Sunday, 7 April 2013

SWCP Day 4

It was a good pitch last night in Embelle Wood. Underneath trees with a grass covered network of thin raised roots but not too bad. I lay down on it before pitching to make sure it would be reasonably comfortable. During the evening, I heard the squawk of an approaching pheasant and then a squawk of alarm as it veered away. I was in the only clearing, obviously Pheasant Aerodrome. Later, without warning of its approach, there was a flurry of wings when a pheasant came in to land and saw me and careered upwards. After that, I wasn't disturbed. I could see lights on the Welsh coast from where I lay.

It got a bit windy in the night but later calmed down and I was awake shortly after 6. The sky in the east was a vivid red so maybe the rain forecast for tomorrow may arrive today. I packed waterproofs at the top of my pack! I was away at 7.30 and had the wooded path to myself all the way to Porlock Weir where I stopped for coffee at the Ship Inn. On the way, two young deer crossed the path just ahead of me and I called in at Culbone church, tucked away in the wood. Most of the headstones were of members of the Red family, including Ethel Red (really).


 After Porlock Weir there was a flat walk on field paths to Bossington and then a long climb up towards Selworthy Beacon. I took the "rugged" SWCP alternative here but kept the sea views. Then a descent through woodland into Minehead.

A good few days. Great walking weather and no rain.
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Saturday, 6 April 2013

SWCP Day 3

Had a good night's sleep. I was in a sheltered spot with just a few sheep nearby, although last evening I'd seen two Exmoor ponies and three deer.

Elwill Bay
I was away by 7.10. The sun was bright and there were no clouds. It was a lovely walk along East Cleeve and then the descent to Heddon's Mouth and up the other side. Hat and gloves came off at the top as the day was warming up. Such a change from the recent cold weather.

The café just before Lee Abbey was closed so I stopped and brewed tea in the grassy car park. Then on via the Valley of Rocks into Lynton and down to Lynmouth for a pasty.

On the path up to Countisbury I met my first "thru hiker", doing the complete SWCP from Minehead to Poole, although he was using B&Bs. He'd done it last year as well but the other way. A while further on I met some others, just doing a section of the walk (like me), heading for their B&Bs in Lynton.

I detoured off the path to go round by the lighthouse at Foreland Point. The path to it was very poor in places due to scree falls but there was a warning sign.

Lighthouse at Foreland Point

I then rejoined the CP intermittently in and out of woodland. Much of the vegetation was almost tropical. It was a warm sunny evening, just perfect and I could happily have walked for longer. My pitch for the night was one that I'd heard of. I had a grid reference but unfortunately no GPS with me. However, with a bit of care, I found it or, at least, a decent pitch beneath trees just up from a stream. The birds are singing, food is cooking. Life is sweet.

Embelle Wood
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SWCP Day 2

Last night was very windy. Using the tarp, I had it pitched low as I was in quite an exposed spot. Unfortunately, the wind buffeted the tarp all night and the tarp buffeted me! I got a fair amount of sleep but woke every hour or so.

I was away by 7.20 and headed for Woolacombe. It was still very windy but the early sun started to warm me up. The 24 hour loos in Woolacombe were shut! I got some lunch from the Londis store and stopped for second breakfast overlooking Woolacombe Sands.

Woolacombe Sand

Grunta Beach

Then on to Morte Point which was just lovely. Turning the corner I was now facing east and out of the sun. The path went by Bull Point lighthouse and on to Lee where I stopped for a pint and crisps at the Grampus Inn.

The path to Morte Point

Morte Point

After that it was a good sunny walk into Ilfracombe which was quite busy with holidaymakers. I didn't stay long. I continued on to Watermouth, Berrynarbor and then Combe Martin, passing straight through. The path skirted Little Hangman and over Great Hangman and then dropped down very steeply into Sherrycombe. Here I collected water from the stream and pitched at 7.40pm a little way up the hill on the other side shortly before dark.

Above Sherrycombe
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Thursday, 4 April 2013

SWCP Day 1

Just a half day. I came through Croyde, full of surf shops, and on to Baggy Point.

Saunton Sands

Around 5.30 I gave some thought to where to pitch for the night. The clocks having gone forward last weekend, I wasn't sure how much daylight I had left. Looking at the map, I had about a mile to get down to the south end of Woolacombe Sand, then about two miles above the beach to Woolacombe and maybe two miles more to just before Lee where I knew there were some wild pitches. However, I reckoned I'd run out of daylight and there didn't seem to be anywhere before Lee. So, I'm not far from Baggy Point, in the lee of a wall with fine views across to Lundy Island and the occasional company of some nosy sheep and lambs but they'll soon lose interest in me. It's a very pleasant evening, sunny but a bit breezy. Not that cold.

Camp near Baggy Point

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South West Coast Path

It's good to be out again. Three days or so on the SWCP from Braunton to Minehead. It's not raining, which is nice. There was quite a chill wind when I was dropped off but it's fine and I've warmed up nicely. Will now walk for a few hours before finding somewhere to pitch. More later.
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