Tag Archives: Bristol Channel

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3

White Horses in the Bristol Channel, said Radio 3 – pencil drawing with digitally added colour

Friday. The morning, following so many beautiful dawns this week, dawned wet and windy. However, driving up the M5 to Clevedon I was still surprised to be informed by Radio 3 that there were white horses in the Bristol Channel*. This oldly specific announcement, out of character for a for a national radio station whose main qualities are its eighteenth century selections and lack of current affairs, was disconcerting. This wasn’t even a news bulletin, merely a comment about the state of the Bristol Channel. They explained, as if this explained anything, that they were watching the web cam at Watchet. Then they played Beethoven.

So it was in a slightly surreal and thoughtful mood that I stood taking photographs on the sea front. There were indeed (modest) white horses, there was also a spring tide and much splooshing of water up onto the walkway below the sea wall. And I was the only one there. I even wondered, if I continued to be the only one there, would I go in anyway?

This is Clevedon. There has to be more than little white horses to deter everybody. I pattered along to the big cave and found two of the regulars eyeing the sea speculatively. In the end we were four, and of course we swam. And as the sun rose above Clevedon Hill – in the instant that my camera battery died – and despite the dire warnings of Radio 3, it turned out lovely!

*White horses: I had to explain this to a friend, so in case anyone else is confused – the white caps on the top of waves. Other than actually breaking on the shore I think this begins to happen (sailing friends will correct me) at about a force 5 wind.

If you like my drawings you might like to know that I now have calendars for 2019 for sale in my etsy shop: www.waterdrawnart.etsy.com.

Clevedon Pier: now you see it, now you don't

Clevedon Pier: now you see it, now you don’t

Of Tides & Tow-Floats - drawing by Nancy Farmer

Of Tides & Tow-Floats

On Sunday I swam at Clevedon. If you’re not an open water swimmer you may be unaware that the subject of Tow-Floats amongst swimmers is a bit like Marmite amongst toast-eaters. But when there’s a stiff wind blowing up the channel against the tide, this is what it’s like to swim here. In the mess of confused waves you can barely see another swimmer yards away, but for a brightly-coloured bobbing float. And this is one reason why most of us at Clevedon like our floats: it’s always reassuring to know that you’re not alone out there, that there are some other nutters with you who think this is a good idea.

I’m told by Channel swimmers that these conditions are good practice for the English Channel. It is not something I ever intend to put to the test, but my three fellow swimmers are waiting for their tide window, having twice got as far as Dover, once even got out on the pilot boat, but the weather’s being uncooperative. So please cross your fingers for the BCH Relay team. You can follow them here: https://twitter.com/BchChannel?s=04. They are a team of ‘mad doctors’ and if you follow the link you can also donate to their cause to fund a specialist bereavement cubicle at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Of Tides & Tow-Floats - drawing by Nancy Farmer

Of Tides & Tow-Floats

The colours of the morning

The colours of the morning, 30th August

Clevedon, early yesterday morning. These were the colours of our swim, and they were beautiful. Soft, muted blues, yellows and greys, and the smoky Welsh hills just across the other side, because this is the Bristol Channel, this is the colour that it is, and it’s better to see the beauty in what you have got, than to complain that elsewhere people have blue water to swim in. My swimming companions seemed also to have chosen their colours to match the scene. All except me, who had on a bright red had and a bright orange float. I haven’t put me in: I clashed!

(Next year’s swimming calendars still selling by the way, but more than three quarters sold or reserved)

The colours of the morning

The colours of the morning