When MBY editor Hugo suggested I follow up my Secret Cornwall features with a similar project in Devon,  I wasn’t convinced I could find a sufficient number of hidden backwaters.

Outside of the Solent, Devon has the largest quantity of boating centres on the south coast.

Plymouth, Salcombe, Dartmouth, Brixham, Torquay… Probably well over 10,000 boats are based along the county’s coastline. How in the height of summer was I going to find quiet locations where other boat owners didn’t venture?

Anyway, I regularly visit Devon, and think that I know it pretty well. A quiet evening pint of Palmers on the terrace of Salcombe’s Ferry Inn before pizza at Captain Flint’s is one of my favourite weekend getaways, and over the years I’ve spent time in every harbour along the coast. I blithely assumed there would be no surprises. How wrong I was.

Though no secret, it always surprises me how few boats ever venture out to the Eddystone Lighthouse. The occasional dive boat and angling charters perhaps, but most other boats stay well clear, scared off by the infamous shoal of rocks on which it is built.

For me, the lighthouse always marks either the beginning or the end of a voyage. It’s the milestone between Cornish and Devonshire waters and whenever the seas are calm enough, I will inch between the rocks and switch off the engines to soak up the magic of this mystical place, listen to the birds and watch the seals.

I marvel at the skills of the Victorian engineers and labourers who worked to build a tower here that has withstood almost 150 years of the worst that the sea can throw against it.

Read the full feature in MBY May 2018.