finally stopped.  We decided to swim at Anstey's Cove, always a gorgeous oasis of calm, sheltered as it is by the limestone cliff of Walls' Hill.  As we walked down we could see that far out at sea the water was brown, presumably from the run-off from the Jurassic Coast.  But in the cove the water was its usual lovely green, though not as clear as usual.  As we swam back to shore, we admired the pink pebbles, which looked like shiny humbugs as they were continually washed by the incoming tide. 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Swimming at Starehole

There are some awfully funny place names in Devon, and Starehole Bay - or Starhole as it's sometimes known - is one of them. Maybe because when you first clap eyes on it you stop and stare. It is stunning, with a wonderfully dramatic approach: you walk along the western side of the Salcombe estuary, around some rocky turrets - Sharp Tor - at which point you get your first glimpse of the beach. Today the setting sun cast a massive spotlight down on the water which made it all the more enticing. Once in the sea we swam along the shore, marvelling at the rocks towering precipitously above us. As we looked up we saw distinct bands of colour, starting with the petrol blue sea at the bottom, then the hard grey of the rocks, the mustard yellow lichen above it, and then the green grass of the cliffs. The water was clear and delicious.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Women at Mansands

As we walked to Mansands we wondered about the name.  Maybe something to do with the very muscular, virtually vertical hills which lead down to the shore, or perhaps the man-sized pebbles which clutter the beach.  Whatever, it was just us women swimming (with an all-male onshore support team).  It felt like a remote part of Scotland, especially with the croft-like cottage overlooking the beach. The sea was flat apart from surprisingly gentle rollers breaking; they looked much fiercer than they actually were.  We swam over to the Southern side of the beach where we found  caves, before swimming around the headland, through a rather choppy gully, where we got an enticing glimpse of the next deserted beach.