Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey
  • Day19

    In Transit

    May 22, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    The boots have done their duty and now they get some down time. After 10 walking days, 208 kilometres, many beers earned and quite a few redeemed, they're packed in the suitcase and are ready to switch continents.

    We fly out of Bristol Airport tomorrow and we've booked accommodation at Winford for tonight, very handy to get to the airport in the morning. Our only plan for today is a leisurely pootle in that general direction (approximately 150km) with at least one final cream tea on the way.

    Here's a few pics from our day.
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    Wargren Ventures

    Hope the toe has time to recover now.

    Wargren Ventures

    Maybe both?

    Wargren Ventures

    Great shot!

    Wargren Ventures

    Remind me to not leave my gate open...hold on, we don’t even have a gate. 😖

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  • Day18

    Rest Day #3

    May 21, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Have you ever wondered what happened to the hippies after the end of the psychedelic sixties? We have a partial answer ... a lot of them have retired in Totnes. Described as a historical town with a colourful personality, it certainly delivered on both fronts. We had a relaxing post-walk rest day slowly wandering around the town and eating scones (with clotted cream, of course).

    The town dates back to the 10th century and boasts a large number of attractive heritage listed buildings, including Totnes Castle. The castle is described as a excellent example of a classic Norman motte and bailey castle but the stone keep was rebuilt in the early 1300s so we weren't totally convinced that it was a Norman castle. Perhaps "14th century rebuild and refortification of an earlier castle on this site which itself was a rebuild of the original wooden palisade Norman castle on this site" didn't fit on the advertising brochure.

    The high street is lined with eclectic shops with lots of fairtrade sourced and handmade products, organic skincare and vintage clothing. And there were some rather eccentric locals out 'n' about with their yoga mats tucked under their arms. A very laid-back lifestyle can be found in Totnes.
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    Love that it’s painted yellow. 😊

    Wargren Ventures

    Who knew?

  • Day17

    Walking - Day 10

    May 20, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Today's Route - Dartmouth to Totnes
    Distance - 14.8km by foot, 6.7km by taxi
    Beers Earned - 4.1 for the part we walked
    Weather - Variable and unpredictable

    It's our last UK walking day and we've chosen a trail that will take us away from the coast and up the valley of the Dart River. Yesterday's rain is history but the forecast is for more heading our way later this afternoon.

    After missing out on a ferry ride yesterday we've made up for it today with 2 crossings of the Dart River. The first was from Dartmouth to Kingswear on a vehicle ferry, where Ms OfficeBody scammed a half price fare from the fellow red-head collecting the money. The ferry was literally a floating pontoon which was pushed/ pulled across the river by a small tug boat.

    There were great views of Dartmouth as we followed the railway line along the opposite side of the river before we crossed the tracks and wandered into the woods ... and then the fields ... and then more woods ... and more fields ... before we arrived at Greenway, which was Agatha Christie's holiday home. The house and land is managed by the National Trust.

    Our second river crossing from Greenway was more in keeping with our previous experiences ... a man in a small boat charging an exorbitant fee for his services. This one was the first we've seen with a rate schedule for dogs as well as humans.

    We landed at Dittisham, an almost-too-quaint-to-be-real village, and decided to push on to Cornworthy for lunch at the pub before the weather closed in. The rural walk to Cornworthy on mostly country lanes was not good for the injured toe. Despite strapping, padding and painkillers it does not like hard surfaces at all.

    We, with grumpy toe, arrived at the pub for lunch to find there was no lunch available. New publicans have re-opened the pub only a couple of days ago but the cooking facilities were still being upgraded and the cupboard was bare. With the sore foot comfortably out of its boot and resting on a cushion, we snacked on rations from our backpacks and washed them down with a pint while we watched the clouds dump their contents outside.

    A quick look at the map confirmed the final few kilometres to Totnes were mostly on lanes and hard surfaces. A quick look at Ms OfficeBody's face confirmed she wasn't very impressed with the idea of squishing her foot back into its boot to subject it to an afternoon of extreme ouch-ness. A quick look outside the window of the pub confirmed there was more rain on the way. A quick look online provided the phone number of the local 'taxi' who would be able to pick us up as soon as he'd finished the school run.

    We were happy to wait and have another pint.
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  • Day16

    Walking - Day 9

    May 19, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Today's Route - Beesands to Dartmouth
    Distance - 22.3km
    Beers Earned - 6.2
    Weather - leaky clouds

    It's our last day on the coast path and we were disappointed that there wasn't a ferry crossing this morning. It just didn't feel right ... it was like starting a day without coffee ... or having scones without clotted cream.

    Instead we were presented with a steep up and a sharp down across the headland to reach Torcross, on the edge of Slapton Ley. The Ley is the largest freshwater lake in the south-west and is separated from the sea by a narrow strip of beach and a road. Our walk covered 2.5 totally flat kilometres of the nearly 6km long beach.

    The beach, known as Slapton Sands, is very apparently similar to Utah Beach in Normandy and was used as a practice ground for U.S. troops prior to the WWII Normandy landings. One particular 'rehearsal' exercise (Operation Tiger) resulted in huge loss of life (servicemen, not civilians), partly due to the order to use live ammunition to harden the troops against the sights and sounds of battle.

    There's a recovered DD Sherman 'swimming tank' in Torcross as a tribute to the lost lives. During Operation Tiger the tank disembarked from the landing craft without it's aquatic features properly installed and promptly sank in 65 feet of water. It was found and recovered 40 years later.

    After the flatness of Slapton Sands came a rudely steep zig-zag climb followed by, according to the trail guide, 'several fields which may or may not be filled with cows before traversing a vertiginous dip in the earth's surface'. The fields were not cow-filled when we crossed them but wow, vertiginous was an understatement. It was a traverse that any self respecting mountain goat would avoid ... and it stood between us and lunch. In the absence of a winch there was no option but to clench everything for the descent and flex everything for the reciprocal ascent.

    With our tired bodies sustained by a sandwich from the beach cafe at Blackpool Sands our tired feet took us on some gentle clifftop walking towards the Dart River and our destination, Dartmouth. Unfortunately our good luck with the weather didn't hold and we got caught in a heavy rain shower ... twice.

    Arriving wet and bedraggled, our mission in Dartmouth was to find a pub with an open fire for dinner, a pint and boot drying. With lovely medieval streets and a rich history, Dartmouth is a town worth exploring but not in the rain. We'll take some photos tomorrow.
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  • Day15

    Walking - Day 8

    May 18, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    Today's Route - Salcombe to Beesands
    Distance - 20.8km
    Beers Earned - 6.3
    Weather - cloudy, no head wind, no rain

    Surprise, we started the day with a river crossing. Well, technically it was an estuary but there was a ferry involved which seems to have become our regular morning tradition. This ferry was very civilised ... no boards, bells, yelling, waving, dancing or smoke signals required. Just stand on the little jetty until the boat arrives as it shuttles back and forth across the water.

    Another lovely walk, the weather was kind to us and the English Channel was calm enough that people were water skiing. The beaches along the first stretch are all privately owned but visitors are allowed provided you follow the various rules. Some allow dogs, some don't allow radios, stay on the path, go home by 4.00pm ... different rules determined by different owners for different beaches.

    This part of the coast is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest with an abundance of rare flowers and breeding birds ... or so says the signage. We don't know a rare flower from a more common one so we just took pics of the pretty ones. They're so tiny and delicate, none of them bigger than a fingernail. With the help of some local twitchers (bird watchers) we did see a Cirl Bunting, once wide spread across southern England but now only found in this part of Devon.

    Most of the coast here is rugged and undeveloped but the ascents and descents are much more gentle than on previous days. It's easy to imagine the waves crashing onto the rocks during bad weather and there are quite a few ship wrecks in the area. But today all was calm and gentle, barely a ripple by comparison.

    We spent some time at the site of the lost village of Hallsands in Start Bay. Dredging for shingle on the shoreline in the 1890s ultimately led to the sea wall washing away and the beach level dropped by an estimated 7-12ft. Without these barriers against the tide and storms, the original village was washed away by 1917.

    Our walk finished today in the small seafront village of Beesands ... one street, one pub, one B&B, one pair of tired walkers.
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    Wargren Ventures

    Oooooh - that’s clever! How do you make the photo collage?

    Wargren Ventures

    Great photo!

    Wargren Ventures

    Looks really fascinating.

  • Day14

    Rest Day #2

    May 17, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Today's Route - Limited to local wandering
    Distance - A very low number
    Beers Earned - Perhaps Beers Consumed would be a more relevant stat
    Weather - cloudy and drizzling

    Salcombe is an interesting town ... full of penthouses, holiday homes and hotels. A rich guy built himself a large holiday house here in the mid 1700s, other well-heeled folk followed his lead and large houses were gradually built at all the best viewpoints on the cliffs and shore. Facilities for visitors were much improved by the removal of the noisy, smelly shipyards in the late 1800s and the town slowly evolved into an exclusive holiday resort. The streets are littered with wealthy retirees driving, and very badly parking, incredibly expensive luxury cars. We were tempted to buy some yatching attire to distract from our lack of plummy upper-class accent.

    Other than being a sophisticated pleasure ground for all the Lord Snooty-Bottoms and their friends, Salcombe is nice place for a rest day. We ambled around, learned about the history of the area and poked our noses into a few places before the drizzle set in. We were forced to seek shelter in the pub with the picture window across the estuary. Such a hardship.
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    Wargren Ventures

    Maybe this is a sign that could be added to all the other signs in Japanese toilets?

    Grant Wargren

    It looks edible 😀

    Grant Wargren


  • Day13

    Walking - Day 7

    May 16, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    Today's Route - Bigbury-on-Sea to Salcombe
    Distance - 23.3km
    Beers Earned - 7.2
    Weather - sunny, hazy and very windy

    Similar to yesterday, today's walk started with a river crossing. It was only a short stroll from Bigbury-on-Sea before our steps were halted by the River Avon, the same non-Shakespearean Avon that we encountered when walking across the moor last week. On the moor we crossed it via a clapper bridge but here at the mouth of the river we need a ferry.

    Finding the ferry point was easy but attracting the attention of the ferryman, aka a local guy with a tiny boat, wasn't as simple as the last crossing. The instructions in the trail guide stated "wave and yell" ... so we waved and yelled at nobody in particular ... and someone on the other side eventually waved and yelled something back ... and then we looked blankly at each other and wondered what to do next.

    Many minutes later we spotted someone in a little boat about 60m downstream, waving and possibly yelling. So we waved back, no yelling, and trudged in that direction. There were a couple of other walkers also heading towards the boat from the opposite direction ... safety in numbers, if this guy wasn't the ferryman it would be 4 against 1 to commandeer his vessel. Lucky for him, we didn't need to overpower him and force him to take us across the river ... 5 adults and a dog named Biggles safely crossed the Avon. Money changed hands.

    The first part of the walk was a gently undulating cliff top walk against a 25-30km head wind. Luckily the wind was coming across the water so if it was going to blow us off our feet we'd land further inland rather than being blown off the cliff. Other than the wind, it was a straight-forward stroll to our lunch stop at Outer Hope.

    Leaving Hope Cove the trail took us away from civilisation and the gradients became increasingly severe. The afternoon was a visual feast of high cliffs soaring over mostly inaccessible coves. Lots of ups, lots of downs, lots of zigs and an equal number of zags ... it was a very tiring section.

    We arrived in Salcombe and found our B&B, which was at the top of yet another steep hill. Shower, dinner, sleep ... it's a rest day tomorrow.
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    Is there also an Inner Hope?

    Wargren Ventures



    There is ... Inner and Outer are twin villages nestled in Hope Cove, joined by a footpath (and now a road). So much thatch in one tiny place.

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  • Day12

    Walking - Day 6

    May 15, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Today's Route - Wembury to Bigbury-on-Sea
    Distance - approximately 20km (close enough)
    Beers Earned - Some
    Weather - sunny and windy

    Today we joined the South West Coast Path, England's longest waymarked trail. It stretches for 630 miles (1,000+ km) from Minehead in Somerset, along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, to Poole Harbour in Dorset. We're tackling a measly 52 miles in our next 4 walking days.

    There were 2 rivers to cross on today's route, the first was only a short distance into the walk and the ferry operates seasonally. Lucky for us, it's ferry season but there's no timetable. It operates for a couple of hours in the morning and again in the afternoon so you just arrive at the nominated point and get the attention of the chap in his little boat (aka the ferry). This was easy enough ... there was a board which we dropped to reveal a big white circle. He came to get us when he saw it. All we had to do was close the board again so it was ready for the next person to use.

    The second river was a little trickier ... it's a tidal estuary. If you arrive one hour either side of low tide you can wade across, apparently it's only knee deep but whos knees did they use as the measure ???? Some of us have knees which are closer to the ground than other people !!!

    We didn't have to worry about anyone's knees when we arrived at high tide. Our options were to walk to the nearest bridge (14km, on roads) or arrange a cab to meet us there and drive us around to the other side. No prizes for guessing which option we took but this is why our stats show a distance of approximately 20km. We paused the GPS when we got in the cab and re-started it again when we arrived, with dry knees, on the other side. We should have stopped it completely as our GPS has a dead straight "as the crow flies" line from point A to point B by cab so we've roughly calculated the crow distance and are not claiming it as 'walk distance'. Pity, it would have added a couple of beers to the overall tally.

    Enough about the rivers, we're here for the walk ... and oh my, what a walk. Mile after mile of magnificence. Most of the walk was quiet and isolated but there were a couple of sections with carparks close enough to allow day walkers and their dogs to enjoy the area. Generally we met the dogs on the trail many minutes before the owners came into sight.

    We passed a couple of ruins of signal stations built in the late 1790s to watch for approaching enemy fleets from France. Signal officers would alert neighbouring stations by hoisting semaphore flags up a pole. Assuming the weather was good enough to see the flags, a message would eventually arrive in London faster than by horseback messenger. The flags also warned merchant ships at sea where the French privateers were lurking.

    There were a couple to toe-testing strenuous climbs but wow, the panoramic views were a reward for the effort.

    Another reward was a huge bathtub in our B&B ... leg muscles + soaking in warm water = hiking heaven on earth.
    Ahhhh !!!!!!
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    Poor Marty - 😉

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    Did Mr Fitbody venture down the path regardless?


    Miss the tide and it's called Blurgh Island? Ty

  • Day11

    Walking - Day 5

    May 14, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌬 14 °C

    Today's Route - Ivybridge to Wembury
    Distance - 24.9km
    Beers Earned - 7.1
    Weather - sunny and windy

    We're back on the hoof feeling refreshed after a rest day. The moors are behind us, our bags are full of clean clothes and we're ready to tackle the next part of the walk. With the injured toe firmly buddy-strapped, fortified by painkillers and supported by hiking poles, we set off to earn some beer.

    Destination: The coast

    Today's route can be summarised in one word ... bucolic

    Green meadows, the sound of farmers literally making hay while the sun shines and lots of cows looking very contented. We skirted villages, meandered down narrow paths, crossed through crop fields, avoided the field with the bulls in it, climbed stiles and basked in the sunshine.

    The ups and downs tested the toe and our stockpile of painkillers is significantly lower than when we started this morning but we made it to our destination without further incident.
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  • Day10

    Rest Day #1

    May 13, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Today's Route - Nowhere
    Distance - Nuthin'
    Beers Earned - None but we've plenty in the beer bank

    Ahhh, a rest day ... a lazy start, a big breakfast, plenty of coffee and no real plans for the day (other than the necessity of doing laundry). The soles of our tootsies are enjoying being out of boots and on the couch after yesterday's exposure to very hard surfaces.

    Today's lazy day is timely as we are now carrying our first injury. Ms Office-Body smashed her bare foot into an immovable object last night and has possibly broken her pinky toe. It may just be a nasty sprain ... swelling and bruising can be ambiguous. Regardless, the ouch factor is quite high.

    We did venture out during the afternoon via bus to Plymouth for a late lunch, with the injured toe buddy-strapped to its neighbour in a pair of very comfortable shoes. A slow shuffle around the Barbican area, a nice meal, a couple of pics and then straight back to the couch.

    Hoping for a toe recovery miracle overnight before trying to squish it into a hiking boot tomorrow morning. We did bring the hiking poles with us for when the going gets tough for Ms Office-Body on the really steep sections in the later part of the walk ... they might be brought into service sooner than expected as a walking stick.
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    Wargren Ventures

    Ouch! Hope it’s not broken. 😩

    Grant Wargren

    I hope your toe has not caused you too much pain today


    What rotten luck! Hoping for the miraculous recovery, Take care M & D


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