Today we meet Sophie for another of her research swims. She’s doing a talk about the history of wild swimming in Torquay on June 10th at Oddicombe Beach (see link at the bottom). It’s a crazy weather day with morning deluges and interminable traffic jams from Newton Abbot all the way to Hele, but the sun appears as we finally make it to the coast road.
The sky is bright blue, and the sea is that weird orangy-turquoise colour you find beneath the red beaches around here. We set off towards Watcombe and the Bell Arch. About half way there I start to feel my shoulder injury. The arch seems to call to me; a rust-red promontory topped by a grassy toupée. I manage to resist and sensibly return to the beach in a slow, shoulder-friendly front crawl with maximum rotation and no pull. The others carry on and find their way barred by a large seal, who scares them out of the water then follows them back along to the beach, thrilling the kids on the rocks.
Standing halfway up the cliff, I watch for the others; they appear as small dots in rippled circles, their laughs coming and going on the breeze.