My twenty or so years working in the catering industry meant that the summer holiday months of July and August were ‘out of bounds’ but September and October were times that I could look forward to a few days away.
I have become so used to this arrangement that even now, I still like to take a few days in late October and early November, where popular destinations are a little less busy and the pace a little less frenetic.
My last visit to the coastal town of Ilfracombe was over three years ago, it was time to catch up with friends once more and enjoy a couple of days exploring a favourite location.
My arrival on Wednesday afternoon was welcomed by strong winds and persistent rain, perhaps the beginning of the payback for such a good summer but in any case, I had promised to reprise my catering skills, in the form of a slowly cooked lamb stew as a token of appreciation for some very comfortable accommodation for the next two nights.
Thursday morning was a little brighter, so just after seven thirty I headed out for some fresh air and hopefully a good few photos.
A typical November morning with a blustery wind found me watching the sheer power of the waves as they pounded the rocks below my viewpoint, the roar of water as it crashes against rock never fails to remind me to respect nature in this kind of mood.
Rain clouds and blue sky fought for dominance as I meandered my way up the hill just above the town, where a brief squall presented me with a great view of the town partially bathed in sunlight and the start of a rainbow to boot.
There would be no doubt that I would take photos of Damien Hirst’s legacy ‘Verity’ but just a few footsteps away from my hilltop view is a more understated monument, dedicated to the memory of a 14 year old Russian girl who tragically fell from the cliffs in foggy conditions, she had come to study English in the town.
‘Ekaterine’ is a very poignant reminder of the fragility of life, as I took a photo of this memorial, I was blessed with some golden sunlight, as I paid my own quiet respect to a life taken far too soon.
Descending the hill to follow the sea wall footpath, my route takes me to the harbour and another visit to a little gem of cafe I found on my last visit here, for a cup of tea and a cooked breakfast.
Again, I was spoiled with some striking scenery, St. Nicholas chapel standing atop lantern hill since the 14th century was aglow in the sunlight as the clouds parted once more to allow the sunlight freedom of the sky.
After my breakfast and two cups of tea, my meander took me to the breakwater and harbour beaches, retracing my footsteps of previous visits where I was happy to oblige with the typical seaside photography imagery.
My three hour amble seemed like just an hour, it never ceases to amaze me just how quickly time flies when I am in my photography walk mode, I hope to return to Ilfracombe again in the not too distant future, but for now, thank you for the (new) memories.