Half the campers in this little park had gone by the time we drew back the curtains this morning. Motorhomes are few and far between but it seems that the Canadians do love their camping trailers – and the bigger the better. The men also seem to love being stripped to the waist while they plug in the water and electricity and get out the barbecue, even in a cold wind.
It was a porridge sort of morning with grey skies and a half-hearted rain pattering on Harvey’s roof. So we had porridge and then donned raincoats feeling somewhat resigned to the day. We cycled up the steep road out of the campsite and then hit the bike trails which criss-cross the park and all of a sudden we were out in the wilderness. The bike path tunneled through damp, dark woods and then ran alongside fields of wildflowers. There were dog roses and yellow daisies, foxgloves and lupins.
We followed the coastline, the tide was way out and big rocks were marooned in glistening grey sand; ochre coloured seaweed steaming as the temperature rose.
We stopped at a slate beach and poked about, finding soft bleached driftwood and shrimp flickering about in rockpools. The rain picked up and we sheltered under some fir trees and found wild strawberries.
The coastline feels familiar somehow, with its warm brackish smell, slippery bladerack seaweed and grey waters. It reminds me of childhood holidays.
When the rain passed we got back on the bikes and pedalled on. Tom’s new bike has gears but he can only change them in one direction as the selector is very stiff, so he tends to stay in first, pedalling furiously for a bit, freewheeling, and then pedalling like a demon again. Eventually we came to another beach with a Lord of the Rings mist hovering ghostlike over it, and a ship sounding a booming foghorn somewhere unseen. It was a magical place and between the foghorn blasts it was almost completely silent, except for the seawead popping and crackling around us, seabirds twittering and splashing at the shoreline.
The water was grey and almost completely flat, merging seamlessly into the mist. For a moment we though we saw seals, but actually we never did.
Heading back, we found a big patch of wild raspberries and we all dived in. By the time we got back the sun was if not exactly out, at least somewhere in the vicinity and it was getting humid. We cooled off with an icecream on the bench next to Harvey having cycled about fifteen miles through this haunting landscape.
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