I blame the Environment Agency. The moment you start telling people to stay away from the coast and issuing ‘danger of death’ warnings about the weather is the moment that certain people are going to start scanning OS map number 20 for the place where the steepest terrain meets the most torrid and treacherous bit of sea.
Once Bounder had identified a likely location where big seas and maximum peril could be experienced, we set off for Prawle Point. I have to admit to being more than usually game for this excursion, as I quite fancied filming and filing an Exceptional Weather Report. The previous evening, the local news had been exclusively about weather. In twenty-five minutes of weather coverage there must be, I reasoned, an opening for a fresh intrepid reporter and her trusty sidekick. I would stand, attractively windswept, (possibly in a long black, cashmere coat?) and wax lyrical about the mighty power of nature. I would then turn to Bounder, (dullard in a bobble hat) for informative stats and weathery terms like ‘leeward’ and ‘isobar’. I felt sure Spotlight Southwest would be unable to resist.
Our journey to the coast was uneventful; the usual white knuckle ride through the lanes, with me losing all feeling in my hands because I’m gripping the seat so hard and Bounder telling me to stop screaming. Though storm debris littered the roads and massive puddles splashed up over the windscreen, we didn’t actually crash into anything or sink.
Your Exceptional Weather Reporters finally screeched to a halt in a deserted car park. Even though the raging sea was probably half a mile away, being engulfed and swept away didn’t seem fantastical. As we marched, zig-zagging towards the cliff path, so merciless was the wind that I put my hood up.
I was surprised to see the sheep that dotted the cliffside field, merely grazing in the face of such elemental furore rather than clumped in a terrified huddle or blown skyward like a fluffy apocalypse. Maybe they were just trying to look cool.
We soon reached the top of the hill and the pointiest bit of Prawle Point, where the Coastguard’s lookout station is perched. As we moved from the east to the west side of the craggy protuberance, the wind increased from really windy to wind that makes your face go all G-forcey. I clung to the railing surrounding the lookout station, shouting “This is madness! We must turn back!”. I couldn’t hear Bounder’s response, but his face made the shape of an “Eh?”. I edged my way back round the Point, ensuring that, at no time did my hands lose contact with the railing. I raised terrified eyes to where the Coastguard was probably about to mount my rescue, but was disappointed to see him merely watching my progress around the railing with a look on his face similar to one Bounder sometimes gives me.*
On the less windy side I explained to Bounder that no weather report was worth dying for, and we should head back to the safety of the car**. Bounder, with a look in his eyes I’ll never forget, replied “Ok, I think I’ll carry on, see you in half an hourish.”
To be continued…
*No, it wasn’t one of lust.
**Relatively safe when stationary.