The walk this coming week from Sidmouth to Poole has been short in the planning but long in the mind. Back in, I think, 2001 my daughter, then aged about 18, and I, backpacked from Lee Abbey (where she was at a summer camp) to St. Ives. The next year she and her then boyfriend and I continued from St. Ives to Plymouth (although she, having just returned from her gap year, dropped out at Gorran Haven). I think it was then in 2003 that I walked alone from Plymouth to Sidmouth, so this last stretch has been waiting ten years for me.
Earlier this year I was asked to review the new edition of Trailblazer's Dorset and South Devon Coast Path by Henry Stedman and Joel Newton for the Backpackers Club. Here was a golden opportunity to finish what is Britain's longest National Trail.
The journey to Sidmouth by trains and buses was easy and I arrived late afternoon, starting walking at 5.15pm. Much of it was quite strenuous, just a taste of many ups and downs to come. I assumed I'd walk until quite late but the weather started to close in. I found a very secluded cliff top spot off the main path overlooking the sea and only managed to get the tarp half pitched before a heavy shower came by. It's a bit breezy but it'll do although there's the odd ant around. Hope there aren't too many.
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