Blessed to have naturally inspiring Bay on our doorstep

At sunrise, it's as if the swimmers and paddle boarders are paddling and swimming in a sea of gold

At sunrise, it's as if the swimmers and paddle boarders are paddling and swimming in a sea of gold - Credit: Clare Essam

I am privileged to have lived in Torquay all of my life - and passionate about our naturally inspiring Bay and all it has to offer.

When not at work, I love to walk my dog along our many beautiful coastal paths and beaches, breathing in the beauty of its tranquil scenery, whatever the weather, bringing a sense of vigour and wellbeing.

Although the last 12 months, I know, have been very difficult for everyone, I see more people valuing all the freedom that is around us by taking up new hobbies such as walking, cycling and wild water swimming.

The third lockdown seems to have hit us all harder, with January being a very dark and long month, affecting people's mental health as they haven't been able to get out as much as they would like.

As we are now seeing light at the end of the tunnel, with restrictions easing, and life beginning to return to normal, it seems the sun is also greeting us, and beaconing us into a more positive way ahead, lifting our spirits and hope for a more buoyant year.

Over the last few mornings I have walked down to one of my favourite places with my dog, Alfie, to watch the sunrise over Oddicombe and Babbacombe Beach, walking down the tree-lined road to the beach, listening to the bird song as we walk on by, welcoming in the new day.

Through the trees, glimpses of the sea as dawn is breaking, with our cruise ships standing proud, watching over silently protecting our Bay, seemingly supporting us through this whole pandemic.

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As we arrive on the beach, it's almost as if it's the wrong time of day, with people running into swim, paddle boarding or simply sat witnessing the most beautiful sight of all, the sun popping up from the sea, as if being pulled up by an imaginary string.

As the sun rises and becomes higher in the sky, it's as if the swimmers and paddle boarders are paddling and swimming in a sea of gold, under the sunrise across the water, surrendering themselves to the universe, immerging with a surge of energy and happiness arising from within, energised and so grateful for a beautiful, inspiring, uplifting Bay in which we live.

On leaving the beach, walking back up through the trees, seeing the sun peeping through the trees, enforces the power that nature brings, filling us with so much hope and positivity.

The best things in life are free, and we are blessed to have all of this right on our doorstep.