Going Through the Storm

Storm Ellen and Storm Francis get together…

(click for full image)

Caravanning is our enduring passion – when we get a chance to ‘getaway’, and invariably we head to the coast. Living land-locked in lovely Buckinghamshire never fails to render a coastal visit as more than special.

A well-researched North Devon campsite, with glorious and far-reaching coastal views over the Taw estuary, was everything we could have hoped for after months in ‘Lockdown’  – until shortly after arrival we spotted the weather forecast.

Huddled behind a very scant hedge with our elevated views, we sat out both storms Ellen and Francis; the UK apparently experienced a ‘turbulent spell of weather with a strong jet stream bringing deep areas of low pressure’.

Whilst Ellen couldn’t be ignored, we were dumb-founded when catapulted from one storm to another with only a breather for about three days. Gusts of nearly 70 mph made sleeping in the van a great deal more like rocking in a catamaran in heavy seas! These were two of the most notable August storms in the UK in the last 50 years – or so we were told.

At least we weren’t flooded, left homeless, without power or stranded for transport links as many were. And the upside, spectacular and exhilarating waves battering the exposed coast where we walked and photographed – but didn’t picnic for obvious reasons! Ilfracombe came up trumps when high tides coincided with sunset over the stormy seas crashing against shore rocks. My two paintings ‘Ellen’ and ‘Francis’, rocky shore structured with heavy texture and sunset glinting in golds and coppers, are glorious memories of that holiday.

(Forecasters said the winds were ‘unusual’ for August – we agreed – but they would still have a way to go to beat the current record wind gust speed of 87mph recorded at The Needles in August 1996!)