Torbay or not Torbay – that is the question

The weather is set fine for a few days so am off down the coast. First of all I’m heading to the old fishing port of Brixham. It’s nice and civilised. There are a few visitors wandering around the dockside on this shining March day but the crowds are in the imagination rather than on the ground. The Park & Ride is closed even and there are spaces in the central car park.

It’s low tide. In the mud of the harbour a menagerie of boats balance precariously on their keels. It looks like a gentle puff of wind would push them onto their sides leaving them marooned like struggling beetles. I like the fact that Brixham is a working port. Yes, the white fibre-glassed hulls of yachts & cruises are lined up at their moorings in the marina. But the fishing fleet is still there, made up of traditional sailing trawlers, crabbers & modern offshore boats, rusty & stinking of years of holding their catch of fish & crustaceans. The history of the place oozes out of the small houses and the dockside.

Travelling eastwards Broadsands Beach is the recreation area for the town.

Goodrington Sands is also part of the crescent of rich dark sands which curves around from Brixham to Torquay known as Torbay. These beaches attract families and visitors to traditional, bucket & spade seaside holidays.

Paignton stretches eastwards from its old harbour. Beach huts line the promenade in irregular clumps. The pier, in all its tacky glory, reminds everyone that traditional seaside holidays consist of a lot of sand and even more cups of tea, candy floss, fish & chips and endless arcades to battle the children away from.

Torquay is supposed to be the elegant resort. Hmmm. There are many grand, white-washed buildings that remind the visitor of its Victorian past. But the pier…such a disappointment. If the pier reflects the grandeur of the resort then the stubby harbour wall with a few iron seats and stunted lamps along the top is a very poor reflection of Torquay’s past glory & present attraction.

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