Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Seek and ye shall find

I spend a lot of time dreaming about swims, but also looking longingly at the OS map trying to find new places.  For some time I've been curious about a waterfall at the very northern end of Slapton Sands but never got around to checking it out (partly put off by the long walk).  Finally, on a dreary autumnal day, Alex and I set off to find it.  The environment down there is bleakly beautiful.  Sea and shingle stretch for miles, unusual, silver-green plants grow, and the cliff - aptly named The Slide - rises starkly behind.  As we started on the long trudge to the end we saw a flock of goldfinches feeding on swaying seed heads. Finally, we reached the end, but no sign of the waterfall.  Alex stopped for a vape break, but I kept on going, and then heard the sound of rushing water.   There, hidden in the rocks, was a twenty foot waterfall pouring down from the cliff above, into a small pool, like a mystical crucible.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Indian summer

As it turned out, it was the last day of the Indian Summer.  The date was November 2nd, and our lovely friend Charlotte (one of the Scottish Swimming Lassies) was visiting.  Talk about the weather behaving in her honour. We arrived at Cellars Beach, Noss Mayo, to find sparkling clear sea, and I think you'll agree the pictures (taken by Charlotte)  look just like summer.   We got in the water,  swam around the rocks and made our way up the estuary, weaving in and out of channels and marvelling at the clarity of the water.  Anna spotted a starfish, well camouflaged and clinging to a cleft in the rock.  Numerous little white winkles sparkled like fairy lights underwater.  The dogs had a rather hazardous time keeping up with us from the shore, slipping over the ledges and making inelegant jumps.  In all we stayed in about half an hour;  the sea was warm and it just didn't feel like November .

Monday, 9 November 2015

Swimming in the suburbs

Just because a beach is in the middle of a conurbation doesn't mean it's not wild.  Anna, Ellie and I set off for Armchair Cove in Paignton, which you can get to via a suburban street and a short walk past a holiday camp and under the railway line. You emerge into a green and blue heaven, a grassy cliff top with the sea spread out in front of you like a magic blue carpet. Armchair Cove is tucked away under the cliff, a small oasis of calm fringed with exotic, Gaudi-esque rock formations.  The water was very clear for the time of year, and warm, at 14.7, and we swam around, heads permanently down, marvelling at the beautifully coloured seaweeds and intricately twisted rocks.  Then there was a shout. "Green anemones" cried Anna, and there they were, snakelocks anemones rippling in the water, green ones and pink ones, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of pinks, purples, browns and greens.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Silly at Shilley

Shilley Pool, near South Zeal, is the perfect aquatic playground.  It comes complete with a huge water slide, and an infinity effect, all set in a very pretty corner of Dartmoor.  We walked there via the scenic route, which involved a lot of climbing uphill, and also some unnecessary climbing uphill due to, ahem, a map reading malfunction.  However it was all worth it for the views, and for an absolutely magnificent triple stone row which we went to see before descending to the pool for a well-earned plunge.   Thanks to Ron for the water spouting photo!