Rock Pooling

Rock hopping at Woody Bay, Isle of Wight

I love the runs that turn in to mini adventures, when we explore new places and I get an extra few moments to catch my breath. I swear we only went rock pooling because I was trying to postpone the inevitable steep climb back up to the cliff top above St Lawrence. The coastal path is a great route, barreling through tiny holloways beneath thick dark foliage and then out on to a high bluff, the path winding away down to the beach.

Tucked round the corner from St Catherine’s lighthouse is Woody Bay, a deserted stony beach. There’s a small cluster of old low houses above, with quirky homemade greenhouses and trampolines set in to the soft grass. Down below, the smooth stones are almost as inviting, settling in to a surprisingly accommodating shape for my tired body.


We lay on our backs and threw pebbles at targets, before jumping up to lob yet more stones and marvel at their bounce. We discovered a teeny tiny baby lobster and woke limpets from their rocky outcrops. I told Tom how we used to smash the limpets off the rocks for crab bait, which sounds shockingly cruel now! If I hadn’t holidayed with kids full of the best sort of wild, I might never have been so willing to wield a rock. A moment scrabbling around mid-run was a perfect little reminder of childhood summers.

Even after the beach break I didn’t manage to run up the full height of the cliff. We stopped for drinks at the village post office, then marvelled at a peacock family holding court on someone’s porch roof. There’s always something interesting to warrant a quick stop mid-run.

Looking down at shoes on the beach

A Windy Day and a Birthday

Derek and Bryony and Compton Beach, Isle of Wight

Windy days like these are perfect for blustery beach walks after filling up on a birthday brunch. My brother was home from London for the weekend, so we took the excuse to get the family together and celebrate his birthday a few days early.

Driving out to the countryside, it felt like late autumn; the strong winds have made a mess of tidy road edges, and the rapidly stripped leaves reveal creaky old oak. Mum welcomed us with hot coffee, while we caught up on our weeks and stuffed our faces with fried potatoes and bacon.

We had bright sun on our beach walk, and the wind was whipping the waves in to a froth. Something about the wind and crashing waves makes me want to run around and twirl. Food, family and blustery walks are the makings of a good Sunday. And chocolate cake helps too..

Kite surfer on stormy day at Brook Chine

Alec and Wendy on the beach and birthday cake photo collage

Beach Run

Bryony running on beach with sea in background

Bryony on the beach and pebbles photo collage

This is a new feeling for me: pounding feet in the sand, eye on a distant horizon, rush of waves, and salty air.  Arriving on this firm stretch of sand feels all the sweeter when it comes after hopping over tussocky clifftop grass and gingerly racing down steep steps.  Taking my own advice, we found plenty of excuses to stop, for blackberries on the hill, and photos on the beach.  The blackberries made a pretty sweet crumble for pudding, washed down with plenty of custard, and well-deserved after my first beach run.

Tom picking blackberries

Tide out at Compton Beach, Isle of Wight