Stormy Waters..

The rain is once again pummelling the windows. Trees are bending and creaking in the wind. Yesterday afternoon, as the latest storm started to wind up, we went across to the North Devon coast to see what was afoot.


Hartland Quay 009 Wm



The winds had yet to reach actual storm force, it would have been far too dangerous to be out there if they had. People have sadly been swept into the sea in recent days and we were not taking chances. Even so, your intrepid blogger and her photographer in chief were buffeted about. At times it was hard to keep standing up. A fellow intrepid storm chaser could not pull her car door shut, the wind was that strong.


Hartland Quay 006 Wm


The unusually large temperature differentials between the bitterly cold northern regions of the American continent and the milder south have caused deep low pressure systems to develop. These then barrel across the Atlantic on a particularly fast moving Jet Stream and hit the UK as gale force wind and torrential rain. Those of us living on the west side of the country are first in the firing line.

For the last couple of weeks a new storm has hit us about every other day, coinciding with high spring tides. Many homes along the coast and close to tidal rivers are on flood alert once again today.


Hartland Quay 007 Wm


Hopefully it will quieten down, for a while, by the end of this week.

And then what next? Hints of colder weather in the long range forecasts now. The rain may yet turn to snow. Winter for all of us in the northern hemisphere has had its challenges this year.


Hartland Quay 010 Wm


Meanwhile, at Hartland Quay, the grass has blown flat.


Hartland Quay 011 Wm


Trees grow into contorted shapes, moulded by the wind.

In all the time we were driving around yesterday we hardly saw another soul.


2018-02-27T10:50:00+00:00January 6th, 2014|Tags: |


  1. countrysidetales January 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Yup, that just about sums it up. According to my resident weather expert, January has already yielded more rain in its first five days than the entire month’s average. Ho hum.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

      It’s just as well it isn’t coming down as snow. Out here we would be completely cut off by now.

  2. wherefivevalleysmeet January 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica – it is lovely to see your photos but from the warmth of my home. It is sad that so many young people have put themselves at risk by trying to capture the storms waves on camera, and one boy has lost his life.
    We seem to be experiencing wonderful sunny days, such as today, and then the next day is the totally the opposite.
    Is your stream tempestuous too at the moment?

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      The stream is very high and fast flowing. Thankfully it’s quite a way below the house. It is exhilarating watching those waves, but I wouldn’t be out there today!

  3. Chloris January 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Great pictures of a wild, angry sea. You west country people are taking the full force of these storms. We have had lots of wind and enormous quantities of rain here in the east, but now and again the sun comes out and it feels spring-like. I hope your garden isn’t suffering from these constant batterings.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      It’s the trees that worry me the most, especially as the ground is so sodden and they’re less resilient against the wind. Other than plants drowning, that’s the main risk to the garden at the moment!

  4. Joanne January 6, 2014 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    It is awful weather, take care out there xx

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 4:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks Joanne. Hopefully we’ll all get a bit of respite by the end of the week.

  5. Rosie January 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    You were very brave to venture out in all that wet & windy weather! Stay safe and warm over the next few days:)

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      You too Rosie. It’s been quite a bit rougher today, so I did just that!

  6. Vera January 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    I saw on the weather forecast that your part of the world was having a prob with the weather. We are OK down here in SW France at the moment, but no doubt our turn will come!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      It looks like it’s going to get drier soon, for a while at least, I hope in time to keep your river low!

  7. Pauline January 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    We stayed in the warmth of our house, the garden is more like a swamp, we will need at least a dry week or two before we can walk on it again. The local rivers of the Exe and Otter have both burst their banks and fields are under water again. We just have to sit this weather out, the forecast is for much calmer weather later on this week so I hope they are right!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 4:44 pm - Reply

      I can identify with the swamp. There’s so much I need to get out and do but no chance.

  8. Jo January 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    I think I’d have stayed tucked away inside if I were you. We’ve been very lucky so far, we haven’t had much wind or rain here, certainly nothing like you’ve been having. Stay safe, I hope it lets up soon.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo. Today I went as far as the herb bed for some sage and that was it!

  9. 1gus1 January 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    We’re far from the sea but the wind has blown down trees in the forest and the rain has turned puddles to ponds and gullies to streams. Snow next??

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      I have started stocking up the freezer..

  10. ournewlifeinthecountry January 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    It’s the wildest weather I’ve ever known, especially as it is lasting for so long.

    My chickens think I’ve brought them to hell, it’s not stopped raining since we moved here and they’re soft southern girls who are now cowering in or under the henhouse all day, venturing out between showers for a quick wander and then legging it back at the first drops of rain.

    I’ve even put a feeder and drinker in the house for the real softies!!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      Those poor chooks.. hopefully when the sun comes out again they will forgive you!

  11. Denise January 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Cor blimey, Jessica! And flippin’ heck. Keep your hatches battened, me deario. X

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      Hatches battened and cross checked.

  12. Em January 6, 2014 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    It’s very windy up here today on Dartmoor, but the rain has been minimal thank goodness. I feel very lucky….famous last words.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      It’s the time of year I’m starting to wish we lived somewhere warmer and more settled. But where to go? Everywhere has its crosses to bear these days it seems.

  13. Freda January 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Hang on in there! It’s pretty wild up here on the west coast of Scotland too, and dreich (which is a very expressive Scottish word for grey and rainy.)

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 5:20 pm - Reply

      Dreich is an excellent word. Equally applicable to Devon at the moment!

  14. Cumbrian January 6, 2014 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Everybody seems to be getting it this year, here in West Cumbria we’re pretty well used to it, the Solway Firth has strong tides and because of its funnel shape, the waves build up fast towards the narrow end, especially with SW winds But last week saw the biggest tide of the month with a SW storm gale behind it, estimated to add up to 1m on the tide height, so there was a bit of flooding and wave damage.

    More showers rather than prolonged downpour, the river, although looking very brown and threatening, has actually stayed in its banks.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      There can’t be much to equal the power of the sea when it’s on the move. It’s scary stuff.

  15. Simone January 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    A depressing and frightening picture of things yet to come! When we have out summer heatwave all this will be long forgotten. Bring on the hosepipe bans!!!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      There’s always something isn’t there?

  16. Laura January 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Snow storms don’t scare me, but rainstorms do! You can always dig yourself out of the snow, but what can you do with too much water? However, it’s the extreme cold that has caused nine water main breaks in our city in the last couple weeks, and that means that water basically freezes on contact with the air! Last night, we had a few short power outages, but thankfully had the fireplace going. Monday morning now, and still, still business and school as usual. (School busses won’t make the school run in -30°C, though, so it’s up to the parents to get the kid to school.)
    Hope we both see some nicer weather soon!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm - Reply

      You must be so reliant on services like power and water. We were staying in Scotland during the last very cold winter, when it went down to -24C. That was bad enough. One inch of snow can close schools here, I’m not sure which is best!

  17. elaine January 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    The poor old Uk is certainly taking a beating – brave old you to go out and take piccys specially for us – take care, don’t go too close.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      It certainly is. Hope you’re feeling better Elaine.

  18. justjilluk January 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    We are used to the wind on the north east of Scotland well over 100 mph, and the high surge tides. Doesnt make it any easier. Wondering if we will have any snow!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      The way it’s going it could soon be the norm here too.

  19. Amy at love made my home January 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    It is amazing how the trees grow in the direction that the wind blows on them isn’t it. Our ground is pretty well sodden here now. I am watching the moss grow on the lawn (a euphemistic term at the moment!) practically while I am looking it it. It really is soooo wet. Your pictures (Mike’s!) are amazing, but I am glad that you didn’t get too close and that you stayed safe. I hope that the stream keeps on flowing past and doesn’t cause any damage. Stay safe and dry! xx

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      There was a picture I’d like to have got yesterday, but it was too dark. We drove through an avenue of trees and every one of them had a thick coating of moss covering the exposed roots and all the way up the trunk. It was like an underworld that never saw the sun.

      • Amy at love made my home January 6, 2014 at 6:08 pm - Reply

        That sounds amazing. Fortunately we don’t have quite that much moss, but who knows at this rate!! xx

        • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 6:31 pm - Reply

          I would guess our lawn is more moss than grass. We were also thinking today that the hoof prints are getting bigger.. must be all the water working away at the holes!

  20. Crafty Gardener January 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Wow, certainly stormy over there. We are in the midst of another frigid spell, temperatures dropping rapidly causing flash freezing. Stay warm and safe.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      Quite crazy weather everywhere this year. You too Linda.

  21. Sue@GLAllotments January 6, 2014 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    There is something to be said for nestling in the shelter of the Pennines!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Sounds good Sue! But what happens when the east wind doth blow?

      • Sue@GLAllotments January 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm - Reply

        Fortunately we are not too near the coast!

        • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 6:53 pm - Reply

          We looked closely at a house overlooking the sea on the very tip of Cornwall, although it was well back. 8m waves they’ve had there today.

  22. Vintage Jane January 6, 2014 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    … and again today! Currently piddling cats and dogs outside … drips coming through the bathroom ceiling and above kitchen window, but it could be a lot worse! Happy New Year to you. M x

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      Oh no! It has to stop soon doesn’t it? Please?
      Happy New Year to you too, thanks M.

  23. SeagullSuzie January 6, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Torbay is quite sheltered in terms of huge waves, I bet Bude was spectacular in a scary kind of way. I feel really sorry for all those folks threatened by flooding. We do have plenty of trees that look like the one in your photo though.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      It must be awful Suzie, to be in the path of some of those very big waves. The power of nature. The pictures on the BBC and elsewhere are awesome.

  24. colleen January 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    I can’t remember a year when it has been so stormy through December. We get off lightly here in London – and it has been very mild too – but those further down river are living more precariously when the Thames Barrier closes.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      Yes, I guess the water has to go somewhere. That can’t be much fun.

  25. Sarah January 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    It wasn’t the day for your coast walk you promised yourselves after Christmas then! Some of the height of the waves on the TV looked quite frightening, Thank you for sharing your experiences of early retirement with me. It has been encouraging to read how many bloggers have done something similar and benefited from the change.
    Sarah x

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      I would have been worried about being blown off the cliff yesterday! Weymouth is on the news again this evening, I do hope it isn’t too bad. Take care, and best wishes for the coming year.

  26. Ali January 6, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    You’re brave to venture out. The Thames is in full flood – I can’t get out of our village the usual route as the bridges have been closed. But there’s no chance of our house flooding, so I’m counting our blessings and staying in!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      That sounds very wise Ali! It’s still so stormy here, trees being battered about.

  27. snowbird January 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Oh what fantastic piccies, I swear I can hear the raor of the wind and feel the fine mist of the waves on my cheek. It is amazing watching the waves, I haven’t been to the beach yet, the rain has been horrible…..and the winds dismal. Our weather seems to become more unpredictable every

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      There was certainly a lot of mist on the camera! I really worry about the way the climate is going, as much for the wildlife as for ourselves.

  28. Anna January 6, 2014 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    It certainly seems to have been very rough in your neck of the woods Jessica. I think that I would have been too wimpish to have ventured out in such conditions. Hope that having had such an adventure that you will now stay safe and snug indoors until it blows itself out.

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      I can see why people are drawn to watch the waves, it is exhilarating. But the power of the wind and the water quite scary too. Thank goodness for zoom lenses, we didn’t have to get nearly as close as it looks!

  29. CJ January 6, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Great photos, I hope you are staying warm and dry inside. I’m hoping for some better weather soon, there’s so much to do outside!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      I know, and it’s going to take a few dry days before I can get anywhere near the soil. I hope you are far enough away from the river CJ, the Severn is looking pretty full.

  30. Cathy January 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    We can’t really be complacent even away from the sea, can we though? How stable is your hillside I wonder, after all the rain? Do take care, Jessica ps you will have done your seed order, then?!!

    • Jessica January 6, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      The hillside is quite free draining, so I hope it’ll be OK. There’s also all the old roots from the cut down trees holding it together. I hope.
      And (ps) it’ll still be raining tomorrow 😉

  31. Linda January 7, 2014 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Oh Jessica…
    I am afraid I am part of that extreme cold from upper North America…
    If it is any consolation….
    Great photos by the way♥

    Linda :o)

    • Jessica January 7, 2014 at 10:28 am - Reply

      Your weather is making headline news here, second only to our own! Keep warm Linda.

  32. nataliescarberry January 7, 2014 at 1:54 am - Reply

    Great photos and I enjoyed the accompanying narrative as usual, but oh my, Jessica, I am so sorry you having such awful weather. Do stay safe and warm. I think we all may be in for a rough winter. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica January 7, 2014 at 10:37 am - Reply

      Hopefully today should see the last of our strong winds, for a while anyway. And then who knows.
      You keep warm too Natalie, and take care.

  33. frayed at the edge January 7, 2014 at 8:24 am - Reply

    It’s not as windy here, but very wet. The rivers in Hawick have been very full, and the Tweed in Melrose on Sunday was scary as it tumbled over the rocks – the noise was tremendous. It’s perfect weather for staying in beside the stove and sewing!

    • Jessica January 7, 2014 at 10:40 am - Reply

      I can’t quite believe that the sun is out this morning, feels wonderful streaming through the window. It won’t last..

  34. Wendy January 7, 2014 at 11:25 am - Reply

    We have rain lashing against the window here now and water everywhere, but nothing as dramatic as those seas. I think I’d be drawn to watching the waves, too – and to see this power of nature (although like you I’d keep some distance away). Keep warm and safe this winter.

    • Jessica January 7, 2014 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      You too Wendy.
      I wonder what the rest of winter will bring, there’s still a lot of it to go!

  35. knitsofacto January 7, 2014 at 11:52 am - Reply

    I never take risks but love to be out and about in wild, windy weather … not everyone’s cup of tea though I know, and the whippets look at me like I’m mad when I set off out in it … if ever there was a breed that preferred snoozing by the fire to exploring the big outdoors it’s a whippet!

    I do hope you are keeping dry and not suffering any weather damage in your lovely garden x

    • Jessica January 7, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      They don’t look as though they carry much in the way of insulation, I think I’d be wanting to be by the fire too if I were a whippet! I had a brief wander outside this afternoon and the garden is looking a bit battered now it has to be said. Nothing a good Spring wouldn’t cure though. Thanks Annie.

  36. Natalie January 7, 2014 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you for risking life and limb to take some great photos for us! I read about some giant wave slamming into the British coast the other day? Sounds crazy! Stay dry!

    • Jessica January 8, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

      There are some spectacular pictures out there, making ours look very tame. But yes, it has been a rough few days for a lot of people. You stay warm!

  37. haggiz January 8, 2014 at 8:29 am - Reply

    I wondered how you were faring, reading that the storms were really bad in your neck of the woods. Was reading today about a place in America called Hell where temperatures reached something ridiculous like -48 … Hell really freezing over! Keep safe and warm, look at some seed catalogues and dream of spring. Julie x

    • Jessica January 8, 2014 at 10:01 am - Reply

      I just read about Hell too. And that’s exactly what I intend to do!

  38. woolythymes January 8, 2014 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    all that stormy weather sure does make fabulous pictures, though!

    • Jessica January 8, 2014 at 11:33 pm - Reply

      Blows all the cobwebs away too!

  39. Helene January 9, 2014 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Great pictures, what don’t we do for our blogs – thanks for braving the weather! We are quite sheltered here in London but even here we have been battered with one storm after the other, the rain has been relentless. Fortunately it seems to be the end of it for now.
    Stay warm and safe!

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Helene. It seems almost springlike today, by comparison. Your garden is looking lovely in spite of the weather!

  40. CherryPie January 9, 2014 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    You endeavors have allowed you to capture some spectacular photographs.

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 12:37 am - Reply

      The wind was so strong it was very difficult to hold the camera still. Thanks Cherie.

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