Sunday, August 14, 2011

Europe 2011: Retracing old footsteps through Devon

As an outdoor loving young fellow, my time living in the UK back in 2007 was a bit of a struggle. I loved the culture, museums and general civility of the place, however, the adrenaline hit of the night bus through London was not quite the same as what the ocean or the mountains could provide.

A job opportunity in Bristol brought me closer to the ocean. I researched surf options close to my new home and came across Croyde in Devon, arguably one of the best surf beaches in the UK. Some other surf deprived aussie friends made the drive from London to Bristol one weekend and we continued onto Croyde.

Rolling up tired and cold we were greeted by clean 4ft waves. The water was icey cold, around 10 degrees Celsius which meant copious amounts of thick rubber. It was so good being back in the water. I even grabbed some rail and got a little head dip barrel. I was severely unfit due to months of travelling and gluttonous eating and beer drinking habits.

Since that first surf, Croyde has been a special place. We had many more weekend surf trips to the area. Holly and I spent a great weekend there early on.

My first glimpse of Croyde Bay back in 2007, nice clean cold waves.





Visiting the UK this year we were really keen to spend some time relaxing and surfing in Croyde. The road through Somerset and then Devon is itself spectacular. We passed amazing Dunster Castle, a site over 1,000 years old.



Next up was the beautiful little coastal village of Lynmouth. The town straddles both the West Lyn and East Lyn Rivers and the ocean. Occasionally Lynmonth produces one of the best waves in the UK although there was no sign of the elusive left hand point break when we were there. We had great fish and chips while sitting on the cobblestone beach watching the ocean.

Confluence of the West and East Lyn Rivers



Boats and piles







As we continued on our way to Croyde we were constantly being bombarded by spectacular vistas. I was impressed by the native heath, a rare sight in the rolling paddocks of the UK. We got out at one vantage point to take it in.



We arrived in Croyde and got settled into our accommodation. We spent the next three days and nights surfing, walking, eating and drinking delicious local beer and cider.

The water was warm, I was overheating in my 5mm wetsuit. Despite the small waves I had some fun surfs.









The locals are really keen on surfing although not that keen on spreading out.



We went for some nice walks up the surrounding hills.





















Mmmm beer.



We had a great time. Massive thankyou to Deb and Nigel at Home House for their warm hospitality and delicious full English fry-ups every morning.

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