2009 07 25 Sidmouth to Beer return

By Carol Price:

Gavla planned a trip, so him, me, Martin U, Paul F and Alistair set off the first Sat of the school holidays- cue jam- and eventually got on the water through the waves at Sidmouth at 11.00ish. The forecast was good - 8 to 9 mph wind and plenty of sunshine.

There was a bit of a swell right from the start, waves coming from behind on the right hand side, (south westerly, or very messy chop as Martin U called it) no problem, just meant I had to straighten up every 5th or 6th stroke. The sandy cliffs with chalk on top looked a vivid orange against the blue sky, the sea was a murky brown. Enough of that. Along the way we had intended to stop at Branscombe , but the waves were huge (dumping) and Gavla shouted: 'Carry straight on' As we approached Beer Head it was even messier chop and getting quite lively, but great fun and I enjoyed turning the corner and seeing Beer beach with cafe waiting. We had to time our landings, as all beaches along there are stony; this means they are often steep with dumping waves. ( I read that in the book afterwards) As tea slid down our thirsty throats I noticed the white horses in the bay, 'Oh look at that,' said I, not worried. 'Yeah, looks like a force 4 brewing' said Martin U I thought, it can't be true, the weather forecast said...... So off we launched, Gavla and Martin U sliding down from the top of the beach, Martin U doing a fab capsize to the right and nearly losing his hat, Paul caught it just in time. The water seemed a tad choppier, but I was enjoying the thrill of the ride. As we turned Beer Head into the full gust, I realised the weather forecaster had got it wrong......... Slow learner me. Well, the wind on the meter read wild, we were tossed about, whilst it came straight towards us, a bit on the left (still a south westerly) but exhilarating and quite a few times the gusts felt like they were going to tip me up from the front, at other times waves broke over me. It was like the wild south west! As Branscombe came into view, it seemed cautious to ask about the prevailing conditions; Martin U said they could stay the same or, they could worsen........... I would have loved to have carried on back to Sidmouth, but not if the weather was going to deteriorate, even with the rescuing skills of Gavla, Paul and Martin U, so, with this in mind, Alistair and I decided to go ashore. Easier thought than done, but with help from Gavla and under dumping waves, Alistair braced himself on to safe ground; me, I capsized good and proper, past caring. The boys, Paul, Gavla and Martin U carried on to Sidmouth with ever wilder seas and landed at Sidmouth through more dumping waves, Martin U going for another dip. Gavla said it was something to do with his braces, not sure how straight or crooked teeth came into it, but..... It was a fantastic day and after debriefing with 2 or 3 large shandies in the Moon and Sixpence we concluded that the weather forecasters are not to be taken at face value!