Popplestone Wave

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

Yellow weather warning across the country. Here still blowy! SW gusting 54 mph, 11 degrees feels like 5.

Popplestones is a deep, drop shaped bay, the narrow entrance welcomes the Atlantic waves, their first encounter with land since America. The popplestone wave, named so by Penny, is a coast to coast wave of deep blue water, tipped with icy turquoise light, rolling into the bay. Once it hits the rocks at the mouth of the bay all its energy disappears and the sea quietens. Today, toward Gweal hill the wave crashes into granite, spray flung high into the air and then swept back on itself in great arcs, like the steam from a powering engine. The wind howling and sea hissing, sound like a great freight train roaring along.

Although windy it’s not cold and I am relieved to get out of my bulky coat and hat and feel the cool air on my skin. I have to climb down across the granite boulders, taking care not to twist an ankle. I leave my clothes underneath a large pebble to prevent them blowing away. The granite shingle pummels my feet as I wobble down the beach, blown around by the gale.

The water is crystal clear, a pale emerald green, pale golden grit below me scattered with discarded limpet shells. I swim parallel to the shoreline, not brave enough to swim out towards the wave. I can feel the suck and push of the water as it surges in and out. The surface is really choppy, I miss-time a breath and get a belly full of chilled saline, I imagine it sluicing through my innards. I wash around, laying on my back, watching two Herring gulls swooping above me, a watchful eye, a shag my only companion in the water. When I return to land, I wrap back up in coat and hat to wander home along the sandy track. A sense of quiet in my mind and an appreciation that once I am hunkered in by the fire later on, I can recall that wild and wonderful feeling of swimming in the storm.

                                                           Penny’s Painting, The Popplestone Wave

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