Walks on a Sunday - Steve Hatton
One Sunday in early February in our third year at Killerton, Chris and I, together with Martin Field decided it would be nice to go for a walk. It was a crisp afternoon and we set off from Exmouth and headed East and made our way to Budleigh Salterton. Martin was driving and we found a car park overlooking the beach. We parked up and walked down to the beach.
It was a beautiful afternoon. There was no wind and a weak winter sun was just visible through the slight haze. There was no one about and all was quiet apart from the odd gull and the breaking waves on the sand. We walked along the beach and admired the beauty of the cliffs. Water running through the ground above had frozen as it escaped from the cliff face. The ice moulded to the contours of the rocks forming a transparent glaze over them.
We walked from the first Bay round the headland to a second Bay wondering at the sight of the frozen cliffs that continued in this Bay. The stillness was breath-taking.
The cold sun added to the colours as we walked into the third Bay. Here we stopped and looked up at the cliff face, then around at the grey sea gently lapping at the beach. Almost with horror, we looked ahead and saw that the next outcrop ahead of us was actually in the sea. We turned and as we realised that the tide had come in and the water was now lapping around the rocks at the foot of the headland that we had just rounded.
With rising panic we looked around for options. Certainly there was no way forward as that headland was already under water. Up was unlikely. It was a sheer cliff, the ice now looking less beautiful and more threatening.
There was only one option, to start walking back the way we had come. We rounded the first headland and we had to paddle. The water was "cold" but at least it only just covered our shoes. By the time we reached the second headland the tide had risen significantly. The rocks at the foot of the cliff were under water and it was necessary for us to hold hands and feel our way past. The water was well above our knees... and very cold.
Having cleared the headland damp, cold but somewhat relieved, we walked across the beach to the steps back to the car park.
We dropped into Martin's Volvo and encouraged him to get the engine running and get us back to Exmouth for a hot drink.
As we drove I commented on the fact that the windows were steaming up... and the heater didn't appear to be heating up. Martin explained the heater didn't work! Now he tells us.