Posted by: Rose | September 30, 2013

Pointy

Bull Point, Morte Point, Baggy Point and just generally pointy rocks. That’s a lot of pointy.

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Morte Point

The northwest tip of Devon is made up of the Morte Slates Formation, a series of muds, silts and sands laid down at the bottom of a shallow sea. They were deposited a mere 359-385 million years ago, during the Devonion period (incidentally Devon is the only British county that gives its name to an internationally recognised geological time period!). At this time, Britain was part of the super-continent Pangaea, located somewhere just south of the equator.

A 100 million years or so later, compression of the tectonic plates created fold mountains and turned these sediments into slates. The compression of the clay minerals caused them to align and create cleavage (no sniggers, I’ve heard it all before). This basically means that the rock now has a weakness and easily splits into layers; a weakness that is easily exploited by the sea that currently pounds the North Devon coastline.

It just happens that the cleavage around Morte Point is very steeply inclined and so erosion creates narrow gullies between the cliffs and the open ocean. These gullies are perfect rock-hopping territory for a keen sea kayaker with a plastic boat (or a well-off kayaker with a fibreglass boat). If you are especially talented you can create a kayak see-saw on the top of a rock….

If you add a little sunshine, a gentle play in Morte races, good company and the obligatory slog into the wind, you get a very pleasant day out.

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Steeply inclined cleavage

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Morte Point

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Morte and Bull Point

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Looking Woolacombe way…

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A mellow Morte Point tide race, on neaps

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Morte race and Baggy Point

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Bull Point lighthouse, and Lundy. Photo not taken from a sea kayak!

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Morte Point on a somewhat less gentle day

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Responses

  1. Liking your cleavage.

    • Thanks, I try my best.

  2. […] was the existing rock that the granite magma forced its way into. You can see the Morte Slates Formation when you land on the island and head up the track (to the pub!). The point where the granite and […]


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