I have no idea what day of lockdown we are on; (17th of May apparently.) This is no surprise as I rarely know what day of the week it is at the best of times. All I do know is that our beloved leaders have announced that we can all spread our very alert wings just that little bit wider and after eleven weeks or so it was high time that we should breath in some sea air- fill our lungs with the joys of Spring and hope.
We headed off to Branscombe and planned to walk to Beer. Driving down through the dusty narrow lanes of East Devon’s Middle Earth past the social distancing locals I felt like hiding beneath the dashboard (I wasn’t driving.) Why did I feel so guilty? Is this how we are all going to feel from now on? It was weird to say the least. Even Sherlock the surfdog looked apprehensive. I was dreading the approach to the car park. I had visions of an army of placarded locals armed with pitchforks and bludgeoning weapons awaiting us. Thankfully the car park was relatively empty. As we disembarked from the car I think we all paused to gaze at the sea and take it all in. It was like being reacquainted with a long lost friend. We walked the mile or so along the beach to the “Stairway.” The sound of the sea is a great pacifier. Everyone is so polite as our “at length” paths cross. It still takes some getting used to. Perhaps courtesy is a side effect of this cursed virus. I hope so- let’s all hope so.
The ascent up past Hooken Cliffs to Beer Head is one of the most beautiful walks you can engage on. The plethora of flair and fauna is spectacular; especially at this time of year. I’m no expert on all of the plants names (I wish I’d listened to dad more often.) But even to my untrained eyes I could spot Ragged Robin, Borage, Columbine, Wood Anemone, Cow parsley, Wood Forget-me-not and Honeysuckle. We managed to avoid stepping on an Oil Beetle that was enjoying the warmth of the chalk path.
As I have stated many times before, I am a nightmare to walk with. I have to stop and take things in; I am not a walker for the sake of walking. A to B as quickly as possible just isn’t me. Sometimes just a change of light on the scenery or just a change of angle can fill me with awe and I have to enjoy. Today I paused on a convenient chalk ledge to allow a descending family to pass by and I couldn’t help but notice the clarity of the sea. Every rock and stone was laid bare. I stood and watched, hoping to spot some more marine life. Everything looked like it had been cleansed by the lack of human intervention. Even the gulls!
I can remember my dad being very similar on walks. He would stop at every vantage point. To look at what ? It used to infuriate me at the time because I just wanted to get home for my tea and to read the about the adventures of Stingray and Thunderbirds in my TV21 comic. But now I have become the dawdler. The watcher. And I understand.
Reaching the summit I do apologise; now that I have caught everyone up. This is met with the usual cordial, if mute acceptance and a customary roll of the eyes from Lily.