Unless you happen to visit at low tide, the fact that the seaside village of Westward Ho! in Devon once had it's very own pier is easily missed. Designed as a promenade and landing stage, construction commenced in August 1870 and the first seafaring passengers landed the following July. However the power of the North Atlantic had been rather underestimated (or was the strength of their then current construction methods overestimated?) and by October that same year a 150 foot length of the pier had been lost to the sea.
Repairs were duly undertaken and the pier reopened in July 1873 but nature was to have the last word though. In 1880 further damage was sustained at the hand of the sea during a storm and the pier subsequently had to be demolished. All that remains today are the supports you see here which are visible at low tide.
As some readers will know, I am a regular visitor to Westward Ho! and the remains of the pier has been something I have always planned to photograph but surprisingly the right combination of low tide, time of day, weather and lighting etc. for the image I had planned has never coincided with me being there to observe it. One gloomy day during the summer before last I decided the time for waiting was over and took a walk down to the rocks overlooking the pier at low tide. My intention was to make a photograph no matter what the conditions.
As it happens the conditions that day, while not meeting my long standing requirements, turned out to be far from dull and I am quite pleased with the moody result. I had to compromise with my first composition above due to a group of divers bobbing around in the sea just out of frame to the right. I gave up waiting for them to move on and exposed one sheet before packing up and heading off. Needless to say not long after I had walked away they all swam ashore!
By now though I was exploring alternative viewpoints so rather than return to my initial spot I proceeded to set-up for the second image you see here and I was rewarded with some great storm clouds blowing in from the south west.
In case you are wondering what the pier once looked like: