The Sea

Since completing the West Highland Way I have begun investigating the other long-distance walks that I can explore in Britain, Scotland and Wales and I have become quite fascinated with The South West Coast Path.

Looking out from the shore at Clovelly

At 630 miles or so in length it is not something that I will probably tackle in a single stretch, but it was nice to ogle some of the beautiful shorelines that the path traverses last weekend. Myself, Mark and his entire family stayed in Croyde, where we mucked around a lot in the waves. I was too wet and wave-beaten to take photos of us body-boarding, but we also went to Clovelly and Saunton Sands and I must confess that I have fallen a little bit in love with these places.

Clovelly, a traffic-free town of steep, cobbled streets, hugging into the cliffs and almost entirely traffic-free*

Mark, Sam and Jack throwing stones into the water

I love the endless opportunities for fun that the seaside affords. We spent a long time throwing stones in the water – first of all to see who could throw their stone the furthest and then to see who could make the biggest splash. We bodyboarded. We hunted clams and limpets and searched for crabs in the rockpools. We played in the landscape and it was good.

When we tired of the pebbles at Clovelly, we drove back via Saunton Sands which is a beautiful, expansive, sandy beach right next to Croyde. Although not enjoying the same epic surf as Croyde, the waves were full of enthusiastic bodyboarders. I declined to swim on this occasion though, as my obsession with finding Razor Clams (I blame Ray Mears) had me tossing salt onto every dimple I could find in the sand and cursing when I failed to catch a single one!

We plucked limpets and Samphire from the nearby rockpools however, but these were not tasty.

Mmmmm… limpets. Tasted rubbery and of nothing very much

Mmmmm… rock samphire. This tasted of boot-polish. It was quite fragrant and I imagine is a very nice addition in very small quantities to butter or oil, for seasoning a jus or a sauce. But on its own, eaten like Brocolli, this was to my mind most unpleasant

Luckily when we got home Mark kindly shared his Cider and clotted-cream icing birthday cake with the rest of us; this quickly took away the taste of rubbery shellfish and overly fragrant samphire and replaced it with nice apple and mascarpone deliciousness.

…and to whet my appetite even further for seaside adventures, an amazing parcel from Kate was waiting for me when I got home, featuring yarn dyed by The Unique Sheep at Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm. The yarn was dyed in response to a very nice photo of a goat standing in the Sea. Here is the post describing how this yarny wonderment came into being… it is so evocative and beautiful that I cannot do it the injustice of an indoors/evening photograph so you will have to wait to see it!

I cannot help thinking that gloves to keep me warm during the South West Coastal Path walk would be the perfect thing to make; in the meantime, I am delighted to have made a cursory forray into some of the territories this epic walk covers.

* the only permitted vehicle as far as I can see is the Landrover that takes exhausted tourists back up to the top if they don’t want to walk!!

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