A Travellerspoint blog

SWCP - Day 7 - Instow to Westward Ho!

sunny 20 °C

Steps / distance: 33,066 22.42km
Rating: easy

While it's possible to take a ferry from Instow to Appledore, the ferry is only at high tide. Also, I wanted to stop in the Bideford laundromat on the walk around to Appledore. Very happy to have done so. Nice to have clean clothes; the hour and £8 were worth it.

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Walking around Northam Barrows to Westward Ho! (Always spelled with an exclamation point), the path goes by a combination grazing field and golf course. You can see the golfer swinging behind the grazing lambs.
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I arrived at the hotel in Westward Ho! only to be told 4hat my reservation had been cancelled and the inn was fully booked. I tried to have a conversation with the man but he just kept talking/yelling over me and basically said I should have booking.com refund me 8f, as I claimed, I'd already paid. So I phoned booking.com and they contacted the hotel and, lo and behold, even as the one guy is still yelling at me, another one says they are making up a room for me. So I have a room, which is mostly adequate, although I'll have comments in my review about the shower (only two temperatures - scalding and freezing). Apparently, breakfast will be served from 9-9:30. Whatever.

Anyway, in other news, my ankle is really sore today. I've bought frozen peas and am icing it, but not sure yet what that means for tomorrow. I was hobbling on my way to/from dinner at the Pig and Olive.
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I can't complain about the weather, though. It's really been spectacular so far.

Posted by Deb Godley 18:27 Archived in England Comments (0)

SWCP - Day 6 - Braunton to Instow

sunny 20 °C

Steps / Distance 36,432 24.87km
Rating: easy

Today again was an easy, flat path, called the Tarka trail, a former railway. As such it has the advantage of being completely flat and car-free, but is popular and busy with cyclists. Also, being paved, it was harder on the feet than a dirt or grass path. However, with only 4 hrs (5 with breaks) I arrived at my booked Airbnb by 2pm.

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I stopped at the small museum in Barnstaple for a few minutes tour and toilets
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And there was a military helicopter doing manoeuvres overhead for the last hour or so. It kept going straight up and then straight down, flying high and low.
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I'd only had oranges on my breaks, so I was really hungry by 4ish and headed to the Instow Arms for a great Cajun chicken burger with stilton cheese. Super yummy. Oh, and of course 2 pints of Doom Bar Amber ale to wash it down.
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The view of Instow Beach from my table was an added bonus.
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The weather was perfect; sunny and no wind. A good day in Devon.

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

SWCP - Day 5 - Woolacombe - Braunton

sunny 17 °C

Steps / Distance: 43,107 29.6km
Rating: easy

As planned, after breakfast, my host drove me to my starting point for the day. It was supposed to be Mortehoe, but I didn't notice until it was too late that she'd actually taken me to Woolacombe. So I've unintentionally skipped the Mortehoe to Woolacombe section. While I'd intended to complete the whole Coast Path, I'm not going to obsess over things outside of my control.

So today I walked without my backpack, having left it in the Braunton B&B, where I'm staying again tonight. The path was, for the most part, flat; about half walking on roads in or near towns and half on natural pathways. It was very windy going around Baggy Point and I wished for another layer, but had to just shiver until I rounded the corner and was out of the strongest wind. That's the downside of leaving the pack behind.

Given the proximity to towns, there were lots of walkers today. I walked off and on with Jess from Devon for a couple of hours. Very nice way to pass the time chatting about past and future travels. We've been to quite a few of the same places and she's planning a Camino in 2029. So a fun chat.

Not so many pictures today, given so much time on the roads.
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Saw hang gliders over Baggy Point
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The sign here says: "These bones are all that remains of a large whale that was washed up on Croyde Beach in 1915"
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Passed the beautiful and popular Staunton Beach, filled with hearty waders and paddlers in wetsuits.
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Sometimes the path was so overgrown it was hard to see.
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Despite not having my heavy pack, it was still a tiring day and was nice to arrive before 5pm for an early dinner (microwaved fish pie from the grocery and lovely fresh strawberries). I've spent the evening reading by the fire in the living room of my flat. Very nice and relaxing.

Posted by Deb Godley 17:16 Archived in England Comments (0)

SWCP - Day 4 - Combe Martin to Mortehoe & Braunton

overcast 15 °C

Steps / Distance: 47,230 32.25km
Rating strenuous/ moderate

Today was a long, tough day. After my included breakfast (too much food!), I started off at 9, first to tackle the Great Hangman, which I'd missed yesterday due to the ill-advised shortcut. I estimate that it saved me an hour yesterday and cost me more than two this morning. As a result, I was rushing to try to make my bus to Braunton. Got a bit lost in Ilfracombe and ended up joining the path again at the other side.

Less sun today and a lower temp, but still beautiful. This pony followed me when I climbed the gate and sniffed at my backpack, looking for treats, as I crossed his field.
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I liked this tree with the mix of pink and white flowers.
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When I was past Lee Valley and looking at the time, I realized I wouldn't make it to Woolacombe, but saw a shortcut footpath labeled Mortehoe 1mi, so took that hoping to arrive in time for the 5:25 bus to Braunton.

I missed it by about 10 minutes. I waited in vain for the 6:25, which didn't show and which I belatedly realized didn't go to Braunton; only to Woolacombe.

Feeling exhausted, stranded and a little teary, I walked to the fish&chip shop to ask them to call be a cab. While they were doing so, a couple of very nice guys offered me a ride to Braunton in their converted fire-truck (now a camper-van). They were staying in Croyde and Braunton wasn't too far out of the way.

I texted my husband and told him I had a ride. He jokingly said "too bad you don't have your knife (which I'd left behind because I wanted to carry-on my pack). I told the guys this, so they posed with me when dropping me off.
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My b&b is really nice. It's a full apartment on 2 floors. The owners has offered to drive me in the morning, instead of taking the bus back to where I left off. And, on top of that she brought me a lovely dinner of asparagus soup, salad and bread, with all ingredients local or from her own garden. The honey in the vinaigrette dressing is from their own bees.
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So it was a very nice ending to a tough day. Tomorrow I can walk without the backpack as I'm staying another night here. Looking forward to that.

Posted by Deb Godley 19:10 Archived in England Comments (0)

SWCP - Day 3 - Porlock to Combe Martin

sunny 20 °C

Day 3
Steps / Distance: 42,934, 29.25km
Rating: strenuous

Another beautiful day in paradise. Started with the Poem's walk, where people have posted temporary (on erasable boards) and more permanent poems.
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Lots of ups and downs, but no downhills that were as difficult as yesterday. Happy to see lots of bees in the flowers.
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This is called falling water
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Nice spot for a bench
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Here's me taking a break and a pic of the break spot from a distance further on
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And ending my day at the Pack 'o Cards pub with a Legend Cask Ale. Yummy. Although, not as good as the Doom Bar ale I had earlier.
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Posted by Deb Godley 16:10 Archived in England Comments (0)

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