The River Teign in South Devon is beautiful shortly after dawn.
There’s been a sequence of very high tides recently, and I can see their consequences as I make my way along the river bank. I’m glad I’ve got my new wellies on. They have steel-reinforced soles and neoprene sides and my trousers are firmly tucked into them. They cost me nearly £80 and I’m feeling very pleased with them. I can see where the last high tide over-topped the bank and saturated the ground as I walk downstream. I can also hear it squelch.
I can see the village of Bishopsteignton across the river. It has three churches and four pubs. Churches 3 – 4 Pubs is a good scoreline as far as I’m concerned.
The light is beautiful and the rounded hills very appealing:
Hidden behind a long line of conifers is the main water treatment works. There’s a constant industrial hum and the noise of large lorries making deliveries. There’s also the smell.
I can also see the ugly concrete Teign bridge, after which the local council gets its name. If you’re a local council, why would you name yourself after the largest piece of environmental destruction and greatest eyesore in the district? Oh, yes.
Looking downwards, the zonation of the plants on the banks is fascinating, highlighted in relief by the low light.
I’m thinking about walking back when I see an unmistakable bird flapping across the river.
It’s an Osprey. It flies up river until it’s in sight of the bridge and then turns abruptly round, accompanied by the local Corvids. It heads off down river towards Teignmouth.
What a fabulous bird.
I begin the walk home and realise the tide’s been coming in and not out and I’m now trapped on a small river beach. I know, it’s an elementary mistake. I scramble up the bank and have a long and arduous walk through brambles, over fallen trees and across ancient spiked fences to get home. The brambles rip at my wellies. I wade my wellies through the final stream to get back and feel wet on my leg. Have I really punctured my wellies on first use?
For Ospreys, it was worth it.