Well it’s goodbye for now!!

We’ve been away from home for 62 nights ….. we’ve slept in 44 different beds during that time … so as you can imagine we’re looking forward to a bit of ‘home’ time.  Because of our upcoming overseas trip, we’ve decided to finish off for now in Babbacombe (we will return to complete the path next year) and what a perfect place to spend a few days relaxing – the English Riviera is certainly something special – I could never get bored looking at these views. And you can see all the way round to Portland!! (Weymouth here we come tomorrow) xx


We have walked 485 miles (a little less for me as I skipped a few days … but who’s counting!!?) and we feel a HUGE sense of achievement.  Of course there’ve been ups and downs along the way but mostly ups because the simplicty, tranquility, the sensational views, the personal satisfaction and the meeting people are such reward.  There have been a few times we could easily have given up but luckily we kept each other’s spirits up and focused on a day at a time.  It’s been amazing for Steve and I to spend 24/7 together as our lives are quite independent but we’ve survived it … in fact we may carry on spending lots of time together!!

Staying in airbnb and guest houses across the three counties has been a mixed experience and we have learnt so much – I could write a book (in fact I might well do)!!  An overwhelming surprise was the generosity, in all sorts of ways, of some of the hosts we stayed with along the path, particularly those that gave their time to chat and provide the home comforts we were missing.   There were so many but amongst the special list we would include Nigel and Paula, John and Val, Carol, John and Shirley, Trish, Paul and Gary, Phil, Jo and Michelle and Steve.  We hope to return to see you one day.

We also met other walkers … the normal routine was to exchange the scary stories, compare what you considered to be the trickiest parts, comfort and encourage each other to keep going.  Everyone had their tales to tell.  Annette and Graham we met most regularly, either staying in the same accomodation, bumping into each other along the path or having dinner together – many laughs and stories shared.  We wish them well as they complete the path over the next couple of weeks.  

It’s been hard not to bombard the blog with photos of the stunning coastline (we’ve spent a bit of time on it!!) but thought we’d round off with some of the funnier sights we’ve seen along the journey.





And this is where it all started in Minehead

 

We’re heading down to Weymouth tomorrow for the week to see family and friends and have some chill time (+ Wendy’s Birthday party of course!).   So excited about seeing Tom and Alice at the weekend ❤️ Heading back to Milton Keynes next Sunday or Monday – then it’s countdown for the big overseas trip – we will be away for 6-8 months – all a bit open ended (the beauty of retirement).  Steve is so excited about getting back to his running chums – I hope you’re all ready for the endless stories – you thought it was bad enough before!!

So we wanted to say a BIG thankyou to you all for following our journey, for reading the blog, for your likes and comments – it felt like we had you alongside us … and it helped to keep us going.  Neither of us have ever faced a challenge of this scale before but if we have inspired at least one other person to walk the South West Coastal Path then it will have been worth it.  We will definitely be finishing off the last 10 legs (132 miles) next year when we return from Australia so please feel free to join us.  

We spotted this postcard in a shop recently and felt it summed up the decision we have made about early retirement and heading off for adventure while we can.


So, it’s goodbye from him … and it’s goodbye from me ❤️ Hopefully you’ll join us on our next blog – following our overseas ‘gap year.’  We’ll be back 😊

Oh to be on the English Riveira

Today being Saturday means of course all efforts are directed towards finding a Parkrun somewhere near, Torbay was just the only nomination, although the venue is the Velopark which is situated in Paignton some 10 miles from our hotel and so a taxi was required. Great course for this parkrun being very flat and fairly easy going around the cycle track.


Then down to the serious business for the day, yes breakfast was taken a little late before we embarked on the stroll through from Paignton to Babbacombe in glorious sunshine (rain was forecast for later, what a surprise!).


Walking the SW Coastal Path has been at times a challenge, often through no fault of our own and in particular it seems that the standard of signs along the route varies enormously.  It would appear that whichever authority looks after the Torbay part of the path really has little interest because at times you cannot find one of these little babies anywhere.


Along the promenade stroll today we came across a couple of different forms of transport with the water version looking particularly exciting:-

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Following on from our rather gentle meander along the promenade we then tried to pick the pace up a little as storm clouds were gathering around us, it’s become something of a specialist subject spotting rain clouds on the horizon, see if you can spot one?

So it was with some haste that we made for our accommodation at the lovely Downs Hotel, the rather wicked ones amongst you I’m sure will have a little giggle when I tell you that the rain clouds won the race and we got ourselves another drenching!


On a brighter note before the heavens opened we captured (above) the Imperial Hotel  swimming pool in all its glory along with this fabulous row of cottages, we might need to airbrush the one in the middle, perhaps a job for next weekend?

Ferry ‘cross the River Dart

What better way to start a days walking is there than by not walking, instead a gentle sail across the river to Kingswear got us on our way.

Having made significant efforts over the last few days Mrs R decided on option B (bus) today for the first part of the journey to Brixham which with hindsight was an extremely cunning plan!  Leaving Steve to do the 11 miles first part of the walk, classified as ‘strenuous’ in the guide, it certainly lived up to that description with no less than 7 or 8 big climbs.  The coastal path has a number of different methods of inflicting this punishment on you and today offered a variation of either steps, zig zags and grass / mud banks to clamber up and down whilst also taking in the stunning views on a lovely weather day.

Over the course of the last few days we have enjoyed the South Devon coast line, probably becoming something of a favourite part for us although at times the signs on the path can be very frustrating or more to the point non-existent!  Whist covering the first 10 miles all went swimmingly until just a mile from Brixham the signs vanished and I was left with a choice of three ways to proceed.  Assuming one route was to the beach (make a mistake going downhill and you have an uphill climb to correct the mistake), I then assumed that the left hand path went inland so took the middle option (also flat ground), which went very well for 10 minutes until I entered Brixham by means of a very large housing estate?  I took me a while to sort my location from here and it was certainly not the entrance expected or planned but hey I met with Mrs R for pasty and drink by the Royal Hind.

We then decided that we would continue walking towards either Paignton or Babbacombe where we have the luxury of staying in The Downs Hotel for several nights.  This walk is classified as easy to moderate so it came as a little surprise to find the ups and downs starting almost immediately before the curse of the ‘no signs’ thingy got us again!  This time we had four options to choose and luckily got it right to rejoin the SWCP at Broadsands having we assumed made an earlier error #nosignsnoclueeither.


There’s a brilliant steam railway than runs between Paignton and Kingswear / Dartmouth if you are ever down this way, we of course watched it go by whilst walking.


At this point on getting near to Paignton we had covered some 16 miles and felt that would suffice for the day so took the option of a boat to cross the bay to Torquay and some well earned rest, dinner, beer, wine, beer, wine…..


Today is a very special day especially in the life of walkers with smelly, damp, dirty clothes as we are going to the launderette where a ‘service wash’ is planned (anyone remember those?) oh happy days!

ďťżA mud bath … along the mud path … to Dartmoor

It’s official – we are sick of hills.  Climbed far too many today!! 😩

Spent a lot of last night lying awake listening to the 50 mph winds crashing around the trees which surrounded our Airbnb room – amazing accommodation though and oh so comfortable bed.  We were relieved to wake up this morning to little wind, blue skies and sunshine – result!!  Our lovely host Michelle had been keeping us updated on weather forecasts, particularly in regard to the winds.  I thought I was being a bit wimpy the other day when I dipped out half way but when Caroline told me that someone had been blown off Portland Bill I felt my concerns were justified.  Michelle was able to tell us that the winds should not be a concern today and, believe it or not, there would be no rain for the next 5 days.  

We set off from Torcross full of the joys of ‘autumn’ – looking forward to a bright and breezy day.

The Torcross villagers gathered to say farewell


Our journey started walking the two mile stretch of Torcross Sands – straightforward enough.  We had no sooner reached the end of the beach when the heavens opened – we got absolutely drenched.  My trousers were so rain-soaked I could hardly pick up my legs.  But within 10 minutes the sun was out in full force …. and so the day continued, switching between heavy downpours and full on sunshine.  This unfortunately led to some extremely muddy terrain – we must have walked for a mile at one point in thick mud, there was no avoiding it – going uphill in it was fun, like a mudslide, kids would have loved it.  We had to take it very slowly downhill as you can imagine – how we both stayed upright I don’t know.

Passed some stunning places on our way to Dartmoor including Blackpool Sands, Strete and Stoke Fleming.

Blackpool Sands

Also passed the Land of Pointy Plants!


We met up with Annette and Graham and walked with them for a section and then met another couple who we walked and talked with for a while – so many walking stories to exchange.

As we approached Dartmoor the views were to die for – the sea was so calm and turquoise – would loved to have dived in.

The sea looked so turquoise through the trees


Arrived in Dartmoor in relatively good time, about 2.15pm and the sun was shining – found our accomodation which is a fabulously located self-contained apartment, near to the harbour and shops/restaurants.  After a freshen up we wandered down to the harbour – sat in the sunshine and watched the world go by for an hour or two, very relaxing.  Settled for fish and chips and a cuppa then back to the apartment.



Tomorrow we take this ferry to Kingswear to start the next leg of the journey.

Gates 28 ….. Animals 4

We often comment on the number of gates we walk through each day and also ‘comment’ (as grumpy old people do) on the ratio of gates to grazing animals.  And each gate is different and so needs to be worked out, some push, some pull and they have different types of latches and catches!!  So Steve found himself counting today (think it’s about time we called an end to this trip!!) and there we have it …. we unfastened and walked through 28 gates today and in total we passed 4 fields of grazing animals … and one of them was a solitary horse.

We stayed in a fabulous B&B in Malborough last night, our lovely host Jo really looked after us … and she cooked a delicious vegetarian omelette for breakfast.  So headed off by bus to Salcombe and then by ferry to East Portlesham.

On the ferry from Salcombe to East Portlesham


Farewell Salcombe

So today we had a 12 mile walk from Salcombe to Torcross.  Now every day I set off with a ball of anxiety tightly tucked into my tummy, wondering what lies ahead of me.  The guide today had indicated that it was one of the toughest walks on the path so I was putting on my bravest face.  At least the sun was out and although still some wind, nothing like the 35 mph gusts from yesterday.  It really is the most amazing experience, as you walk along you face a section at a time, literally what you can see ahead of you …. so as you turn a corner it could be a huge climb, a huge flight of steps downwards, a narrow cliffside path, rocks to climb over … and you tackle each challenge as it presents … and once it’s over you feel such a sense of achievement and you move on.  Today there was a fair amount of rock to clamber over and some very close to the edge of the cliff stuff but all in all I loved the walk today …. and really feel proud of myself and Mr. Rose.  As always we were rewarded with stunning coastline scenery – it’s impossible to grow tired of it.

Being so close to the edge of the cliff today and over rocky terrain it was essential to keep our eyes peeled on the ground – so when we got to the lighthouse at Start Point and climbed over the hill to see Start Bay it was an absolute joy.  From there it was a fairly easy track through to Hallsands and Beesands … and we were rewarded with outstanding views.  We also bumped into our fellow walkers, Annette and Graham in Hallsands and walked together to Beesands where we stopped off at the Cricket Arms for a drink.


There was a corker of a hill between Beesands and Torcross – it’s so mean having such a killer at the end of a 6 hour walking day, but it has to be done.  Our host Steve came to collect us as we are staying in Stokenham tonight and what a fabulous Airbnb we have found.   Steve and Michelle have a farm tucked away at the top of a VERY narrow lane just beyond the village.  Our bedroom AND lounge are amazing – we are well and truly comfortable.  Michelle even drove us to the pub and came to collect us as (1) it’s a long walk down a very dark country lane and (2) the rain is well and truly back + 50 mph wind.

Our very comfortable Airbnb in Stokenham

Another day … another ferry …. another town

Had a great stay in Bigbury-on-Sea last night, beautiful accommodation.  We had a loft room with a dormer window and an absolutely stunning view over to Burgh Island with its majestic hotel all lit up.  We were also able to look up to a clear sky with thousands of stars, perfect.

Burgh Island


Set off this morning in extremely windy conditions – literally being pushed sideways when walking on the cliff edge.  Had a two mile walk to get the ferry across the Avon – luckily the boatman turned up as he is apparently a little unreliable.  Travelled over with our new friends Annette and Graham.  



Fairly moderate walking through Thurlestone and on to Hope Cove.  That is in terms of terrain, unfortunately the wind seemed to get stronger and stronger – this made for amazing sea views but did nothing for my anxiety levels!!


Reached Hope Cove by lunchtime and stopped for a quick sandwich.  I dipped out at this stage as the ongoing route was detailed as high rugged cliffs and on this blustery day I preferred the option of a bus ride to Malborough where we were staying tonight.  

Hope Cove – beautiful village and friendly locals

Steve walked on to Salcombe and really enjoyed the spectacular views – felt it was one of his favourite parts of the coastline.  Wind continued but the sun came out and made it more pleasurable …. and he arrived in Salcombe in good time, then bus to Malborough – a pretty little village (more affordable for us to stay than in Salcombe) … and he didn’t get blown over the cliff!!

Been trying this video thing a bit on the phone although at times its soooo windy but I guess you can probably see that!​ 

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Side by side … hand in hand … on a windy walk from Wembury

Enjoyed a day off in Wembury yesterday.  Steve managed to get to a Park Run in Plym Valley and loved being out running again, of course proudly sported his Redway Runners shirt.  Weather a bit hit and miss but we managed to fit a couple of hours in on the beach, some cafe time, very short walk then lots of chilling back at the B&B.  Steve watched some cricket, I caught up on two episodes of Victoria.  Phil, our lovely host, let us use his washing machine and clothes line.  I know I’ve probably mentioned laundry before on this blog but you have to be a walker to appreciate the scale of satisfaction you experience when leaving somewhere with a set of clean clothes, underwear and socks!!


So today’s walk was a 14 mile walk to Bigbury-on-Sea.  It started with a 2 mile walk to the ferry, fairly easy going – the ferry took us across the River Yealm where we then started a 9 mile walk to the River Erme.  There were long stretches of wide open paths so we actually got to walk side by side for a change, even holding hands ❤️  As the day went on however, the wind got stronger and stronger and seemed to come from every direction.  When the paths became narrow and cliffside again, we held hands to minismise the chances of being blown over – two bodyweights seemed better than one.  

Passed some particularly stubborn cows at one point, they were hogging the whole path just by the gate.  Despite Steve’s verbal requests and even some gentle nudging they wouldn’t budge an inch.  We had to step off the path on the cliff slope to get round them.  What is the world coming to!?  Saw this flock of sheep laying right on the edge of the cliff – at least they weren’t in our way.  


We met some other walkers in our B&B last night, Annette and Graham – they were doing this walk today too.  We had done the ferry crossing together and had agreed to meet up at River Erme because we had to undertake a difficult operation there.  We had to wait till within an hour of low tide and wade across the river at a certain point.  By this time the wind was SO strong and the rain coming down fairly heavy too.  The four of us did it together – safety in numbers.  

Wading across the River Erme


Once we had conquered the River Erme wading, we thought it would be an easy 3 miles to our destination in Bigbury-On-Sea…. but oh no, it was an extremely strenuous 5 miles … steep ascents and descents and crazy windy conditions.  Some stunning views though.

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We met up with Annette and Graham again in Challaborough Bay where we had dinner and drinks – and watched the surfers – before heading up the hill to find our B&B in Bigbury-on-Sea – we were all checked in to the same B&B again tonight, appropriately called ‘Summerwinds.’


Bigbury-on-Sea


Plymouth to Wembury … as simple as that!

Stayed in a ‘tired’ B&B in Plymouth last night, sharing a ‘broom cupboard’ shower and toilet with 12 other guests!!  So it wasn’t too much of a wrench to leave this morning, even though, as forecast, the rain and wind were out in full force.  We left wrapped and waterproofed up to battle the elements – John McEnroe ravings sprung to mind – “You cannot be serious!!”  However, as commonly happens in Devon & Cornwall, the sun made an appearance by late morning and all was well.  

One of the toughest parts of the day was getting out of Plymouth – a bridge was closed and we literally went round the houses + the industrial estates, the harbour, the marinas, rivers …. you name it, we went round it …. and finally 6 miles and 2 hours later we found the real coastal path!!  This photo below was taken from Jennycliff (our B&B was just close to the lighthouse) – it was just across the water but we had taken forever to get there.  Tip of the day:  take a ferry!!

On our way we passed a few landmarks …




A great walk today, nothing too strenuous.  Stopped for lunch at Bovisands then straight on to Wembury where we are stopping tonight.  In fact we are stopping here for 2 nights – allowing ourselves a ‘day off’ tomorrow after 10 straight days of walking – we feel it’s well deserved and are very excited about a lie-in (although Steve is thinking about getting to a Park Run)!  If it’s sunny there’s a beach nearby, if it’s thunder and lightening, as forecast, we’ll have a cosy day in … doing our chores and chilling.  

Off to the pub now for dins. 🍷🍺

Farewell Cornwall …. and hello again Devon (South this time)

It was unusually warm at 9.00am this morning as we left Portwrinkle (Cornwall), setting off up the hill on our 13 mile walk to Plymouth (Devon).  The guide had indicated an easy – moderate route and they got that about right – we fully appreciated the lengths of flat walking and shorter ascents and descents along the way, felt we deserved it after the last few days.

Leaving Portwrinkle


From the top of the first hill we were diverted off the coastal path due to the military firing range at Tregantle Fort.  This then involved us walking along roads and some extremely overgrown roadside paths.  So glad I had my full-length walking trousers on – still have that ‘impending doom’ outlook in regards to adders!  We were relieved to reach the end of the diversion and walked down the road alongside the firing range, inquisitively looking through the barriers – they have a real fort to play with!!  I jumped out of my skin however when the firing suddenly started – I’d be useless in a war zone!!  Steve was fascinated and hung around to watch – I scurried down the road as fast as I could.  

Tregantle Fort


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So a beautiful walk along the stretch of Whitsand Bay – a few nasty ascents and descents meandering our way around the holiday chalets that nestle into the cliffs along that coastline.  By now the day had chilled right down which made it more comfortable for walking.  We were surprised to see a number of brave swimmers though, including two skinny-dippers enjoying the waves at the far end of the bay.

We reached Cawsand by lunchtime – pretty little town with twisty cobbled streets and tiny cottages with front doors not made for big fellas!!  As we had gone continental for this morning’s breakfast we treated ourselves to bacon butties and mugs of tea and then set off to finish our path to Plymouth.  

Lots of luscious woodland scenery and stunning gardens walking through Mount Edgecumbe Country Park brought us through to our ferry point.  And so to Plymouth …. and change of county.  




Waiting for the ferry to take us to Plymouth.  Flying the flag for the Redway Runners today.  đŸƒâ¤ď¸

A walk in the park ….. and a night in Portwrinkle

When we were leaving our wonderfully comfortable Polperro B&B this morning, the landlady reassured us that, as we were experienced walkers, today’s 12 mile route would be a ‘walk in the park.’   Well not quite!  

Leaving Polperro


So, having this easier walk in mind, we actually treated ourselves to a few more breaks today.  Coffee in Talland Bay at 10.00am, another clifftop stop at 11.00am to devour some chocolate tea cakes, a mooch around the town of West Looe followed by a picnic lunch stop about an hour out of Looe.  

Coffee break at Talland Bay


West Looe


But it was no surprise that the walk was no picnic – the same old long, steep hills, some seeming to go on forever – when you feel the hill cannot possibly get higher you turn the corner and on up it goes!!  We had some variation today in that many of the hills were tarmac paths and roads, particularly leaving Polperro, Black Rock and Seaton – we had diversions due to crumbling clifftops, private property construction and monkey sanctuaries.  Made a change though and change is as good as a rest.  Rest – what a dream!!  After 6 hours of walking I just wanted to cry when the final hill loomed around the corner – I found a way through it – I thought of a little boy I worked with last academic year who suffered so badly with ADHD – at playtimes I would often keep him calm by marching around the playground with him singing “The Grand Old Duke of York, he had 10,000 men” 🎶 – on repeat!!  Today I thought of (X) with his beautiful smiley face, and sang that song … on repeat …. to get me up that hill.  

So although tiring today, nothing too deadly.  Just one area heavily populated with mountain goats with particularly long curly horns – my brave husband talked ‘goat’ to them all the way through and they kindly vacated the path and found a way to cling to the side of the cliff instead!  

We’re staying in a pub tonight just out of town called The Halfway House – Emily kindly came and picked us up and showed us to our spacious and very comfortable room.  Only have to go downstairs for dinner too – can’t be bad.  

Seaton Beach



Finally arrived in Portwrinkle


And tomorrow we leave Cornwall and head to Plymouth, Devon.