I love a really low tide. It reveals rarely-seen marvels, and no more so than at London Bridge Natural Arch in Torquay. When we arrived at the beach it looked as though someone had pulled the plug out. The conditions were perfect, a calm blue sea, and as we approached London Bridge I spotted a 'new' cave - well more of a slit actually but exciting none the less - that I'd never seen before because I've not swum here on such a low tide before. Allan and I swam in and saw brilliantly outlandish Dead Men's Fingers, a form of soft coral that look more like Dead Men's, ahem, something elses, and then to our great excitement saw a beautiful array of pink life forms that we later discovered were Jewel Anemones. We then swam on through the majestic arch, and into a double-entranced cave with more exotic marine wildlife including Elephant Hide Sponge and Devonshire Cup Corals.
Thursday, 22 September 2016
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
|Anstey's Cove, Torquay|
|South Milton Sands|
Monday, 20 June 2016
|Image by Avigail Kahana|
Monday, 13 June 2016
|The first pool|
|A much-needed stop|
|The sodden Marmite sandwiches|
Friday, 20 May 2016
|Watching a wren by the waterfal|
|The remains of a Bronze age house|
Wednesday, 27 April 2016
I hate getting up early but sometimes it really is worth it. Today was a case in point. Swimming slowly in the silky soft sea, seeing the horizon getting pinker by the minute, and finally the moment when the sun popped up, in its dazzling glory, above the Imperial Hotel. We were in Torquay, by the Hindu Temples caves, which get miraculously lit up in the morning sunlight. Jackie was swimming with a waterproof bag, in which she had secreted a breakfast 'starter' of cream cheese and smoked salmon, which we ate on a sun-drenched rock in front of the caves. We swam around for a while afterwards, revelling in the magical dawn, and then repaired for a cooked breakfast on the sandstone headland.
Sunday, 10 April 2016
It's quite an exciting time at the moment, as the new book I've written with my pal Matt Newbury is out. It's been a real collaboration, not just between Matt and me, but between all our wonderful wild swimming friends too, who have helped us with the research, tested out the walks and swims, taken photographs and generally been incredibly supportive. We got our hands on the books this week and so have been meeting up with people to, frankly, flog the books but also to go swimming! Today we met up at New Bridge where it was really good fun seeing everyone, chatting about the book, and then heading off for a swim in nearby Ladies Pool which was teeth-chatteringly cold at 7.5 degrees. Thank you to Avigayl Kahana for the photos.
Most swims rarely turn out as expected. My ideal swim at Sugary Cove involves gin-clear azure sea, blazing sun and flat calm, so you can enjoy a serene passage through the dramatic gully. Well on this occasion we certainly had the sun, which was marvellous, but there was quite a swell, and far from a peaceful glide through the chasm, we got unceremoniously swooshed in, bounced along and then spat out. Not what I'd set out wanting, but totally invigorating and fun,
Monday, 28 March 2016
|Where I tried and failed to swim|
Wednesday, 16 March 2016
We're having lots of spring-like sunny weather this week, and when I went to swim in the Dart with Yaara on Monday afternoon we were astounded by the zingy-green clarity of the water. The river doesn't often look like this, and from memory, it seems to be like this only at this time of the year. Sometimes it's like lime soda, today it was more of a minty green. As we plunged in, with the sun sparkling through the water, we felt completely alive. Gingerly, we put our faces in and the view below was equally invigorating: an underwater landscape of green and grey rocks, seemingly scrubbed clean of any dirt. I remembered Sharrah Pool looking like this once, and looking back at my photos I see that this was in February 2014, Perhaps all the rain washes the riverbed clean towards the end of winter, and then when the sun comes out in Spring it lights it up in all its new freshness.
|Sharrah, Feb 2014|