This is one of Sophie’s legendary swims, and she has persuaded us to meet at 6am in time for the sunrise. Honey and I drive across the moors in the dark, through torrential rain and swirling fog, before the rain slows to drizzle as we enter Torquay. Now clouds are dispersing to reveal watery blue skies and a glow over the headland to the east. We change on the flat rocks and creep into the sea over savagely barnacled slabs, as the salmon-pink sunrise drips orange over the surface ripples and intensifies the red of the cliffs.
The caves are magical, chuntering with departing wavelets and studded with ancient shells and shingle. The sea transmutes through a disco light show of colours from navy to royal blue to turquoise and aquamarine, tinted with pinks and oranges and silvery highlights. Snakelocks stroke our legs.
Afterwards we make a huge fry up on portable stoves and chatter away. A young gull keens and pesters his mother for food. The sea siren calls us back for another dip.
This swim features in Sophie and Matt’s fabulous book Beyond the Beach: The Secret Wild Swims of Torbay which you can read about and buy here: http://secretwildswims.wordpress.com/home/