The View From My Window – Torbay

The view from my window

As I stare vacantly out of the window, eating my breakfast, it’s suggested to me that I ought to write about what I can see. Well, because we overlook Torbay in Devon (UK), there’s quite a lot to see.

Torbay itself is like a huge bite taken out of the South Devon Coast (bizarrely, facing East) of about four miles diameter and consisting of the three towns of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. From our window (on a clear day) I can see out of the bay and right across to Sidmouth on the left, just peeping around the edge of the outstretched arm of Torquay, and along the Devon and Dorset coast to Portland to the right. The white cliffs of Bere Head are visible – unusual from the rest of the coast because most of the cliffs hereabouts are that glorious reddish brown so typical of Devon.

So on a clear day we have a view of almost 60 miles and there’s always something happening. But today it was the dolphins that got me going. For the second time this week there have been about 40 of them (in two distinct groups) going backwards and forwards just below us, presumably feeding – and here’s my point – in spite of the fact that we’re only three days from Christmas. The BBC news was getting very excited the other day with the announcement that researchers had ‘discovered’ that a pod of about 28 Dolphins has taken up residence around St Ives Bay. Presumably, they are excited because the dolphins appear to be over-wintering here.

Well, I’ve got news for them. From what I could count, I saw about forty whilst I was having my breakfast, and that’s not unusual. Believe me, there’s no better way to start the day than watching dolphins arcing out of the sea whilst you’re eating a croissant. Watch this space for updates on the view.

Lyme Bay showing field of view

As I said earlier, on a very clear day we can see Portland. You may think that a bit strange, since, if you are of average height, and stand on the beach with your toes almost in the water, the horizon will only be about 3 miles away. Our house is about 100 feet above sea level, so that increases the distance to the horizon to roughly 12 miles. So how come we can see Portland, which is about 50 miles away? Well, of course, we can’t see the shoreline – just the high ground. Even Sidmouth at 23 miles is only visible in its more elevated areas. But see it we can. The most striking feature of the Portland area is the 72 foot high Hardy Monument, three and a half miles inland from Abbotsbury. Built in memory of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy (of Battle of Trafalgar fame), it was designed in the shape of a spyglass and situated to be visible as a navigational aid for shipping up to 60 miles away. Thus, it is conveniently visible (on a very clear day and with the aid of a telescope) from my window as I eat my breakfast.

What better way is there to start the day than watching the dolphins and ensuring the Hardy Monument is in good order?