It’s Steve and Dee and I have to admit that we did not expect such hills and soooo many of them, we now expect to climb a hill at every stage. Thanks to my Redway Runners training I have this year run a half marathon in 1 hour and 46 minutes, yesterday it took me nearly two hours longer to cover about the same distance but check the graphs over the last couple of days for the climbs along with the descents which are often even harder!
By slightly different means Dee decided that the hills and thrills of the coastal path were best covered by taxi leaving Steve to walk / run the 14 miles, which was duly completed in 3 hours 45 minutes. Considering the terrain these early parts of the walk are very difficult however we are in Woolacombe and I even took a picture of the sign cos I was really struggling with the spelling (two o’s or two l’s) well here it is…..
Breakfast served by Cefin who entertained us with his music knowledge and friendly banter. Over breakfast I finally decided that I would tackle today’s walk – face my fears. And I was rewarded with the most stunning views of the journey so far, truly amazing – we walked much closer to the coastline today and although you had to watch your footing all the way – rocky paths and sheer drops to the side – the scenery was inspiring. We came across pretty waterfalls, mountain goats (decided we’ve become mountain goats ourselves!!), cattle, sheep, an array of butterflies, birds and wild flowers – magnificent. The weather was perfect, bright but not too hot – no rain.
In fact I was telling myself that today was my favourite day so far. …. then I took a stumble at the foot of Hangman Cliffs, luckily not too much damage but it shook me up. And then the climb up Great Hangman … even Steve was nervous and later said he kept thinking what would Tom and Alice think of him for bringing me there!? He took my hand and guided and encouraged me up the steep incline and we made it to the top in one piece. Rewarded ourselves with some lovely chocolate at what is the highest sea cliff in England – 1043 feet.
It took the best part of 7 hours to complete today’s walk – even the last downhill part seemed to go on for ever. Seriously question these Coastal Path mileage signs. We checked into another fabulous airbnb – Cranleigh House – vegetarian help yourself breakfast, yoga sessions available, large comfy bedroom, fabulous host – Catherine. Raining again so just crossed the road for dinner – Pack of Cards pub – stunning food – chose pasta for the carbs.
Thanks to: (1) Anne for the walking poles – helped me avoid a more serious accident today. (2) Alli for the emergency ration chocolate. (3) Caroline for introducing me to toe protectors. (4) Lynda for the clothes recommendations – they’ve proved to be perfect. (5) Sarah Jane Bird for the glucose sweets that Steve found in his shorts pocket! (6) Geraldine for the little heart that keeps me inspired. (7) All our family and friends for your support and encouragement). ❤️
So two little walkers set off all bright and breezy on the second day of walking the South West Coastal Path. Relieved the knees, hips, calfs all still up to the challenge. A hearty breakfast set us up for the day – took the bus down the hill into Porlock Weir where we were faced with some steep steps as we started on our journey. Rucksacks felt a little heavier today!! Again lots of scenic walking, woodland and coastline views – such a beautiful part of the country. But boy was this walk tough – this is by far the hardest thing I have EVER done in my life – I had no idea!! Typically British, as with yesterday, we faced all 4 seasons in one day – truly tested the waterproofs and suncream – happy we made good purchases on this score. Again, hill after hill after hill after hill, what goes down definitely goes up in abundance – at times it’s like rock climbing!!
Love is ….. carrying Dee’s rucksack when the going get’s tough ❤️
Took 6 hours to reach Lynmouth, only stopping for water and breath stops + the odd wine gum!! A beautiful town but unfortunately it poured with rain for the entire time we were here. Stayed in a friendly B&B – The Orchard House, again our hosts Yvonne and Jason so accommodating – very kindly offered to drive our rucksacks to tomorrow’s destination (a massive relief). On Pete and Barbara’s recommendation we had dinner at The Rising Sun on the harbour – beautiful food – even though we were falling asleep over our plates!! So another early night. I was feeling anxious about tomorrow’s walk as it says Challenging-Strenuous – decided to sleep on it.
Yes, we actually got started. Nigel kindly dropped us off in Minehead and we set off bright and breezy, passing Steve’s band of followers as we left the town!
An exhilarating walk to say the least, mostly through woodland with odd glimpses of the coastline – didn’t realise such steep hills existed – every time you go down you just know there’s going to be a huge climb around the corner!! Finished off the walk into Porlock Weir along the pebble beach. Took 5 hours to walk the 9 miles (feel sure it was longer than 9 miles) and treated ourselves to a cream tea in beautiful Porlock Weir.
Our Shepherd’s Hut accommodation was in Porlock, another 1 and half miles up the hill … so we headed off, decided to take a public footpath instead of the road … big mistake .. 2 hours later after a mega-steep climb reached our home for the night!!
Tip: (1) Try to get booked into Porlock Weir. (2) Wait the 2 hours for the bus – it’s worth it. (No taxis in Porlock)
Shepherds Hut on Doverhay Farm very bijou!! Charming host Michael made us feel very welcome (cooks a fab breakfast – all produce from his farm). Had dinner in Ship Inn in Porlock and back to the hut for a good night’s sleep.
The hospitality at The Langbury Hotel, Blue Anchor Bay, just couldn’t be any better. Nigel and Paula make you feel so welcome and at home in their beautiful establishment – would highly recommend a stay here if you’re ever in the area. Little touches mean so much www.langbury.co.uk
Walked to Dunster Castle today where there was a Country Fair – stunning venue where we enjoyed horse jumping events, dog shows, ferret racing, craft stalls, jazz bands, pulled pork rolls. Not a drop of cider passed our lips!
Off to Minehead this evening (travelling in by steam train) and going to a Classical Concert evening – Exmoor Music festival. Then back to hotel for a good night’s sleep – yes, we really will start our Coastal Walk tomorrow!!
Safely deposited in Minehead (or actually Blue Anchor Bay) by our gorgeous chaffeur Tom, in his new company BMW.
Accompanied by Geraldine and Caitlin who came along for the ride!! Sadly didn’t get to test the waters as tide ridiculously far out and warnings of sinking sands, so we checked into our very welcoming B&B and did some poolside lounging instead. Nigel, our super friendly landlord informed us that walking the South West Coastal path is the equivalent to climbing Everest three times – that’s calmed the nerves!!
Turned into a calm sunny evening, little walk, pub meal, blog and early to bed. Another resting day tomorrow before we start the big walk on Thursday. No we’re not putting it off – just acclimatising!!