When someone says “English beach” you don’t really picture anything that great. Grey skies. Grey sand (at best). Grey water. A lot of people not really dressed for the beach at all. I’d been told that the Jurassic Coast was beautiful, and, along with my preconceived ideas I (internally) pffff’d and mostly dismissed the idea of swimming in the UK.
But then I remembered that I would need a July swim to complete my swim-every-month-in-2022 challenge. So, caution to the wind and those sorts of things, I decided to head to Durdle Door as early as possible to avoid the crowds. £5 to park for 4 hours – they sure know how to make it difficult for poor people to do things in the UK.
Anyway. I followed the path down, and down, and down, past the views of white chalk cliffs, down the rocky path, then down the worn wooden steps and onto the san….pebbles. They were oval, smooth pebbles. Apparently walking barefoot on pebbles is a good way of improving health (it’s called tap shek) – so consider my health improved!
There is a very striking arch in the water at Durdle Door Beach – the arch is the namesake for the beach. Durdle Door.
The water was clear and a beautiful blue. There was a slight swell, but nothing significant. No wind. The sun was out.
I dove in to the instantly deep water (the coarser the sand on the beach, the steeper the beach) and started swimming for the arch. The water was refreshing, especially after suffering through the 40℃ heatwave in London. A shower doesn’t have the same refreshing power as a swim in the ocean after a hot day.
I reached the arch, swimming through it on my back, looking up the whole time, watching the perspective change. It felt special. Magical. Like I’d gone through a portal to another land. Swimming back through the portal, I was worried I’d go back through to the place I’d come from, but I stayed in the magical place where I’d been through Durdle Door.
If you ever get to the Jurassic Coast, and the weather is Just So, I heartily recommend swimming through the portal to another land.
When I was last in Europe music wasn’t everywhere – especially not “my” music. We didn’t have a stereo in the Volvo 940 we were driving around Europe. I didn’t have an iPod. Spotify didn’t exist, nor did the ubiquitous internet that’s required for a streaming service. I have an incredibly vivid memory of being in Spain, and finding a bar one afternoon that was playing Smashing Pumpkins. I’d not heard “my” music for many weeks and it struck incredibly deeply.
I wonder if there will be things that lodge themselves in my brain the same way as that afternoon did on this trip. And I wonder if my kids will have the same experience of unearthing something they’ve been missing by absolute chance.
I’ll be documenting my Europe trip on here. Because it’ll have personal details and stuff in it, I will be password protecting the posts. If you would like to know the password, get in touch and I will send it to you. Get in touch via email or Signal/Whatsapp/Instagram.
South Australia’s main body of fresh (yet murky, and sometimes gross) water is the Murray River. The Murray starts in the Australian Alps, and heads towards the South Australian border. Along the way it meets its main tributary, the Darling River. Then it gets to South Australia, heads west towards Morgan, then south to Lake Alexandrina where it pops out into the ocean.
A primary trait of the Murray River is that it’s a slow moving river with several locks along the way controlling the flow.
There is nothing exciting about the Murray on the surface. No waterfalls. No rapids. So it feels a bit unexpected, and quite exhilarating, finding a waterway in South Australia with a decent waterfall on it.
Waterfall Gully and Morialta National Park both have some pretty waterfalls. They are also hugely popular with walkers, and even Third Falls at Morialta, which takes a bit more effort to get to than Second Falls, is quite busy at times.
We started to hunt for more out of the way waterfalls to visit, and here are the top three so far.
#1 – Ingalalla Falls
You don’t need to go far by foot to get to this watefall, but getting to the top of the lower falls is a muddy exercise. Bring some sturdy shoes, and maybe a change of pants, and enjoy the clamber.
#2 – Mannum Falls
Mannum Falls covers a huge area, and while it’s possible to drive to the upper carpark, I would recommend going to the lower carpark and walking in to the main falls. I’ve never seen Mannum Falls with a lot of water flowing, but if you time it right, you might find it flowing well!
#3 – Currency Creek Waterfalls
The short walk to the Currency Creek Waterfalls takes you under a rickety old railway bridge, featuring a rude galah. The falls don’t have a lot of vertical in them, but they do have a certain beauty to them.