The Harder it is to Reach ….

… the wilder it is?

There is a certain appeal to visiting a popular beach as sometimes it can be a relief to be in a crowd, hidden in plain sight, where an ice cream is not too far away.

At other times swimming is a meditive process and part of the process is the getting there.  It may not be meditation in the tradition of ‘clear mind but active body’ and yet filling your mind with fresh thoughts can nevertheless be inspirational and enlightening when all thoughts of things that ‘should’ be done as distinct from ‘must’ be done have been driven into a corner and caged (temporarily) in a soundproof box.  If you place an email that demands a reply into that box does it still require a reply?  Indeed does it still exist?  Not for a while it doesn’t and when it is let out again the answer to its demands may be a very different thing.

Running, or in the case of the part of the South-West Coast Path I am visiting today ‘plodding’, can also be meditive as if you don’t look out for the tree roots and steps you’ll face plant.  But you don’t want to filter out all external stimuli and I slow to a walk and breathe deeply of the pine resin scented warm air.  Pine fresh out of a can may be fresh but this is the pine equivalent of deep heat and you can both smell it and feel it.

My destination today is very hard to reach.  The coast path contours the hillside and far below is the thin crescent of sand.  There is no way down.  There used to be a fairly simple way down but then the cliff slipped. That took out the difficult way down as well.  Now there is a new way down, through the trees then out onto the top of the slip and that is where it ended, you could get down easily enough but the slope was too soft to give a footing to get back up.  Whilst it is the most wonderful beach I can only be marooned there for just so long.  I now a rope belayed around a tree and I roll it up each visit and hide it as I may be a goat but I do want to be responsible for anyone else who elects to follow in my footsteps.

This little sun trap crackles with heat and with the pines dark against the bright blue sky it could be Mediterranean, but it most certainly isn’t England.  The sea too is welcoming and lacks the usual bite and encourages me to swim way out to the furthest lobster pot buoy from where I can see the gun battery at Froward Point and into the Dartmouth Estuary further up than the castle.  If it wasn’t for my running shoes it would be simpler now to swim back to the next beach and jog back from there, but now I have the joy of hauling myself up the hill, which leaves me warm and in need of a swim again.

Open Sky Swimming Devon Map


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