Jonathan hits the water again

Burgh Island Blues (with apologies to John Masefield).

“I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky”

Over a year has passed since my last daft attempt at the life aquatic and when “the wild call and the clear call that may not be denied” came how could I refuse? The grey mist had been wiped from the sea’s face and the grey dawn had turned into a gloriously sunny early autumn day when six middle aged men and one woman convened at that most exotic of locations, the Bigbury on Sea municipal car park.

The challenge before us - to circumnavigate Burgh Island using only the power generated by our finely tuned (mmm…) bodies.

For those of you who don’t know (and why would you?) Burgh Island is a tidal island off the south Devon coast perhaps best known for the Art Deco hotel that perches jauntily atop it like a vast Philip Treacy hat. The hotel is closely associated with Agatha Christie who used it as the inspiration for a number of her books.

After a safety briefing by our guide Richard no further excuses could be dredged up as to why we shouldn’t be doing this and we plunged (for “plunged” read “tentatively stepped”) onto the chilly waters of the English Channel. The seven of us quickly became strung out as our varying abilities soon became evident. Modesty forbids your correspondent from revealing where he was in the pecking order. However, due to the expert guiding and for some a restorative nip of Armagnac at the half way point we finished together. Definitely wetter if not wiser and with an Alzheimer’s reaserch charity £1,000 better off. It was only left to repair to the Island’s 14th century pub, the Pilchard Inn, for a restorative reviver and to reflect on a job well done.

I finish as I started with the words of John Masefield:  “And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover, And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over”.

Now for next year……………………….

- Jonathan Throp