Saturday 11 January 2014. The White Billed Diver.
An unexpected visitor graced our shores on this sunny day – The White Billed Diver. This incredible creature breeds in the Arctic and normally spends the winter out at sea in the northern Pacific Ocean. The recent windy weather blew it off course and into Brixham. And despite its remote lifestyle, it is surprisingly friendly.
Today the rain has stopped and it is a beautiful day. The harbor is bathed in sunshine with boats gently bobbing, casting shadows on a shining sea. The star of the day is, however, The White Billed Diver who struts his stuff near the jetty, much to his spectators’ delight!
This rare bird was spotted in Brixham: Jan 2014
Bird watchers have come to Brixham’s jetty to ‘twitch’ in their droves! Many move in large groups sporting expensive cameras on large tripods with huge lenses.They are all here to take advantage of this rare opportunity to see this amazing bird. One enthusiast explained that Brixham is a great place to spot many exciting breeds such as the Purple Sandpipers and Slovenian Grebe. But the rare specimen everyone wanted to catch on film was the White Billed Diver. Here is a photo taken by Chris Slack, (my favorite photographer with lots of his pictures around our Hotel.)
In addition, there are walkers enjoying the views, walkers with their dogs, and fishermen casting their reels.
It’s so exciting having all these people here, smiling and enjoying Brixham. I feel energized having soaked up the wonderful sun and spectacular views – buoyed up, ready for the year ahead.
Well we do seem to get a few film crews staying with us here at the Quayside Hotel in Brixham. Gregg Wallace from Masterchef fame came to stay earlier in the year and then a certain Mr Heston Blumenthal checked in.
Blumenthal was filming with his channel 4 crew Heston’s Fantastical Food – dishes that built Britain. Episode one “Fish & Chips” was filmed in Brixham.
Me (receptionist Vicky) with Heston Blumenthal on the Golden Hind in Brixham
One of the Golden Tickets to board HMS Chippy!
It was a bit like Willy Wonka coming to town – golden tickets were issued and we were lucky enough to get 5 and off we went to board the replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, which was turned into a floating Fish & Chip shop with a wonderful giant animatronic fish.
Obviously being Blumenthal nothing was what it seemed! All sorts of edible delights were tasted by the Quayside Hotel gang, as Blumenthal “deconstructed” fish and chips into his own marvellous creations :)
Blumenthal cruising the harbour overlooked by our Quayside Hotel
Big crowds gathered around the Brixham harbour to watch all the action, but if you didn’t see it, do watch out for us on your screens on Channel 4, Tuesday 10th December at 9pm.
We were blessed with sunny weather, fabulous foods and Heston was a very nice chap! He even stopped to pause for a photo to promote Brixham’s very own Fish festival, Fishstock.
Having him to stay in the hotel with his film crew was a real pleasure, and we hope to see them again the next time Blumenthal comes to Brixham.
For me, Heston Blumenthal is bloomin’ talented!
By Chris & Bridget Bowring, owners of The Quayside Hotel.
A lovely day for a walk, trainers on and off we go!
First down to the Harbour, past the walkers with their dogs, the sitters on the seats and the crabbers leaning over the wall. Down below the lads are enthusiastically paddling their canoes and across the Harbour a queue is forming for the ferries to Torquay, (£2 return!) Past the smart Marine town-houses and on to the Marina. Lovely – boats bobbing and clanging and the Heritage Trawlers looking impressive. Brixham had 300 such Trawlers at their height around the early 1900 ‘s, what a sight that must have been!
Now at the pebbly beach and can smell the seaweed! Children clambering over the rocks and paddling in the sea. Divers emerging from the waters and disappearing again. The sea crystal clear and inviting.
Over the beach and up the steps, always an effort! At the top – along the road, down to the coastal path, past the outdoor Shoalstone pool now saved and open, and onwards past the Fishermans cottages and around to the path leading up to the Berry Head. Through the gate, more steps and an upward path through a shady wood to the top. Then a welcome seat and a breathtaking view, all worth the effort!
Looking across to Torquay, trying to name the landmarks and admiring the array of boats in the bay, Merchant vessals anchored, motor boats trundling to Dartmouth and little sailing boats concentrating on their race. And on the waves the red bobbing bouys marking the lobster and crab pots beneath.
Rest over, now to the Guard House! A visitor centre with lots of facts on the Berry Head 400 million years in the making! A brilliant cafe welcoming all including happy dogs. Finally a trip to the Guillemots viewing centre before our return, now down hill and just as beautiful!
By Bridget & Christopher Bowring, owner of The Quayside Hotel.
A trip to Broadsands was surprisingly enjoyable despite the cold. Only 15 minutes away by car, walkable by the Coastal Path if you are feeling fit!
The beach was busy with dogs and owners making the most of the large sandy beach and two little boys equipped with buckets and spades were exploring the rock pools.
The steam train came rocking by letting out a whistle to the beach huts below, still facing inward in their winter place.
Outside the food caravan visitors sipped steaming mugs of tea and some younger and braver purchased ice creams!
The promenade led up into the hills and over a lovely grassy area great for dogs and walking.
The view of Brixham Lighthouse beyond the pretty bays is stunning and the path tempting – must return when the weather is kinder and follow the path over the hill!