January 31, 2014. The last day of (apparently) the wettest January in UK since records began. Waking up to yet another day of grey skies and rain, yet another day of being unable to walk and work outside – I thought it was worth marking the occasion with a look back to December, over a month ago, when this dismal period of wet weather was just beginning.
Northam Burrows is now covered with swathes of flood water. Gazing out from my top window, across the Burrows to the Torridge Estuary and the Atlantic beyond, I am taken aback when I realise we are getting off lightly compared to other parts of the Southwest. Though there are warnings of further severe weather for us announced today.
Here’s a local photo from the website of North Devon Journal, published yesterday.
Flooding at Pilton Park in Barnstaple on January 3, 2014.
And here’s my souvenir from December, gathered from hasty notes and a few video snippets on my little stills camera, on a rainyday jaunt out to Baggy Point. (Baggy Point is an impressive and exhilarating headland a little further up the coast, much favoured by walkers and wildlife enthusiasts).
From diary notes…
Cold grey and rainy this morning, so we decided to go out to Baggy Point. We knew we wouldn’t be able to see much through this all-enveloping mist, but we went anyway. We drove through the small towns of Barnstaple, Braunton and Croyde, following the meandering road along the edge of the coastline, low green Devon hills on one side and the grey Atlantic on the other.
And as the windows of the car steamed up, and as I became more and more hot and claustrophobic, I sank down into a blurred vision of grey-green.
The sky lightened a little as we reached Saunton Sands: an enormous expanse of flat sandy beach. I could see the powerful surf rolling in from the ocean and I could just discern two tiny figures in the distance on the wide empty beach. We began to plan a nice bracing walk.
At Baggy Point we parked at the National Trust car park. I took one look at the shuddering hedge in front of me, and listened to the wind howling around our vehicle, and I decided I was not going to get out. But I did anyway. Because I suddenly had an idea that this b it of hedge might make the beginnings of a good art project. So I grabbed my camera.
Alex complained a bit, because he doesn’t like standing about in the rain and a howling gale whilst I take photos. But I assured him it was a blessing in disguise: because not wanting to ruin my camera in the salt spray blowing in our faces, I only allowed it out from under my coat for a few brief moments.
Here’s a couple of interesting links..
Baggy Point on a better day (from the National Trust website): http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356403470313/
BBC National News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25973344