The 14th Day began with weather warnings for heavy rain. But the sky looked OK as we had breakfast. By the time we were ready to leave Padstow the rain had started so on went the wet weather gear and we made our way up the path to StepperPoint and the 13.5 miles to Porthcothan.
A large storm hit us not long into the walk and we had heavy rain that lashed down for about an hour with thunder and lightening. A real test for the boots and waterproofs.
We had some brief shelter when we reached a round tower and two other walkers joined us for a few minutes rest before we carried on to Trevone Bay for a hot tea. The storm had passed by the time we had finished our drink but it was still raining and although the path was easygoing in terms of climbs and descents, the rain made hard going at times and slowed our progress.
When we got to Harlyn Bay, Fluff’s daughter Annie and her two dogs, joined us for the afternoon walk and the weather improved with strong sunshine for the last few miles.>
We rounded Trevose Head and saw the impressive bays with some surfers. Another stop at the YHA at Treyarnon for refreshments and then along the coast to reach Porthcothan where we were met by Linda, Mary, Steph, Esther and Gill. The final walk was the of course up a hill for about a mile to reach Old Macdonald’s Farm for the night.
In the evening the whole group went for dinner at the local pub to go through the stories and pictures from the two weeks which seemed to have flown by.
Dave Hedges and Mollie the dog joined us at breakfast time this morning, so the original 7 men and a dog were back together. They will be walking with us until the end of the walk on Friday.
We set off just after 9.30 leaving Port Isaac up the hill past Doc Martin’s house on our way to the first checkpoint at Port Quin. The first 5 or 6 miles were reportedly the hardest of the walk with some steep sided valleys but became easier as the morning went on. Weather was fine to start despite a concerning forecast but we did need wet weather gear at times.
We made good progress despite one of us stopping for a bath!
We didn’t really stop for lunch but we did stop at Polzeath Bay for a mug of tea before we made our way to Rock to catch the ferry to Padstow and our base for the night at the Metropole. On our way along the beach to Rock we were ambushed by two women hiding in the dunes – Steph and Fluff’s sister Gill had walked along the path to meet us and see us over to Padstow before they headed back to their caravan. They will be with us again tomorrow when Linda and Mary arrive for the final evening.
Fluff has a reputation for finding things and told me that before the walk he had found a Tilley hat. I said I would like one and could he find one for me on the walk. I even asked for a green hat. Tuesday I came down to breakfast to be. Presented with a wrapped parcel containing a Tilly like hat found the day before in green – another amazing finding feat!
The. Team are also apparently impressed by my small gaiters so here they are by popular request – no more fashion advice from me ever again.
We had our breakfast in the Riverside Hotel watching the rain beat down and discussing the start time and the types of wet weather gear to be used or carried. As we got ready to leave, the rain stopped and the sky brightened so the first few miles was dry as climbed out of Boscastle and made our way to Tintagel, our first target stop of the 13 miles of today.
At Manor House we took the wrong path, thanks to a missing sign, but soon realised our error and backtracked, and came across Ladies Window, a natural archway overlooking an inaccessible cove.
We made out way towards the castle at Tintagel and stopped for some tea before going uphill to pass the Church on the top of the headland and which can be seen for miles.
Our next target was Strand, a small bay with some surf shops and a tea shop where we planned to have a lunch stop. As we arrives it started raining so it was an ideal time to stop.
As we climbed out Strand the rain started in earnest and we had to put on full rain gear – on top of an exposed cliff with a strong wind – quite a challenge. The rain kept up for about a couple of hours , just as we had to go through the stretch with the most descents and ascents. The rain slowed us down and stopped the photography, as it was a case of head down and slogging away to reach Port Isaac, or Portwenn as it’s known in Doc Martin. We are staying at The Old School House Hotel which is the school in the TV series.
We got to our stop about 6.30 and. Spent a while sorting wet gear and boots before we went into the village for a meal with Esther, Adam, Jan and Peter who had joined us for the evening.
Near the end now, with Padstow the destination for tomorrow.
Today was definitely the hardest day of the two weeks! 16.5 miles wit a total ascent of 5100 feet. Over the two days we have walked 32 miles with a total ascent of 9300 feet, or to put in perspective 3 Snowdens.
Today was the second longest at 15.5 miles and comes the day before the longest walk! We left the hotel after an early breakfast and said goodbye to Chris and Sue who were going back to Sidmouth. Barry was joining us for today’s walk and Michelle was going to meet us at Bude.
The walk climbed to the cliff tops straight away and for the first 5 miles or so was a reasonable walk along the edge through fields on a well. Raked path with excellent views of what must be one of the most impressive parts of the UK coastline. We tried to make as much progress as possible and kept up a good pace until our first stop at Welcome Mouth Bay which was a popular stop for both walkers and campers.
From Welcome Mouth the path climbs and the descends through a number of bays which tested the legs, before our next stop at Vicarage Cliff where Parson Hawker built a hut from driftwood now maintained by the National Trust, for writing his poetry.
The climbs and descents carried on until we reached the radar station ear Lower Sharpnose Point where it levelled out for a while. We had found the going challenging at times up narrow steep rocky paths, only to be overtaken TWICE by a young couple with. A backpack each plus a baby in a pram which they carries between them.
We also saw some climbers on the cliffs (see if you can spot one).
We eventually started to see Bude In the distance and kept to the guideline of taking 8 hours for the days walk.
Dave’s family, Gill Chris and baby Adam were there to welcome us in and later Brian’s daughter Esther met us for dinner.
Nobody was up for a late night and we were all back at the B&B by 9.30 to prepare for the walk to Boscastle tomorrow.
PS. Just to answer some comments and queries, there has only been one cream tea on the whole trip to date! BUT we are now in Cornwall so clotted cream here we come!
An “easy” 10 .5 miles today as welcomed friends from the Sidmouth Strollers, Chris, Sue, Barry and Michelle who joined us for the walk to Hartland Quay.
Once out of the village it was a steady climb to Gallantry Bower through mature woodland as we made our way to Windbury Point, with some damp weather but not too much rain, and we could look back to Blackchurch Rock. Having made a couple of climbs, the path levels out for a few miles before we made Hartland Point where we came across a tea stop and helicopter rides going out to Lundy.
After Hartland Point the path made some climbs and descents but gave some views of the dramatics rock formations on the coast. From here we could see the Hartland Quay Hotel perched on the Cliff edge which was to be our base for the night, about an hours walk away
We checked in, planned the next days walk and obviously went straight to bed to prepare for one of the big walks tomorrow- 15 miles to Bude (we may have had some food and a few drinks first).
After a good evening (and meal!) in Westward Ho! It was back to the ups and downs of the coastal path today with 11 miles to go to Clovelly.
The path initially follows the WH to Bideford railway before becoming a cliff top walk to Green Cliff and on to Westacott Cliff with sightings of Buck Mills and Clovelly in the distance.
At Westacott the path changes as it goes through Willow, Hawthorne and Hazeland continues as a wooded path until we reached Peppercombe Castle where we went briefly inland before returning to the cliffedge and made our way to Bucks Mill where we stopped for a fresh cup of Tea and some photos. Bucks Mill has a couple of substantial lime kilns from the days when Welsh limestone was brought in for processing.
After a brief rest we continued through woodlands before emerging into fields. We eventually joined The Hobby Drive. A road way built in Napoleonic prisoners and followed this through pheasant. Reeding grounds until we came to the visitor centre at the topof Clovelly. We descended via the. Cobbled street until we got to our evening stop the New Hall Inn then we checked in and made our way down for more phot opportunities in one of the country’s picturesque villages.
Tomorrow sees us move on to Hartland Quay before we have two long days over Sunday and Monday.
A grey start to the day as we left The Wayfairer after breakfast.
There was an immediate choice of following the path down the estuary or taking the ferry to Appledore and going on to Westward Ho! We spilt into two again here with a couple taking the ferry route and the others following the banks of the Torridge out of Instow along the old railway track like yesterday on what is known as the Tarka Trail. You leave Instow through the old station past the signal box and follow the river until you get to Bideford.
Here we crossed the Torridge via the old stone bridge and again kept close to the riverbank as headed back towards the estuary and the village of Appledore some 3 miles away.
Appledore is an attractive fishing village with a few local shops and bars and good views back to Instow. We went through the village and followed the path to Northampton Burrows Country Park, a peninsular which has the Royal North Devon Golf Club which is the oldest golf course in the country.
Following the edge of the golf course we turned south and headed to Westward Ho! And our base for the night Culloden House. The first weeks walking completed with a total of 88 miles done and about 100 to do next week. Another day of around 11 miles tomorrow as we get back to the ups and downs of the coast on our way to Clovelly
Today was a very straight forward route march. 13 miles mostly along the old Barnstaple to Ilfracombe Railway now part of the Tarka Trail and cycle route so dodging bikes became the sport of the day.
We started from Thelma’s B&B, The Laurels after breakfast and joined the path just outside the centre of Braunton. It was probably the least interesting day with highlights being the stop at the rail station at Barnstaple before we carried on along the old railway until we got to Instow which is a quaint little fishing village on the Taw estuary.
We met some locals at our B&B – and had long conversations with the undercover C.I.D-ask when we get back.
The day started with breakfast in a 60’s diner – the dining room at The Rocks Hotel was a real surprise as we went in to start the day!
We left Martin & Wendy’s at 9.30 and made our way to the beach to walk the first few miles along Woolacombe Bay watching the surfers as we went in the bright morning sun.
At the end of the beach we had a choice and decided to split into two groups, one following the path around Bagley Point and the other following the path across the peninsular to Croyde.
At Croyde the paths rejoined, again following the beach, and along wooded paths until we reached Ministry of Defense land at Braunton Burrows, used for live firing some 30 days a year,which was a long stoney path which seemed to go on forever.
After running the risk of being involved in military exercises, we reached the estuary of the River Taw which we followed on a raised dyke path through marshland meadows until we arrived at the edge of Braunton. We came across a place called Tbe George where we held a review of the day and a planning meeting for tomorrow before we made our way through the town to The Laurels where Thelma welcomed us with pots of tea and good advice on where to eat.
Tomorrow sees us on the road following an estuary path around Barnstaple to Instow.