Posts Tagged With: hiking

South West Coast Path: The Checkered Flag is in Sight

We arrived in the touristy town of St. Ives Saturday afternoon.

As pleasant as the above scene looks, Sunday morning brought horrendously strong winds to the area, foiling the plans of any walker in his or her right mind. Our host was kind enough to keep our packs for us until we could catch the afternoon bus to Pendeen, our stop for the night.

The photos really don’t do the wind justice, but trust me, it was howling. Fortunately, St. Ives is home to the Tate, where we wandered through 10 galleries of modern art, pretending to understand what we saw.

St. Ives has a rich history as an artist colony, and in addition to London, is home to one of two Tate museums.
We discovered Geevor Tin Mine, a Cornish Mining World Heritage Site in Pendeen.

The mine closed in 1990, but a museum and underground tour (complete with hard hats), are both available to the public. We skipped past the big ticket items and wandered down to check out the ruins of the original North Levant mine.

Tomorrow we will arrive at Land’s End, our stopping point and the end of our South West Coast Path adventure. We really hope to walk the last section…rain or shine. We’ll see what the morning brings.

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South West Coast Path: Making Memories

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.

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South West Coast Path: Rainy Days and Mondays

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.”

The bus shelter provided a semi-dry spot for lunch.

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.

To be allowed to sit in the restaurant with wine, the server told us we had to have food on the table, but it didn’t have to be a lot.

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

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South West Coast Path: Old Friends and New Friends

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!

The Padstow Harbor.
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South West Coast Path: A Mad Scramble for a Room

We spent two nights in Braunton, where we discovered a bustling town center.

Our restful two nights ended in a flurry of anxiety when I discovered an email last night buried in our junk folder. Our reservation for tonight (Saturday), one that had been confirmed last February, had been canceled! Madly searching for an alternative proved fruitless Friday night, everyplace we called was booked. Finally, this morning, after some determination and creative problem solving, we found an alternative and managed to avoid a night on the park bench.

This morning the path led us out of Braunton, upstream alongside the River Taw to Barnstaple where we stopped for tea, then crossed the river, where we turned and followed the same river back downstream to Instow. Not the most inspiring walk, but the sun was shining and we knew we’d have a roof over our heads at the end of the day.

I suggested we grab a bottle of gas station wine and some KFC from the takeout next to our room. I was tired, but while I was showering Reg made other plans. “We’ll have to walk about a mile, he said, but I found a pub that looks like it might be a little better than Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

I wasn’t eager to make the almost two-mile round trip walk to dinner, but the place was awfully cute and the fish and chips delicious.
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South West Coast Path: So Many Stairs

Sue climbs a flight of the 30,000 stairs on England’s South West Coast Path. No, I did not add a zero. But I am adding as we walk. So far, 2,159 stairs in five days, 64 miles, and 13,200 feet of ascent.

But this is not a story best told by the numbers.

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South West Coast Path: Beach Walks

Walking from Woolacombe to Braunton, we passed long stretches of white sand beaches.
This portion of coastline boasts some popular surfing spots.
We also carefully skirted the perimeter of an active military installation where the popping of gunfire urged us on.
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South West Coast Path: Ups and Downs

A quick pose before we hit the trail.

Day 1 dawned sunny and warm…an ideal start for our South West Coast Path trek. We had a bit of climbing ahead of us, 1,200 feet to be exact, along the shore, up a forested hillside and across green rolling cliff tops where sheep and cattle grazed.

And then we plunged back down to sea level, absolutely straight down. It was a knee-busting descent that left us both wobbly at the bottom. The path has numerous days with climbing far more challenging than today, so this was a bit of a wake up call, and a good reminder for us to pace ourselves. We have many more miles to go.

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South West Coast Path: Endless Anticipation

It has been six months since we sat down with guidebooks, maps and iPads to book the lodgings for our South West Coast Path trek.  At the time, the trip was well in the future so we were fairly relaxed about the plans.  Now that our September start date is just around the corner, the pre-trek jitters are beginning to surface…everything from “Will our backpacks arrive when we do?” to “Can we conquer the endless, daily ups and downs the path demands?”  Mostly, I think, we are simply ready to just get going; to take that first step and announce, “We’re off!”

To get in the spirit and to offer support, we joined the South West Coast Path Association. As a part of our membership, we received a copy of their guide (pictured above) which includes, in addition to the above trail map, details of every aspect of walking England’s longest way-marked footpath.

The entire path is 630 miles, beginning in Minehead, Somerset and following the coastline down and around to Poole Harbour, Dorset. As you might imagine, that is a far too ambitious goal for carryoncouple. If all goes well, we will complete our trek at the most westerly point of mainland England, Land’s End, West Cornwall, 260 miles (give or take) from our Minehead starting point.

We’ll see you soon…on the trail!

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Thank You George Mahood

www.facebook.com/267303656684896/posts/2225309644217611

We were thrilled when author George Mahood posted an enthusiastic shout-out for Reg’s book – Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows on his Facebook page. You can read George’s kind words by clicking the above link.

George has published a handful of books himself, based on his own entertaining and often outrageous adventures. I hope you’ll check them out. Happy reading!

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