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Bigbury - Jul 2004

We were a little later than planned leaving Bristol on Saturday morning, I have never been good getting up in the morning especially when I know it is weekend.

The trip down the M5 was highlighted by a torrential downpour as we passed Clevedon, the motorway seemed to become a river and traffic speed came down to 20MPH. The last stretch from the A38 across to Bigbury was slower with narrow roads and a couple of wrong turns, we finally arrived in bigbury car park around 11:00.

We parked in-between Steve & Viv and Martin and jumped out of the car to stretch our legs and say hello. I would like point out before I continue that our car is getting on a bit and the handbreak is not as good as it could be. I had just shut the car door when the car started to move slowly towards the clifft top, I grabbed the roof rack in an attempt to stop the car, Martin was quick of the mark too and came running over to grab hold of the trailer. The car only moved a few feet before it was stopped and I cranked the handbreak on another couple of clicks but I was in a cold sweat.

The sky was heavy with threatening clouds but the temperature was still pleasant. There was a light wind blowing, not enough to get me rushing out on the water. We had a wonder around to chat with the other Nomads that had already arrived, Phill & Judy Baker, Ian & Neroli + corgies, Martin Farrimond, Steve & Viv. Keith Shepherd also arrived shortly after us. Martin was the only one who was rigging up, everybody else was waiting for a bit more wind.

Pierrette and I decided to take our picknic lunch and headed of for a walk along the cliff top. From the cliff top we could see Martin out in the bay, he seemed to be able to get on the plane from time to time in the squals with his 9.4m2 and AHD but it looked hard work in the swell. We did not get very far before it started to rain and we returned quickly to the shelter of the car. This seemed to set the weather pattern for the rest of the day: occasional heavy showers.

After lunch I had a snooze in the car while Pierrette went with some of the others to visit Burgh Island. Refreshed from my snooze I found them all sitting outside the Pilchard Inn with several empty glasses.

By mid afternoon Phil decided to join Martin on the water but appeared to struggle with a smaller board and sail. Keith decided to head home as the wind was not picking up and he had got caught in one of the showers.

About 4:00 Ian also decided to rig up, he must have six sense because half an hour later the wind finally picked up. I watched for 10 minutes wondering if it was too late in the day to go out but decided to make the most of the wind so unstraped my board and started to get changed. No sooner had I got my swimming costume on than the wind dropped off again, I should have got ready earlier. Those already on the water had half an hour of good conditions.

I put my kit back on the trailer and we set off to join Steve and Viv at our B&B.. Although it was only a couple of mills to the B&B as the crow flies it took us over half an hour on the small roads to get to the other side of the river Avon (not our river Avon).

We ended-up split into two groups visiting two different pubs in the evening. Communications proved difficult, as reception on our mobiles was very poor or non-existent. How did we ever manage before we had mobiles? Steve & Viv, Pierrette and myself had a very nice meal in a pub in West Alvington that I can not remember the name of.

Sunday morning brought a bit more wind every body headed for the water except Martin who had tweaked his back at the end of the previous day manoeuvring his trailer. Ian, Neroli, Steve & Viv decided to sail to the West of the sand bar connecting Burgh Island to the headland the wind there looked more consistent, not affected by Burgh Island, but the water was more three dimensional. Pierrette, Phil and myself decided to sail to the East of the sand bar. The water there was flat but we were restricted to short runs near to Burgh Island. The wind dropped off a little during the morning and Ian, Neroli, Steve & Viv came across to the East side of the sand bar as well. Ian & Neroil headed down wind away from the island where they could sailed out across the bay to the East of the headland.

photo of Ian & Neroli about to collide! photo of Steve mid-gybe photo of Phil mid-gybe

In the afternoon Steve, Ian, Phil and myself sailed out across the bay to the East of the headland. I was just about on the plane, it seemed like I had gone miles and probably did.

On my first run I did not realise I was heading down wind on the way out until I turned to come back. The beach was only a dot in the distance and a long way up wind. It was a long beat off the plane to get back to the beach. I tried to stay further up wind after that and had many good runs across the bay, until my lack of fitness started to tell and I had to head to the beach and packed up.

For those of you that have never visited Bigbury it's a beautiful scenic spot, which I imagine can deliver some great windsurfing conditions and is worth a visit. Watch-out for the parking charges especially if you have a trailer.

Mike Simmons

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