Last year we didn’t get to finish the glorious South West Coastal Path so here we are on it again … and so also, back to blogging.
We did a little bit of the Wales coastal path earlier in the year but other than that we’ve had quite a gap – sorting out some family matters, enjoying the extraordinary summer sunshine and also, setting the house and ourselves up for airbnb guests. All that sorted, we’re now ready to hit the open road again. And this time around we’re squeezing in 9 days of walking before another little overseas trip – we plan to get as far as Abbotsbury in Dorset which means we will have to return to complete the path at a later date.
Yesterday we drove down from Milton Keynes in howling winds and rain, reaching our destination in Bishopsteignton in just over 3 and a half hours. We have checked into the most homely airbnb in this picturesque village and will be here for 5 nights with our fabulous hosts Val and Elaine. We couldn’t possibly feel more at home. We were welcomed with tea and homemade cakes and a lovely chat. They are two extremely creative ladies, and they disappear into their craft rooms where marvellous items evolve – pottery, glasswork, jewellery and quilting – the most wonderful exhibits are displayed around the house.
After a perfect night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast spread, lovingly laid out by Val, we drove into Teignmouth and parked up. From here we caught the bus to Babbacombe which is the point we reached last year. We love it on the Downs there, so much so that we stopped for coffee before starting on today’s trek – some might call it delaying tactics!!
So, walking boots and socks comfortably placed, walking pole in hand, wee rucksack sorted with water, waterproofs, hats, plasters, mints …. all the essentials … off we eagerly set. It seemed funny to be looking out for those acorn coastal path signs again. It wasn’t long before we started facing some pretty steep ascents and descents, just as the guide had promised. We had stunning sea views most of the way though and the weather was beautiful – bright and breezy. Maybe a little more than breezy at points – nearly got windswept down one particular hill – had to hang on to Steve’s hand to save us both flying away!
Along the route today the paths were frequently lined with blueberry and blackberry bushes, as well as something of the ‘red berry’ variety which we don’t quite know the name of. And with today’s winds there was plenty of windfall – so we found ourselves magically walking along a trail of colourful sweet beads of colour – blue, red and black.
There were several places today that offered an ‘alternative route’ to the coastal path and we just knew that alternative would be flatter. But could we take those alternatives? Oh no!! Must be the catholic in me!! So tempting though, knowing you would end up in exactly the same place. We might have missed some of the spectacular views however.
We’ve cut our daily walking schedule right down this year so it was just over 3 hours of walking, covering 7 miles and we sauntered down through woodland into the pretty village of Shaldon. Stopped off for some lunch at the Clipper Cafe (definitely recommend) before making our way to the ferry for a ‘choppy’ crossing over to Teignmouth. As we disembarked, the ferryman indicated that this would be the last crossing of the day due to the high winds brewing – phew!!
This easier approach to our walking day meant that we had plenty of spare time to explore Teignmouth in the afternoon – gorgeous town centre, interesting shops and cafes – we had a sunny stroll along the esplanade and visited the local museum too.
So an amazing first day back on the path. Steve happily settling into his grumbling about the mileage signs and his Strava not registering … oh happy days.