We arrive in fog.
Start Point is one of the isolated promontories of the South Hams area of South Devon. The South Hams is England’s secret. It’s a rural idyll, far from any main roads, bypassed by most of the holiday-makers weaving their weary ways to Cornwall. Containing Salcombe and backed by Dartmouth and Totnes, the area has seen skyrocketing house prices and poverty for many locals.
We wait for the fog to clear, staring at the sky, wondering if the sun will burn it off. The foghorn blares.
The rocks here are very different from those on nearby Dartmoor. There are large outcrops of beautiful quartz in the metamorphic rocks here. Rugged surfaces are covered by a layer of lichen, eking out an existence of sorts, here, where the ocean meets the land:
Many lighthouses were originally lit by whale oil, rendered from whale blubber. It was only much later in their history that they were converted to the mineral oil kerosine. Now, lighthouses are automatic and these cottages are upmarket holiday rentals.
Start Point extends for a mile into the sea. The name start is from the Anglo-Saxon word steort, meaning a tail. It’s the same word in the name of the bird, the Redstart.
There’s a rugged beauty to this place. Although I wish that foghorn would shut up. I wonder whether it mentions the foghorn in the description of the holiday rentals?