Wednesday, 27 September 2017

When Time Stands Still

Day Forty Four - Seaton to Lyme Regis 11.0 km (6.8 miles).
Time on route 3:00hrs, walking time 3:00hrs.

Saturday 23 September 2017
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 01.21.43
The first memorable thing that happened today was that my watch broke at Seaton. So for the first time ever on the path I was walking time-blind (I keep my phone in my rucksack for emergency use only when I'm walking).
20170923 1_Seaton 18.42
I left Seaton and walked over Axmouth Bridge. This listed bridge, built in 1877, is the oldest concrete bridge in the UK, but built to emulate a masonry bridge.
20170923 2_Axmouth Bridge 4.14
Axmouth Harbour.
20170923 2_Axmouth Harbour
Up past Axmouth golf course, the path turned down a muddy path (I was to experience a lot of mud this day).
20170923 3_Path
Initially the going was open and I walked over the Downlands Cliffs and Landslips. This particular area is called Goat Island which was caused by the Bindon landslide of 1839.  It was so famous in its day that Queen Victoria herself came to view it.
20170923 4_Dowlands Cliffs
Not knowing how fast I was walking was strange.  Stranger still was the route: a 10 km trek through the Undercliff National Nature Reserve. 10 km of sticky slippery mud and few way markers to measure one's progress. So I just trogged along the path in a timeless state, skidding occasionally and once falling right over and ending up in the mud.  Not my finest hour.
20170923 5_Whitlands Cliff
10 km later I emerged and pretty soon afterwards so did Lyme Regis.  It was a sunny Saturday and the promenade was full of tourists in shorts and t-shirts.  I looked very out of place in my muddy clothes and clodded boots.
20170923 7_Lyme Regis 23.10
I was early enough into Lyme Regis that I ate my lunch there overlooking the River Lym, before catching the bus back to Seaton.  Oh, and I'm now in Dorset by the way.  My 4th county.
20170923 7_Lyme Regis 52.16
There was a lot of de-muddying to do once home...

Changing Times on the Coast Path

Day Forty Three - Sidmouth to Seaton 16.7 km (10.4 miles).
Time on route 4:40hrs, walking time 4:20hrs.

Friday 22 September 2017
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 01.10.17
I fancied a two day'er but as my back/knees are a little fragile I decided not to overdo the distances for the next two legs.  I drove down to Seaton and caught the bus back to Sidmouth to begin.  Ooh, I hadn't spotted this mural before at Sidmouth Triangle.  Bet that's them peddling up Peak Hill.
20170922 1_Sidmouth 25.58
I set off along the promenade, dodging dawdling holiday makers and ascended the cliffs.
20170922 1_Sidmouth 30.56
As ever, such wonderful views from the top back towards Sidmouth, and a chance to catch one's breath.
20170922 2_Looking back towards Sidmouth
The whole of today's walk was labelled "severe/strenuous" in the guide book and it certainly was hard work initially.  This photo doesn't capture the sheer drop and climb ahead of me.
20170922 3_Salcombe Mouth
After another climb it was a sharp descent to Weston Mouth, and a satisfying crunch across the shingle trying not to focus on the 150 m ascent dead ahead.
20170922 5_Weston Mouth
At the top of Weston Cliff I spotted a nicely painted trig across the field but I couldn't drum up sufficient enthusiasm to warrant detour to hug it.  What is my world coming to?  It's TP6843 in case anyone is interested.  It has been adopted in memory of a Royal Engineer/Ordnance Survey employee hence its beautifully maintained condition.
20170922 6_TP6843
Also up on top of the cliff was a field containing my nemeses.  However, since I'd bypassed a trig without hugging it, I figured I could ring the changes again by marching through the middle of this lot.
20170922 7_Moo 8_1
So I did.  And they gave me a stiff ignoring.
20170922 7_Moo Butt
I eventually dropped down into Branscombe Mouth and came across the anchor of the Napoli that grounded offshore here in 2007.  I recall taking my girls down to the coast to view it.  They were young and trusted my every word then, believing me when I pointed to the two halves of the ship and said "now, there on your left is the 'Nap' and on the right is the 'Oli'".  I wouldn't get away with that nowadays.
20170922 9_Branscombe Mouth 02.21
I stopped for tea at the lovely cafe there then headed off upwards again.  I was rewarded by my first view of Portland Bill (hard to see in the photo, but it's there, honest).
20170922 8_Portland Bill 4.37
Just after this, the path sits under the cliff top and meanders through the entrancing Under Hooken for a kilometre or so.  And then, at Beer Head, Lyme Bay really opened up and I saw my first view of Seaton.
20170922 11_Lyme Bay
I marched down into Beer. What a lovely row of cottages.
20170922 10_Beer 1.06
And doorway: two of my favourite things - stained glass and a compass...
20170922 12_Beer in the evening  5.49.50
I didn't spend long there as I was staying there that night so left Beer and headed onwards.
20170922 10_Beer 4.07
As it was low tide I was able to take the coast path route along the shingle.
20170922 11_Seaton 38.18
The rocks are soft enough that tiny grains of sand (presumably) have made small holes in them.
20170922 11_Seaton 41.07
Seaton promenade has some interesting sculptures.  "Waves shape the shore".
20170922 11_Seaton 51.48
And "Shore shapes the waves".
20170923 1_Seaton 10.33
I drove back to Beer and overnighted in their Youth Hostel. Cheap and cheerful, but not terribly sociable.  I'd sort of hoped that a hostel would have interesting people loafing around all evening with whom I could chat, but the interesting ones obviously headed out and I was left with with the middle-aged lady (comme moi) drinking earl grey tea and knitting (pas comme moi).  Ah well.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Home Ground

Day Forty Two - Starcross to Sidmouth 21 km (13 miles).
Time on route 5:00hrs, walking time 4:40hrs.

Thursday 10 August 2017
Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 21.10.58
I am well and truly on home ground right now as I live just a few km up the river in Exeter.  My daughter is back home and I thought it would be good to walk a leg with her.  Added to this my aunt and uncle are in Sidmouth with the Sidmouth Folk Week and it became a grand plan.  Well, it would have been a perfect plan - to get the train to Starcross, ferry to Exmouth and walk to Sidmouth - if the ferry had started early enough.  But, alas, it only starts at 1010 which was too late for our rellie rendezvous in Sidmouth.

So yesterday, Wednesday, I drove down to Starcross and took the ferry across to Exmouth.  And back of course.  Which completes that little piece of the SWCP jigsaw.
2017-08-09 Starcross to Exmouth Ferry  16.09.55
Looking up the Exe.
2017-08-09 Starcross to Exmouth Ferry  16.17.12
And towards Exmouth.
2017-08-09 Starcross to Exmouth Ferry  16.42.03
The ferry dog.  So cute.
2017-08-09 Starcross to Exmouth Ferry  16.38.10
And this morning Caitlin and I drove to Exmouth and were on the path at 0845.  We strolled along the Exmouth seafront, which we have done numerous times over her lifespan, and headed up to the Geoneedle at Orcombe Point (which I don't ever think I've been to).  What we particularly loved was the metal tip which blended into the blue sky.
2017-08-10 2 Geoneedle
We climbed up and over the Straight Point rifle range and on towards Budleigh Salterton.  We had to detour at West Down, albeit only 5 metres, to visit my favourite trig.  I was off sick from work a decade or so ago and I would find solace in driving to Budleigh, walking up to this trig, giving it a hug and ambling home.  We have an understanding this trig and I.
2017-08-10 4 Budleigh Trig 48
We dropped down into Budleigh and stopped for coke at one of the kiosks by the sea front.  I pointed out the spot where I'd changed Caitlin's nappy behind a beach hut 21 years ago ("thanks Mum").
2017-08-10 5 Budleigh 10.48.27
We had to walk up the Otter to cross it and the views back towards Budleigh were lovely as the sun reflected off the cliffs.
2017-08-10 5 Budleigh 11.50.18
Apparently this is what I look like walking the coast path.
2017-08-10 Walking
We dropped down into Ladram Bay and back up out.
2017-08-10 6 Ladram Bay
My aunt and uncle were on a collision course with us (intentional) from Sidmouth and we rendezvoused at High Peak.  It was an easy stroll down towards Sidmouth.
2017-08-10 7 Sidmouth 13.35.14
As we neared the Clock Tower, our tea and cake spot of choice, they veered off to avoid the up/down of the coast path at Jacobs Ladder which I, of course, stuck to.
2017-08-10 7 Sidmouth 13.36.37
It was great to have coke, cake, chips in the sun.
2017-08-10 7 Sidmouth 14.09.24
We wandered across the beach towards the bus stop and then it took Caitlin and I 2.5 hours to get back with the bus journey (road works in Ottery St Mary), a quick food shop (which included a lesson in how to shop in Aldi) and heavy traffic.

PS.  As a total aside, the Sidmouth Folk Week home page has a photo on it which has my daughter dancing with my cousin from 2016.  She was hanging on for dear life...
Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 21.30.13

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

More Trains - Up the Exe

Day Forty One - Maidencombe to Starcross 17.6 km (10.9 miles).
Time on route 6:45hrs, walking time 4:45hrs.

Monday 17 July 2017
Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 22.04.14
To start our walk we caught a taxi to Maidencombe as I'd had a major fail on reading the bus timetable (irritating).  Anyway.  We set off in the sun for an initial 'moderate to strenuous' section towards Shaldon.  Around Commons Plantation the path is covered by windswept trees.
2017-07-17 _2 Around Commons Plantation
At Bundle Head I came across an old foe.  Being in company I felt terribly brave and walked within a few metres of these beasts.  Alone I would have given them a far wider berth.
2017-07-17 _3 Bundle Head 07
The path provides a wonderful view of Teignmouth as you drop into if off The Ness.
2017-07-17 _4 Teignmouth view
There are two routes across the River Teign.  The official one being the Shaldon/Teignmouth ferry and, if that's not running due to bad weather, the road bridge.  Fortunately the ferry was running so we hopped on board for the 10 minute trundle across the river.
2017-07-17 _5 Shaldon Teignmouth Ferry 29.41
Our skipper was really interesting and chatted to us whilst we traversed about how suddenly the environmental conditions can halt the ferry (standing waves, spring tides, high wind etc).  Fascinating.
2017-07-17 _5 Shaldon Teignmouth Ferry 35.34
Looking back as we left the boat.
2017-07-17 _5 Shaldon Teignmouth Ferry 40.21
We stopped in Teignmouth for a drink and to catch up on work.  As it was Monday meant that emails were coming in thick and fast, so we stopped for a while to keep our business alive and kicking before the next leg.
2017-07-17 _6 Teignmouth lunch 10.30
Martin, being South African, found this local hot chocolate name quite interesting.  Zuma = hot chocolate?  There's a sniff of racism to be read into that.
2017-07-17 _6 Teignmouth lunch 02.15
As we left I noticed the local Teignmouth art - very creative.
2017-07-17 _6 Teignmouth art
The tide was high but not so bad to prevent us walking the Teignmouth to Dawlish seawall, which is frequented by the Penzance to London trains.
2017-07-17 _7 Teignmouth to Dawlish
Looking down on Coryton's Cove near Dawlish.
2017-07-17 _8 Dawlish 05.35
And then up and over into Dawlish.
2017-07-17 _8 Dawlish 10.06
This was in interesting pavement demarcation on entering Dawlish.  It delineates where TDC, Torbay District Council stops and NR starts.  I'm just not sure what NR is.
2017-07-17 _8 Dawlish 12.05
We had a late lunch in Dawlish (more emails to answer...) and then headed off towards Dawlish Warren.
2017-07-17 _8 Dawlish
Once you reach Dawlish Warren the path follows the main road, albeit it on a separate footpath for some of it.  But it's flat and fast.

The tide was out at Cockwood Harbour.
2017-07-17 _9 Starcross
Shortly we arrived at Starcross railway station.  I can see the next leg of my journey, the ferry across to Exmouth, but that's for another day.  ;-)
2017-07-17 _9 Starcross end