Torquay Harbour Bridge open (above) to allow a boat to sail through. There are sluices to allow the water levels to become the same
After having had such an enjoyable walk around Dartington on Thursday, and as yesterday also dawned bright and clear, we decided to drive into Torquay, park our car behind the department store, Hoopers, and then stroll around the harbour to Living Coasts. You might recall, if you have been reading my blog for a while, that we visited here earlier in the year – it is a sea life centre and having bought season tickets for Paignton Zoo, these enable us to visit Living Coasts as well, and as often as we like.
Rumour has it that it is “just penguins” in Living Coast, but there are many more species to see. However, I’m no female Sir David Attenborough and so while I love to see these animals, birds and fish, unless I read every single label on the enclosures, I have little ides as to which bird is which, or which fish is which, so please forgive me my lack of information. It was very busy in their yesterday, the last hurrah before the children return to school next week, and so photographing all the labels would’ve been rather difficult – and then I’d doubtless have muddled them up and called an Auk a Guillemot!
Living Coasts, Beacon Cove, Torquay
Living Coasts is on a headland at the far side of the harbour, and it has a huge mesh canopy which encloses the animals and birds. But looking through the canopy you can see the sea beyond, and the little cove in the distance is actually Beacon Cove. In the photo above are the pools in which there are seals, some of them quite large, lumbering creatures … until they vanish beneath the water (it is fairly deep) and then they demonstrate their speed and agility.
I am sure this one knew he was being photographed. It’s as if he was saying, “I’m ready for my close up, Mr de Mille!”
I photographed some of the birds …
and they looked in fine fettle, but some of the penguins were moulting and looking a bit sorry for themselves (but hey, I’m being emotive here; they mightn’t think like us; maybe they were just waiting for their next meal!) But they looked as if they were saying, “Who you calling a Scruff?”
One of the keepers-for-the-day (many of whom are volunteers, and who are very knowledgeable) said that the penguins (for their are several species of penguin here) are fed four times a day with sprats which are caught in Lyme Bay. They couldn’t have a better place to live, believe me. In one area, under cover, there is even an electric fan so that on hot summer days they are keep cool.
The large white building is Torquay’s Imperial Hotel, with next to it, the Imperial apartments
Having been before to Living Coasts, while there are many interesting fish in the aquarium part of this centre, we actually prefer the outside areas rather than wandering through the labyrinths of tunnels where there are seahorses, rays and so forth. Furthermore, it is all very echo-y in the underground areas, and as it was filled with children who were excited – understandably – to see such creatures, the noise levels were very high, so as quickly as possible we made our way out again, into the sunshine.
This is the road from Living Coasts, showing the walkway, past the Harbour Master’s Office, back to Victoria Parade and Torquay’s inner harbour
Torquay’s inner harbour
And just above the harbour there is a row of attractive Regency terraced houses, some of which are now private apartments, some are restaurants …
I love their wrought-iron work balconies, and they have all been painted in gentle shades of cream. At the end of this row of houses, climbing the hill away from the harbour, you can just see a white building with the Union flag flying. This is Torquay’s Royal Yacht Club.
We always enjoy a stroll around the harbour, there are always things to see, and yesterday many children with their parents were enjoying the last weekend of the summer holidays, “crabbing” …
Ancient slipway where children were “crabbing” (catching crabs which they then return to the water)
We then made our way back towards Hoopers, the department store …
It’s not easy taking a decent photo of this store because it’s situated close to a pedestrian crossing, and there are shrubs on the ‘island’ in the central reservation in the road. I have a gift token from last Christmas to spend in this store, but I didn’t see anything I wanted to spend it on yesterday, but we enjoyed having toasted tea cakes and coffee in their café on the top floor, which has views of the harbour.
You might wonder why I’m wearing my Panama indoors? Well, (a) women do not remove their hats indoors (if they are wearing them, I mean), and (b) my hair would’ve been well and truly flattened under it, and would’ve looked worse than keeping my hat on! Again, in my navy and white uniform!
The view from Hoopers’ ‘Zest’ café on a sunny September morning
Opposite Hoopers is a walkway close to the harbour which I always thinks looks beautiful regardless of the time of year …
and a similar view (below) taken in November 2006 …
I’m afraid, at the rate the leaves are now falling, it won’t be long before it looks like this – very autumnal, but still very beautiful.
And finally, the clock tower by the harbour, on Torquay’s Strand, a regular meeting point … “Meet you by the clock tower” …
Enjoy your weekend, wherever you are.
Until next time.
PS Coming soon … as they say … The Homity Pie Recipe, and a post on Follies.