Monday, 18 March 2013

The romance of the Juliet Cave

In Torquay, at Oddicombe, the sun was shining and the sea was blue, flat calm, and very cold: 5.8 degrees C.  We set off to explore the Juliet Cave, so-called because you climb up a ledge and into an 'upstairs' cave with pool of white pebbles, with a 'balcony' and 'window' overlooking a channel below. As we approached the mouth of the cave the water swirled up and down the gorgeous, muscular  pink and white limestone that is found on this bit of the coast.  Some of the swimming party had not visited the cave before and their cries of wonder echoed around the cave, which really is the most magical place.  We stood on the balcony, looking down on the slice of churning water below, and wondered whether Romeo might swim up the gulley to see us.  Mark then led us a little further along the shore to another cave, with a hole in the ceiling through which he climbed back up into the outside world.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Storms at Sharrah

It was a beautiful sunny day, the birds were singing and it felt springlike, which always makes we want to return to Sharrah Pool on the Dart for what I think of as my annual baptism: making friends with the river again after winter.  As we started our trudge along the bank though, grey clouds started to gather which got progressively darker, before dumping down what seemed like sackloads of hailstones. At the pool, we huddled under a holly bush for a bit and then I decided to take the plunge.  The river was in spate, with multiple trails of white foam curling around each other; quite beautiful.  I slid in and was surprised to find it didn't feel cold.  The river gently pulled me into its embrace and sucked me in; I let myself be swept along before turning around and swimming back against the flow which was hard work. The cold hit me a little later than usual and when I got out everything felt numb.