Sunday, 20 October 2013


Instead of heading to the hills last weekend, I headed to the coast. Coasting down the back roads on my bike, along a route I had scouted a few days earlier while out training on my road bike.

Past faded memories...

...and bright concentration...

...across narrow bridges... wide marine views drenched and sparkling in Autumn sunshine.

It was actually hot. Not just warm in the sun, but really hot. I stripped out of my riding clothes, chosen to fend off convective heat loss, and sat with sleeves and legs rolled up. Sunglasses perched on my nose, my hair a sweaty mess, I mindlessly skimmed smooth pebbles across the water's languid surface.

Recuperated, and blinded by the reflected light, I walked around my little haven. Lazy sea trout squirmed in the the glassy shallows. Garfish darted between stands of seaweed. In the absence of insects, a near-by motor launch provided the soundtrack, buzzing out in the fjord.

Kid's voices bounced across the cove and the warm rock I lazed on tried to fuse me to itself. Only the scratch of thirst and need for a bed stirred me from my stupor.

After dinner, and a half-hearted attempt at a fire, I chased the sun around headlands and coves, hoping for a fiery end that never came in the cloudless sky and fearing the creep of cold that failed to materialise.

Too warm in my sleeping bag and on edge at the almost perfect silence I struggled to sleep, so I watched the moon's progress through the tree tops. A heron flapped to it's roost and paced around awkwardly on it's fir tree branch. And then nothing...

I was hoping for a colourful sunrise so when I fumbled in my bag to check the time I got a shock at how late it was and scrambled into the dawn. Still not a cloud in the sky so a curious pinky-blue was the only colour, accented by swirling mists on the water and small sets of ripples that funneled into the shore from unseen passing boats.

The small rockpools cornered my attention as the tide receded slightly. Sea anemones, crabs, shellfish and blennys.

With the sun creeping over the forest the first visitors arrived. With voices approaching I packed up and started pedaling along the serpentine gravel path to the car park.

No coasting home. The ride back required plenty of hard pedaling, interjected with a couple more stops to revel in the utter laziness of the conditions.

Back home the coast was still with me. Sand clung to parts of my bike and clothes and a couple of shells made their way from my pocket to my bookshelf.

Winter may be approaching but for now the coast clings to memories of summer.

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