The 2 Minute Beach Clean is a on-line group that encourages people to spend just 2 minutes … well, it does exactly what it says in the name. However, filling an old carrier bag with rubbish or dragging some larger item off the beach is something I and many others have been doing for years.
Southdown Beach is another of those places that does not have a name on any map, but as it is beneath Southdown Cliff it seems reasonable. Other than by boat the only way to the beach is a 300 foot scramble down a path of sorts with the last 50 feet completely exposed. It may sound mad, it is, but clearly I am not the only one who goes this way otherwise the path would have grown in long ago.
The inaccessibility means there is no-one to collect the rubbish and for some reason it does collect here, sometimes it seems there is more plastic than pebbles on the beach. I could fill a bin bag in 2 minutes but that would be pointless as there is only one way out, back up that cliff. Sometimes you have to be content to do a little and anyway today there is a large lobster pot buoy which I am not leaving behind, so a carrier bag of other rubbish will suffice.
I swim a full circuit of the bay, then out around the rock, a jagged pyramid of razor sharp edges that looms above me against the sky. The seal that I saw on my way down the path was on the far side of the rock in the sheltered water but it has gone now. I complete my circumnavigation of the rock, actually the first time the water has been deep enough for me to do so in all the times I have been here. Well that’s an unexpected first and as I have swum every inch of the coast from Kingswear to Teignmouth I don’t expect there to be many more, but you just never know.