During lock down I made a decision to treat myself to something I have wanted for several years .
Throughout our lives we gravitate to different things depending on a large variety of circumstances . Where we end up living, what our jobs our , what our partners do or our children etc etc. My life for the last 25 years has been monopolised by family, athletics and running which I hasten to add has bought me happiness and joy but in another life I think I would have liked to be on the water and indeed I did spend a very enjoyable 2 years on the river Thames rowing at college.
So strolling through my search engine I found it ‘my paddle board’ and without a moment to lose I ordered it from an independent shop up in Yorkshire. The weeks passed and still it did not arrive due in part to the unexpected popularity of this new craze on the water. On Friday 3rd July the day before our trip to Beesands to awaken the sleepy cottage it arrived .
We were blessed with more of the glorious weather from the preceding weeks. So most days I paddled around the shore venturing further out if I dared. Then on Thursday I started chatting to Graham the local fisherman about my dream to paddle to Hallsands to see the old village from the sea . The stories he gave me about being a child in Start bay and how safe it was back in the 40’s kept ringing in my ears .
Friday morning 8am the sun already beating down and the decision was made . Grab opportunity when you have it ,it may not return ! I was not alone as Sam came too , eager to take on the challenge .
I have run this section of the coast path countless times but I have not since 1979 looked at the old village from the beach /sea and I have been desperate to. I have daringly climbed over the gate to peer at the village , I have tried to clamber round the rocks from North Hallsands but the dream to be on the ocean and see this beautiful mysterious village has alluded me .
With everything in life the hardest part of any challenge is taking the first step – I had done the hardest thing and now I was paddling fiercely . The sea was beginning to get choppy as the wind was blowing me along ( first rule of paddle boarding start with the wind in front of you) with trepidation I rounded Wilsons rock ( a traditional landmark to identify the dropping of the beach during the period prior to the eventual destruction of Hallsands)in front of the old village . My nerves were now playing games with me as the sea can be such a dangerous playground and I paddled back quickly .
The joy I felt not only seeing these beautiful sights of cliffs,sea birds and history but also doing one thing I had dreamed of for so many years will probably live with me always . When I look back on the year of the pandemic I will be forever grateful to our team of key-workers and my heart goes out to the families of those who lost loved ones . But , I will also think of the precious time I have had with my family , how lucky we are to be able to venture out to our towns ,parks and countryside, fresh air, working on Covid proof athletics and my brilliant adventure on my paddle board !