Exploring the coves of my youth
Four years ago I joined my old buddies James and Marcus on a five day walk across Dartmoor. I’m buzzing with excitement with the prospect of setting off with them again - only this time it is the Devon coastline rather than the moor that we will exploring in all weathers for five days from this coming Sunday.
I am not expecting this journey to be as tough as our adventure through the wilderness of the open moor. On the coast we will in fact never be more than a few hours from a Devon cream tea. But that boundary line between land and sea still feels wild, caught between civilisation and the deep blue sea. I am taking a tent and my old medium format camera and hope to slow down to take images that reflect a more contemplative passage, interwoven with memory.
I spent my teenage years in the South Hams in Devon and have wonderful recollections of languid hot summers exploring the coast. As soon as I passed my driving test and aquired a beaten up old Triumph Herald I would run out to the beaches and headlands between Dartmouth and Salcombe with friends. It was my first real taste of freedom from home. During those years of swimming, camping, scrambling, jumping from perilous rocks and generally aping about I built up an intimacy with this transitional space that has inhabited me ever since.
Names of beaches like Gara Rock, Vanericks and Mattiscombe Sands still have powerful resonance for me. They bring back a rich weave of memories – a connection back to a younger self with a whole lifetime ahead of me. When I walk down to them I tread many paths back to the white coves of my youth. Together with two of my best friends from this time we hope to build up a very personal portrait of the Devon coastline as winter edges into spring.
To help convert this artistic journey into a new book on the Devon coast please pledge on our Kickstarter campaign, launched this week.