Walking - Day 6May 15 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 !!!!!!Read more