Devon days – Ashburton Pool and South Milton Sands

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08/08/2014 by Carl Reynolds

Awaking to another glorious day at Hazelwood House, our retreat for the last few nights, we shot off to Ashburton Pool for a swim and lesson with Kari Furre before breakfast. Unlike many other coaches, Kari’s a get in and get yer hands on coach, as she specialises in getting the swimmer to understand themselves in the water, and how they might apply themselves to the art of gliding in a seemingly effortless manner. I still have some things to learn.

Then down to South Milton Sands, a beach facing a reef system and the natural wonder of Thurlstone Arch. We arrived at ten-thirtyish with the reef system exposed and ribbons of sea water glittering between sharp ridges of rock. Our first swim was over the just covered outer reef to the arch. The thing about swimming over a reef system is that as the sea weed moves with the waves, the rock underneath stays still, but gives the optical illusion of a large creature slithering underneath. Mesmerising to the point at which I almost collided with reefs a couple of times. And then to the arch, threading the needle hole and back. An exhilarating 18 minutes (according to Mrs Ape precise measurements) of waves, swell, reef, life and cold. It was cold. We thought the upper reaches of the river would be cold, but the sea was colder. I suspect rising springs, as it varied across the bay; and also my loss of around 10kg of insulative fat. And after a later 30 minute swim, it took some time for my finger tips to regain sensation, despite a blistering sun. Unfortunately we then had to go home. We shall be back.

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