In September of 2014 I set off from Penzance, with the intention of walking to Lynmouth, where I used to live, around the coast path. I ended up walking to Watchett.
I returned later to walk some more.
I had recently lost two good friends, one to cancer and one in a motorcycle accident.
We all have our “one days…”. Linda’s was to walk the Appalachian trail. Nige wanted to walk the around the Welsh coast.
My one day, since I was a kid and went to Cornwall for the first time was to walk the north Cornish coast. After living in Lynmouth back in the 90’s I tagged the Devon coast onto the end of that walk.
Most people, like Linda and Nige, don’t get a chance to make that one day a reality. In a way I’m lucky, I got laid off and my landlords were complete arseholes, which was an encouragement to change my surroundings.
Life is short and we never know when our time is up, take a chance and do something you have always wanted to, you may not get another opportunity.
Porthostock to Watchett in numbers:
Or just over 11 miles a day. An average of about 1mph during the hours of day light.…
63090 feet up, or 11.95 miles, or just over twice the height of Everest.
15 portions of fish and chips, because they taste better by the sea.
3 nights in hotels, 4 nights sofa surfing and the rest were in the tent.
I could not of done the walk without the help of my friends, a big thank you to the lovely Kaz, without her the first trip would not of been possible, and Emma for helping me out on the second visit. Thanks everyone else for their encouragement along the way. Also thank you to the people behind the website www.southwestcoastpath.com.
I don’t think the walk is over yet, just on hold for a while…..
The coast parts of this walk were lovely, but there is no path for a
long section so I needed to walk down country lanes and main roads to
get back to the coast. I went so far inland I ended up crossing the
Bridgwater to Weston super Mare. A lovely little stroll, I wasn't
planning on walking this far, but I got to Brean and could hear the
bikes on Weston beach, so walked a bit further.
Map is in two sections:
Walking the coast, but not seeing much sea. Again this is not the South West Coast Path, but an extension north. I'm just not ready to commit to changing the title to the Coast Path, as that will take forever to walk. The first part of this was stunning coast views, but then the path goes inland to avoid the nuclear power station because of the work they are doing there. After it rejoins the coast the path leads into the wetlands at Steart Marshes, then follows the river Parrett into Bridgewater, where the first bridge across is.
A short addition to the coast path walk, this is no longer the South West Coast Path, but part of the national coast path route.
Although short this was quite hard going, the path follows the rocky beach for most of this stretch and is only walkable at low tide.
Just a short afternoon walk with my son.
The first section of this was real hard work, a proper rock scramble and cliff to cove hike. Being half term bits of it were busy, but there were still stretches with no people for hours on end. Bliss.
Leaving the acorns of the South West Coast Path behind I started following to seashells of the West Somerset Coast Path.
This was a nice gentle stroll over the pebble beaches and through the woods.
I was planning on stopping at Lynmouth, but the south west coast path finishes at Minehead (well actually it starts there, I walked it backwards).
It was a difficult few days, not because of the terrain, but because I've had manflu, it has been a real battle to put one foot in front of the other (it turned out that the manfluwas actually a chest infection, which explained why it was hard to walk).
The walk into Lynmouth was like walking home, even though I had not lived there for years nothing had changed.
For the first time I was joined on the walk by someone else, Kaz met me at Bossington for the walk into Minehead. Finishing was not the great relief and feeling of accomplishment I thought it would be, in fact I didn't want to stop. But then I don't think I will, even if it isn't soon I'll be walking more of the route.
The first couple of days were easy, the coastal path went inland to Banstaple along the Tarka trail, so it was all flat along the estuary, a rare treat for the coast path.
The stretch from Croyde was fantastic, a real mix of cliffs and beaches, a real treat.
I've always loved Croyde, the wide open beach and the quirky little shops.
I walk down.
And I walk up again.
Ain't nothin' gonna keep me down....
Hard work this stretch.
Really hard work.
From the top of the cliffs to the sea at every river and stream. I'm absolutely shattered and had my first blister. I still have a big cheesy grin on my face. This was probably been the most physically demanding thing I have ever done and one of the most rewarding.
The stretch around Hartland Point was really remote and desolate, it was days between shops. Luckily I was well stocked on noodles.
A really lovely stretch of the coast, high cliffs and tiny beaches.
Some lovely remote places, you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul
Tintagel was like Glastonbury on sea, full of crystal shops and swords.
Boscastle was a rare treat, Kaz met me and whisked me off to a place of pure luxury. Is amazing how wonderful a bath can be.
I certainly never intended to walk this far in one day, but the weather was superb, cool and breezy and the path was easy and flat(ish).
The beaches along the way were stunning and surfers and kiters were out in force.
I always said that fish and chips taste better by the seaside and if anywhere has the best fish and chips it is Padstow. Home of Rick Stein and lots of decent restaurants it also has its fair share of cafes and takeaways. Whilst Steins fish and chips are beyond good they simply do not compare to the little cafe on the harbour, without a doubt the best I have tasted.
Following the acorns.
A bit of a mixed path this one, the cliff tops are a delight, a nice breeze and almost flat paths. However a few miles have been across the sand dunes, a long, hard, tiring slog....
I even took a short cut, the Fern Pit Ferry from one side of the river to the other at Newquay, for the princely sum of £1.20.
These last few days were hard work, its really hot and water on route is limited, I even had to use the emergency filter and drink stream water, but it hasn't seemed to have any bad effects as yet.
After the solitude of the coastal path coming into town was a real jolt to the senses, its loud noisy and brash, but that has always been a part of the appeal of Newquay.
Days 1 to 4, Penzance to St Ives. This has been far harder than I thought it would be, my training walks on the Malvern hills didn't prepare me for this type of walking. Its rocky, steep, slippy paths up and down cliffs. It is also stunningly beautiful every single step of the way. I've spent more time just looking at the view than I have walking.
I'm knackered, sun burnt (or sandblasted by the wind, I can't tell which), my legs ache and my shoulders hurt from the rucksack. And I'm loving it all, I wouldn't change any of it. I've just dumped my bag at a campsite, so I can even have a shower later. It might even be warm water.