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SWCP - Day 42 - Brixham to Torquay

rain 18 °C

Steps/ Distance: 25,273 17.23 km
Rating: moderate

It was drizzling rain all morning, but I was mostly in the woods with a protective canopy, so it didn't seem too bad. Then harder rain in the afternoon, so I ducked into a pub to wait for my check in time as I arrived in Torquay before noon. It was an easy and short day, first in the woods and then on the beach promenade and sidewalk of a busy road.

You can see the weather in these pics, Churston Cove and when I emerged from the woods after Elberry Cove.

At Broadsands Beach, you can see dozens of beach sheds, presumably owned or rented. Many have been personalized with multicolored doors. It must be a popular beach, based on the number of sheds, which stretched all the way along. Not so popular on a rainy Friday.

Just before Paignton, Goodrington has a nice beach and a waterslide park. Paignton's Pier reminded me of the Santa Monica Pier, although a lot smaller.

At Hollicombe Beach, I was welcomed to Torquay, home of Agatha Christie. I had hoped to find Fawlty Towers, which was set in Torquay, but no such luck. Even the hotel, which along with its owner, provided the inspiration for the series has been closed and replaced with retirement homes

Near the marina, there's a plaque commemorating the D-Day Embarkation Ramps and the part this part of England played in the invasion. 68 individual "hards" or berths for landing vehicles and ships were built in 1942-1943 all along the coastline from Falmouth to Felixstowe.

I passed Central Church on my way to my airbnb accommodation. Nice looking exterior. Not sure the denomination, but presumably Church of England.PXL_20230630_125140132.jpg

It's been raining all afternoon and evening, but is forecast to clear up tomorrow. I can't complain about my weather luck. I have had unreasonably great weather.

Posted by Deb Godley 17:58 Archived in England Comments (0)

SWCP - Day 41 - Dartmouth to Brixham

overcast 20 °C

Steps / Distance: 35,595 24.3 km
Rating: Strenuous

Oh yeah, it was strenuous. Very steep climbs and drops. Nothing that wasn't manageable, but tough. Have you ever been in a Disney line-up where you can see the line and then after moving forward you turn a corner to find another section of the line, then another until it seems like the line is a life sentence? I had a steep hill like that today. Up and up, then a corner and more up, then through a bush and more up and on and on. Painful! But it was the last uphill, so that helped.

I didn't take many pics along the way. I was too busy with the hills.

Leaving Dartmouth, I saw this Bavarian looking building

The ferry across the Dart to Kingswear was basically a tug boat hauling a car ramp.
So many different ferries.

I had worried about crossing Mansands as the guidebook said sometimes you had to walk around, adding almost an hour. But I needn't have worried. It was too dry for the inland lake to be flowing enough to cause crossing problems.

Six hours after leaving Kingswear, this was a most welcome sight

Then, arriving in Brixham

Very nice place. Picturesque harbour.

Posted by Deb Godley 16:54 Archived in England Comments (0)

SWCP - Day 40 - Slapton to Dartmouth

overcast 20 °C

Steps / Distance: 26,890 18.27 km
Rating: easy, then strenuous

Strenuous, but a short day because I walked on to Slapton yesterday, having been unable to find accommodation in Torcross, which was the halfway point between Salcombe and Dartmouth. With breakfast available on my timetable, I was out of the room by 8am, with leftover fruit for snacks and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.

Passed the Church of St James and its graveyard; most of the stones that I could read were from the wars, but some of them look much older and are now illegible.

Leaving Slapton, I learned from a sign that the town was founded by the Saxons, has a 13th century church, its name means "slippery place", and that, in Nov 1943, 750 families were given 6 weeks notice to pack up all their livestock, crops and belongings and evacuate because the entire area was requisitioned for D-Day training. I'd heard about the D-Day training yesterday, but this added detail.

It looked stormy this morning and the humidity was in the mid 80s, but I didn't see any rain; just sweated a lot.

A few pics of the trail today. The first one looked super steep until I was across the field and realized the trail turned right and downward, rather than the steep upward line I could see. The second one was straight up 🫤

Typical steps - too steep and extra paths around, sometimes with interim footholds to make it easier.

There was a short staircase up to the road and back down again. Once I was back on the path I could see that the stairs were going around a huge uprooted tree trunk and roots.

As I approached Dartmouth, I could see the 13th century Dartmouth Castle - much smaller than I thought it would be. And then passed the backside of it.

Across the harbour is Kingswear, where I will take a ferry tomorrow morning. I liked the colourful buildings. They remind me of towns in the Maritimes.

Some passersby said this used to be a great restaurant. Cool looking building with an advert for flats.

And I popped into St Saviour's Church

All the days over the next week will be longer and more difficult and no luggage transfer possible for the first 4. We'll see how it goes.

Posted by Deb Godley 18:52 Archived in England Comments (0)

SWCP - Day 39 - Salcolme to Slapton

overcast 20 °C

Steps/ Distance: 41,640 28.44 km
Rating: strenuous

Walked today without the backpack thanks to a luggage transfer. Without the pack, I didn't find most of the path strenuous at all. I chatted with others who agreed that the rating seemed high. I think some of the rationale for the higher rating is because of the lack of facilities. Between Salcombe and Beesands (13 miles/5 hrs), there was one port-a-potty and no water. I had another hiker give me water and later begged a lawn care guy, who let me fill up at an outside tap. The guide book has other toilets and seasonal refreshments places listed, but none seemed open. Regardless of the terrain, the lack of facilities made it more difficult. Having said that, there was a lot of easy, flat path in between some difficult rock scrambling parts.
Prawle Point, where you can see some of the Ricky path, ant then a lovely long flat section next to fields.

A fellow hiker pointed out the seasonal home of Kate Bush, who is known for her song Wuthering Heights (which I only knew as a book), and she's apparently well known in the UK. Nice home with a great view, I expect.

At Start Point there's a lighthouse, which was not giving tours today, and a great view. The signpost shows I'm making progress 🙂

Torcross and Slapton were used as D-Day training grounds in WW2. This Sherman tank memorialized the many killed by shelling during Exercise Tiger. You can read out it here: https://www.devonlive.com/news/slapton-beach-exercise-tiger-ww2-1880601
Essentially an error resulted in miscommunication. It was kept secret for 30 years. The official death toll figure of 749 men was far higher than the number killed on the storming of Utah beach on the real D-Day. Tragic.

From Torcross, I walked by Slapton Ley, a relatively easy, but sometimes sandy path. The official path is between the road and the inland water way.

As per usual, I walked UP to my accommodation, which is in an old hotel. They had a fire in 2021 and the kitchen has t been fully repaired, so the do cookouts Thu-Sun.

They've provided enough breakfast in the mini kitchen for snacking tonight, breakfast tomorrow and some take-along snacks.

Posted by Deb Godley 17:01 Archived in England Comments (0)

SWCP - Day 38 - Bigbury-on-sea to Salcolme

semi-overcast 16 °C

Steps / Distance: 31,727 21.65 km
Rating: moderate

I started and ended the day with a ferry. A 15-minute walk from the farm led to Bantham Beach, where the instructions are to ring the bell and wave at the thatched house across the Avon River. At 10am, the ferryman waved back and motioned me to a spot up the beach a little ways. The ride across was less than 10 minutes. He asked me how long I'd been walking and said most of the walkers were between 35 and 45 days in at this point.

The path was not strenuous. I once again found myself skirting a golf course. This one had signs indicating I had to pause and wait when golfers were teeing off. Possibly, just for my protection, but maybe also not to distract them.

At Thurlestone, there's a long bridge, which made me think of all the other spots where a long bridge could have saved a few steps. 🙂

At Palmer's Point lookout I could see almost a week worth of walking, already done

While the path wasn't too steep, there were a few rough spots with sheer cliffs, narrow path and uneven ground. Although the late afternoon temperature hit the low 20's, most of the day it was cool and windy. The wind seemed particularly strong at those sheer cliff spots, which made me glad to have the fencing.

When I reached South Sands, I decided to take the cool Sea Tractor and ferry to Salcolme, avoiding the busy and hilly road alternative. The tractor, pictured, drives up onto the beach, picks up passengers and then transports them out into the water to the ferry.

The Ferry Inn pub had a new ale for me to try.

Posted by Deb Godley 19:17 Archived in England Comments (0)

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