So now that I can pretend I still do sewing from time to time, back to the walking….
Actually, this wasn’t walking, this was the view for our Friday night fish and chips on the beach in Combe Martin, just metres from the Coast Path and not much further from our camp site.
And a pretty impressive view it was too!
A nice relaxing start to our weekend.
Saturday was a tad more taxing. We all drove round to Hunters Inn, then the Support Crew (including dog) walked the fairly flat path to Heddons Mouth (I’m jealous not to have made it there myself, only having seen it from on high, its a pretty looking walk through the valley bottom to a small beach with dramatic scenery all around) whilst the Boy and I started the days walk by ascending the steep side of the cleave, luckily there was shade on the way up and the view at the top from Peter Rock was worth it. Oh, and we had fresh legs too, which helped, having broken up the suggested Lynton to Combe Martin walk.
Next came a flattish section (by coast path standards) along the side of the cliff with nice views (although Wales was just a haze) and we finally spotted one of the crickets we keep hearing, or maybe it was a grasshopper.
After following the still flattish path inland a bit we then had a steep descent into Sherrycoombe (which had a disappointing lack of sherry), we had a pit stop in the shade of a tree and I cooled my feet in the stream and then it was up the other side (further up but less steep than our way down) and we kept on going until we reached Great Hangman, the highest point on the whole of the South West Coast Path, where The Boy posed on the cairn on top and a previous walker had left a declaration of love nearby.
Another flattish section, with evidence of sheep (the wool they’d left hanging on a scratching tree reminded me of prayer flags) to Little Hangman, where we took a small steep diversion to the top, which indeed had better views than Great Hangman as we’d been told, letting us see down into Coombe Martin Bay.
Then we just had to make our way down into Coombe Martin itself, where we met up with the Support Crew and had another meal on the beach, this time cooked by Long Suffering Husband. At this point the signpost said* that we had come 35 miles from Minehead and The Boy worked out this meant we were over 1/20 of the way.
Sunday was a first for us, two days walking in a row. We left the support crew and set off up the hill out of Coombe Martin with a view across the bay back towards Little Hangman, passing some impressive eagle gateposts on our way. There was a short section on the main road, before getting on to what some locals told us used to be the main road, before some of it was eroded, which apparently included a section of cobbles from the 1800’s. The bus shelter turned Tourist Information Point that the guidebook mentioned was no longer there, apparently it was falling off the cliff, and instead the base is now a viewing platform. Then the path passed through a campsite and we were walking between tents, which was a little odd.
Soon we were at Watermouth, the tide was too far in for us to cut across the foreshore, but we had a quick look at the boats and overheard some fisherman discussing where the shoals were (or rather weren’t) and saw a nice cafe, although it was too soon in the day for us to stop. The path technically is alongside the road here, but with such a lovely hedge shielding it from view we didn’t really mind.
The next headland, Widmouth Head, provided a lovely view back across Watermouth to Combe Martin Bay, Little and Great Hangman and beyond and The Boy decided to make a sketch.
Proud Parent Moment.
Meanwhile I watched the boats in Samson’s Bay and beyond, then it was onto and around Rillage Point with it’s cave and more impressive views of Hele Bay and beyond. I think that might be a Giant Hogweed we went past, I was careful we didn’t touch it.
There was a small stretch along the road again as we descended into Hele, where we speculated on why some of the barrier had cable reinforcing it and not others, decided that the Viewpoint With Car Park was no where near as good as the views from the path, and were heartened when the Support Crew happened to drive past waving and cheering, you can just make them out in the distance if know what you’re looking for.
We took advantage of the facilities in Hele to buy cold drinks to help us up the last hill between us and Ilfracombe, Beacon Point, once again shade on the steep way up helped and we were rewarded with views from the top down towards Ilfracombe.
Then it was a pleasant descent down into the town, where we reunited with the rest of the family, had lunch, wondered on how an statue of a pregnant woman rendered in anatomical text book detail can represent truth, walked round Capstone point (sans red petticoats) and had a rest on the beach / clamber on the rocks before heading back home.
So, Minehead to Ilfracombe. Starting to feel like we’re getting somewhere! And at 3 1/2 days worth of suggested walks we’re half way through Week 1.
*The signposts have proven somewhat erratic at times, occasionally the distance you have walked decreases from one signpost to the next, and they doesn’t exactly match up with either the website or guide book distances either.