Tales from a Cornish tidal pool

Tales from a Cornish tidal pool

Tidal pools are ideal wild swimming spots, often sheltered from open water, so even on a day when waves are thrashing about in the sea, a rock pool can provide a tranquil alternative.  Only exposed for a few hours either side of low tide, they emerge for a brief time and then gently slip away beneath the incoming tide as if they were never there.  

How did we find this wild swim spot?  Well, it was from months of searching for this gem of a sea pool, with a couple of failed attempts or as I prefer to call them “recces” that we eventually made it into the cool, calm waters of this spectacular tidal pool.  It had been some time since Jay and I had been able to swim together and as it turned out this was the last time for 4 months, and counting, so it was extra special.

The alarm went off at 6am, although I was already awake, with the same sense of anticipation as on Christmas morning.  I made sure all my swim kit was packed and my bottle was filled with hot chocolate.  As we drove along the back roads, darkness was turning to light and the stars quickly fading. 

We parked up and swung on our backpacks; doing a final check to make sure that we had everything, and headed off down the footpath.  As we descended the sea came into view and I felt the butterflies start to flutter in my tummy.  Trudging down the muddy path we got our first glimpse of the tidal pool set back into the rocks.  The next task was to figure out how to get down to it as steep rock faces surrounded it and a sense of fear set in. 

Tidal pool in Cornwall 

After trying various dead end routes, we eventually found one which took us to the edge where we all stood in silence surveying the descent below us.  Jay was the first to start clambering down, followed by shouts from us for him to be careful.  I took a deep breath and began my descent, following Jay's guidance of the best foot placements to use in order to navigate the steep decline.  It was hard to keep an eye on my feet as the rock pool glistened in the rising sun, like a thousand emeralds twinkling invitingly.

Climbing down to the rock pool                                                            

 Photo by Carlota

Finally we were there, and all stood on the edge of the pool trying to calm our breath and take in the sheer beauty before us.  There’s something so special about that moment you arrive at a rock pool,  you feel like the luckiest person alive.

Jay and I quickly got underdressed, stumbling and slipping on the rocks whilst trying to get our trousers off.

Then the moment was upon us, we stood on the edge of the pool, taking deep breaths and preparing ourselves for the shock of the cold water.  In I went, the cold water enveloping my skin like silk, making every hair on my arms stand to attention.  Woooooohoooo!

Photo of a swimmer diving underwater in a rock pool

Having the tidal pool to ourselves we spent our time diving down to the depths and exploring.  Down I went in the crystal clear water, leaving a trail of bubbles behind me and coming up to the surface with a gasp and a feeling of exhilaration like nothing else.  

Photo of Tam and Jay in a tidal pool with the sun of their faces

The sun warmed my face at the surface and it is in moments like these where I wish I was a mermaid, wanting to spend all my time under the water.  When we finally dragged ourselves out of the water (for fear our fingers would fall off from the cold) the sense of awe and achievement was immense, as we finally got to experience this magical rock pool and its underwater wonderland.

For safety reasons we do not reveal the locations of these tidal pools.  Due to their location often being hard to get to and quite treacherous. If you do seek out tidal pools, please do so safely.

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