There are so many more memories to capture beyond the beautiful scenery of the South West Coast Path. Here are a few of our favorites.
We expected rain, but today was a beautiful day for a walk.
We tried to walk yesterday…we really did. We left our B&B at 9:00 in the morning under gray skies and threat of rain and strong winds. After a quick stop to pick up lunch at the local SPAR store, we left Padstow, wishing we could have spent more time poking around the upscale harbor town.
By 10:30, we were sipping tea at the Trevone Beach cafe, cold, wet and frustrated that Mother Nature had whisked away our beautiful weather. We had a nice chat with an older couple who were traveling in their camper van. As he told story after story of his exploits, swimming, hiking and mountain biking, she would continually remind him, “That was 40 years ago.”
We eventually decided our best option was to catch the bus back to Padstow where we could relax with a nice glass of wine while waiting for a later bus to drop us at our next lodging. As we watched to flag our bus down, our friends in their camper van drove past, tooting and waving.
It was a long crazy day, but we eventually made it to Old McDonalds Farm, where our room awaited. Many thanks to the Atlantic Coaster – bus line A5
We enjoyed a spectacular afternoon today with our friend Ian, who just happened to be on holiday, visiting with longtime friend Julie and her family in the big white house pictured above. The photo on the right is the view from the front room. A gorgeous setting that is situated right along the South West Coast Path.
We took a short walk to Polzeath Beach, a popular surfing beach. Then, Julie treated us to a delicious home cooked mid-day meal, a wonderful treat after 2 weeks on the trail. We felt terribly spoiled as Ian later drove us (through the pouring rain) to our B&B in Padstow. A great big thank you to Ian, Julie and her family for sharing the afternoon with us!
Today we arrived in the fictional village of Port Wenn, home to everyone’s favorite television doctor, Doc Martin. It’s been awhile since we’ve watched the show, but we remembered enough to have a sense of having been here before.
In reality, we are settled for the night in Port Isaac, home to the many scenes and location shots of the long-running series. It’s given this little port village quite a tourism boost. Our B&B host told us that locals can donate a certain sum to charity for the opportunity to appear as an extra on the show.
For as bustling a village as Port Wenn is, Port Isaac rolls up the sidewalks when the sun goes down, returning to its quiet coastal village roots.
Another beautiful day greeted us as we set off to our next stop – Crackington Haven. With a short 10 mile walk, we hoped for an early arrival, allowing us to do some much needed laundry. We zipped along at a pretty fair clip for most of the morning until the rolling green fields gave way to the all too familiar ups and downs.
What we did know about today’s trail was that, at the end of the day, it would lead us to a reunion with our dear friend Ian, whom we met several years ago while walking the Camino de Santiago. He’d booked a room in our Crackington Haven hotel, driven from his Oxford home and met us on the trail, lifting our spirits and escorting us down to where a cold drink and a hot shower awaited.
Views from Wednesday’s walk from Hartland Quay to Bude on England’s South West Coast Path. The tough going has its rewards, indeed.
We hit the trail at 7:30 this morning in anticipation of what our guidebook described as “one of the hardest days of the path.” We left Hartland Quay just as the sun was rising, and set our sights on Bude, 15 miles away.
We continued on, racking up a total of 10 major descents, crossing creeks that flowed into the ocean. For every drop in elevation, the path climbed right back up the other side of the ravine, leaving us huffing and puffing most of the day.
At the end of the day, according to our guidebook, we had conquered 4,500 feet of ascent… and as everyone knows, what goes up, must come down! The math makes my feet hurt. We have never, on any of our treks, experienced such elevation gain and loss in any one day. But we did it today, and now that this day is nearly behind us, we will sleep well, hoping that this was the hardest day for us.
The weather? Tuesday was brilliant, our third such day. Two days of rain, others were overcast, sometimes drippy.
Forest or pasture? We left the forest behind at midday Tuesday and had wide-open views of pastures, farms, cliffs, the ocean. Forest walking is not our cup of tea…climbing on a drippy forest trail is not much fun. The same climb out in the open seems so much easier.
Language? Everyone so far speaks English, making for fun conversations over breakfast, in the pubs, or on the trail. No sign language required.
Laundromats? Are you kidding? We wash, rinse, squeeze in a towel, and hang our moisture-wicking clothes. One B&B host offered to do our laundry, though! Perhaps she was hoping to get rid if the odor.
Speedy? As usual, Sue zips up the hills and I struggle to keep up. But we agree steep uphill is less worrisome than steep downhills, where one slip-up can be disastrous.
After a grueling trekking day of steep, slippery ups and downs punctuated by more than 1,370 stairs, we found our accommodation in Clovelly after a walk down a cobblestone way too steep for vehicles.
How do they get supplies to the pub where we are about to have dinner? They slide them on sledges. And the bottles of Southern Comfort I am sipping? Same way.
Now, the question of the day: How will we make it back up in the morning with our backpacks?