The Race to the bottom of England….


………the 200th Day walking  round the Coast of England took me as far as Bantham on the South West Coast Path, about 22 miles beyond Salcombe . I think the Black Worm on the South Coast will reach Land’s End before the North Coast Worm. Other coloured worms are available on the Isle of Wight and Suffolk Coast paths. And another due to be started at Wallsend going North towards Berwick on Tweed, Watch this space!

Dear Maisie, Rowan, Jake, Stan, Lauren and Rosie,

I’ve been walking round the coast of England for 200 days, and by now you would have thought I’d know where I’m going and that I’m old enough to know better. Sadly this isn’t either case, and what’s more the 200 days accumulated don’t include about eight hundred days resting….

This trip I returned to East Portlemouth on the South West Coast Path where last time out I managed to miss the last Ferry that would have taken me to Salcombe where the bus was waiting to take me to Kingsbridge where the car was also patiently waiting to take me to my tent. But for the good Samaritans of an East Portlemouth family who drove me to the car, I would have taken refuge for the night in the Ferry Shelter below, with not so much emphasis on shelter.



The Ferry Shelter that was very nearly my refuge for the night last time out…nice lifebelt.

Finally, I get to cross the Kingsbridge Estuary; East Portlemouth to Salcombe, observed by two unidentified massive military transporter aircraft and Felicity’s Skipper.


My place of safety this trip was the higher quality campsite at Higher Rew, within very steep walking distance of Salcombe. Yet again the owners and occupants were excellent; and yet again I needed assistance when the RAV4 refused to start, which even yetter again cut my visit short, because once started I couldn’t stop until I got home. Refuelling was interesting, on the move…

{I feel a minor rant coming on – in the run up to this trip, following a major service, the car was returned to me just in time , with a battery warning that it needed to be replaced but was not in stock. I also recoiled at the price and the RAC advised a cheaper outlet.  But more concerning was the oil warning light coming on a hundred miles into my trip, sidelights that had apparently suddenly failed and an access panel in the bumper that had detached itself after remaining in place for 130k. Service? Strange word? Misnomer more like…..Living in the sticks arranging a “service” is an all day event. A return of service after an incomplete service is a double fault. I feel I’ve been highly  restrung a net cord and there’s definitely chalkdust from a smoking gun.. Somewhat mixed metaphor but you get my point? Game set and match. RAV4 is booked in for Friday. So no walking that day then. Of course – it could be all my fault – I will report back – but I feel the next car isn’t a Toyota.}


The  Campsite, environs, sunrise and stranded RAV4 at Higher Rew near Salcombe- how do you bump start a car with keyless ignition? The barn was in the way anyway. And the dashboard was telling me to check the engine oil. And my blood pressure. But it’s just been fully serviced. One of the caravanners and the camp owner came to my rescue with jump leads. Thank you. The people around here are as nice  and chocolate boxey as the environs.


Leaving Salcombe was tortuous, steps and alleys everywhere and fascinating views and architecture – it took over an hour to vacate by way of North and South Sands with a final look back over the shoulder to see the early morning Kingsbridge Estuary.


Now back on the S W Coast Path heading for Bolt Head and climbing 130 metres – there was an alternative as you’ll see later.


But the views after all that climbing are spectacular with a final view of Ham Stone. How do the pigs get there? Of course, they fly!  Grid Reference SX 717 367


The journey from Bolt Head to Bolt Tail via The Warren  and Bolberry Down ended with a descent into Hope Cove  with views into Inner Hope and Outer Hope and one fishing boat that might interest Mark?


Hope Cove was an ideal stop for lunch


The descent into Thurlestone and Bantham  was gentle, all the pathways disappear into the distance with a preview of Burgh Island best approached by causeway at low tide; the same applies to the River Avon to get to the SW Coast Path at Cocklebridge, but a  seasonal ferry does also run. Looks like a soaking coming up next time. A local told me the best way across – so that’s alright then…..


My final port of call was the Harbour Master’s HQ at Bantham to investigate the possibilities of crossing the River Avon out of season. A kindly seafarer offered me a crossing there and then, but couldn’t bring me back – so I sadly declined his generous offer. I will have to wait for the next holiday season or part the red seas.

This now meant walking to Thurlescombe to get the buses back to Malborough and a two mile walk to the tent. I asked advice about the quickest route, which turned out to  be the steepest hill I have ever climbed; no steps; no handrail; no footholds; no ropes; not even a Stannah Stairlift. The picture looks harmless. Believe me it left scars.


The final day I spent walking to Salcombe to complete unfinished business; I wasn’t going far with a dud battery in the car.


This was the short cut mentioned earlier, that avoided the taxing climb from South Sands to North Sands. The tide was going out and I sought local knowledge about walking the shoreline. The response was positive if I waited for low water, and I clung to the rocks like a limpet, for the water was not quite at its lowest. But I did it without a soaking, although I ended up on a landlocked and sealocked beach that needed climbing skills to escape from the remains of Salcombe Castle.


Sue from Salcombe RNLI serving me my Salcombe RNLI Beanie Hat; The Baltic Exchange III moored in the Salcombe Harbour and the Lifeboat Station and Shop



Some more of my favourite things from Salcombe; three views of the only fishing boat suggestible to Nephew Mark, the Skipper obligingly turned it to face me to get its best profile; my favourite Devon Pasty Shop and my all time favourite Tally Ho Bus Company services 162 and 606, whose drivers really do go that extra mile to deliver me safely to my car! The only clue was that I’d left it outside the Catholic Church – and my prayers were answered.


The only other numbers worth mentioning are OL 20, my Ordnance Survey Map of South Devon and Auntie Sarah was twenty one again, for the nineteenth time last week. One of my two most favourite Daughters-in-law.











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