Monday, 31 August 2009

Round The Island Race

The Burgh Island Race is a wonderful event in the great tradition of British seaside swimming challenges. A mile around the dramatic rocky perimeter of this beautiful half-tidal island, it is a fabulous swim. The event was brilliantly jolly, with Deborah, the owner of the Burgh Island Hotel, announcing instructions via a megaphone. The winner was of course one of the lifeguards. Afterwards we sat outside the Pilchard Inn eating a delicious barbeque supper which was kindly provided free by the Hotel to all the competitors.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Saucy cep

Delight today at finding not just my first Penny Bun mushroom (or cep) of the season, but one shaped like the front of a woman. Don't you just love Nature sometimes?

Monday, 24 August 2009

South Devon Tiger

We were eating dinner tonight when we noticed a colourful butterfly crawling on the window. It looked like some sort of Tiger Moth. My nine year old son got the book and concluded it was a Jersey Tiger. My immediate reaction was to scoff, saying they must surely only be found in Jersey, but how wrong I was. "Found in South Devon and the Channel Islands" said the book. So there you are, South Devon has its very own moth.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Doing the pools

The River Erme at Ivybridge has a series of pools and rapids. There is something for everyone. You can do your lengths in the pools, snorkel and watch the mercurial trout, or take the kamikaze route, canyoning down the waterfalls and chutes. The pools have rather romantic names, including Trinnaman's, Zulu and Head Weir. Today we swam at Trinnaman's, which is fed by a wonderful little waterfall. I was just in a swimsuit, and although the water was cold, it felt beautifully cleansing and refreshing.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

The mushrooms have landed

I can barely contain my excitement. After unexpected 'shroom discoveries this morning (see previous entry) I was inspired to go and see if there was any action in one of my favourite places. And yes - to my delight - I found lots of fungal fruiting. Chanterelles in abundance, some hedgehog mushrooms and bay boletes. Other species seen but not picked included panther caps (poisonous nasties), a larch bolete, tawny grisettes and various russulas.

Sunrise swim

I'm ashamed to admit I have lived on Dartmoor for nine years and never before bothered to get up to watch the sun rise. Well today I did. As we walked past Hound Tor the sun appeared in glorious pink and orange. We then yomped along to a favourite swimming spot, where we got limb-achingly cold doing our early morning laps, before cooking breakfast on my whizzy new camping stove. Oh, and a bit of a bonus - we found chanterelle mushrooms en route, which made an exotic addition to our bacon butties.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

The waters of home

"Gee, but it's great to be back home. Home is where I want to be." The words of Paul Simon, and as I swam in the soft peaty waters of the West Dart today I kept humming his song to myself. My two year old niece was with us, who is obsessed with the Wizard of Oz, and we kept quoting Dorothy: "there's no place like home". We were at one of our favourite spots, which reminds me of the Hundred Acre Wood, because of the pine trees. The water is so yellowy that any blue colours we wore looked green.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Wild Welsh swimming

Ok, this entry is a little self-indulgent, as it's not about Devon, but I feel bad as I've not written anything for the last six weeks - mainly because of being away. One of the places I went was the area around the Mawddach estuary in Wales. It is stuffed with craggy mountains, tarns, waterfalls, lakes and rivers, and just captures your heart with its wild beauty. One of the many places we swam was in an old flooded quarry, where the water was blue and crystal clear.