WordPress Challenge : Scale

imageA ridge called Crib Goch in Snowdonia, North Wales.

This photograph was taken during our second crossing of this ridge – just ahead of us you can just see a couple of people scrambling their way across the rocks.  It helps to show the sheer scale of the place.

Our first crossing of this ridge was part of a route called The Snowdon Horseshoe and is detailed in an earlier posting.  If you would like to read it please do follow this link – I’d love to receive comments.

https://itslovelyout.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/snowdon-horseshoe/

Scale

 

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Padstow to Clovelly (Part 1) – Walking the South West Coastal Path

Imagine being at the Base Camp below Mount Everest. Setting off and arriving 10 days later at the summit of the highest point on the planet – then returning to base.  What an achievement that would be – well over 15,000 feet of ascent.

Imagine setting off from a place called Rock in Cornwall and walking the coastal path for approximately 74 miles into North Devon.  By doing that you would gain the same feet of ascent, albeit with a little less snow & ice and a little bit more oxygen!  All the same, you’d be pretty pleased with yourself.

During September we amazed ourselves by completing this, said to be the toughest section of this national trail, in some blustery, stormy and at times unseasonal weather.

In this post I’ll try my best to describe just one walk…..

Thursday 14th September 2017 : Clovelly to Hartland (10.8 miles of South West Coastal Path SWCP, 2.5 miles of road)

We began our walk today from the village of Clovelly.  Part of an estate, owned by the same family, it is quite unique.  So unique infact that visitors are charged to enter it.  From a large car park visitors enter via a visitors centre then out to a single street of cobbles that leads steeply down past white cottages to the harbour.

However, our actual starting point was in the village of Hartland, just over 2 miles inland from the sea. Why?  Well apart from the linear walk itself the logistics – parking, bus routes and lack of taxis was tricky.  So, we parked for free in Hartland and took the bus to the visitors centre at Clovelly.  This would leave us with 2.5 miles of road walking at the end of the day but we would deal with that when we had to.

At the bus stop at Hartland Tim chatted to the bus driver who we had met the previous day, on another journey!  It’s easy to make friends when you’re on holiday!

Chatting to the bus driver at Hartland bus stop

Our bus arrived on time and after a journey of about 25 minutes we jumped off at Clovelly.  We had no time to explore today with over 12 miles of walking ahead of us.  But we did manage to explore on another day and here are a couple of photos to give you a taste of the place.

Approaching Clovelly village. Cobbles all the way.

The top of Clovelly village. Taken early in the morning before the masses arrived!

The harbour at Clovelly with pub on the left hand side.

We set off through the wooded boundaries of the estate, hugging the coastline, passing two structures built by Sir James Hamlyn Williams – estate owner 1884 – 1936.  The first was a roofed shelter, the second structure is called Angels Wings.  I took a second to sit down and try it out!

We continued, across an area called Gallantry Bower – an open headland with ditches and bumps dating back to Bronze Age life.

Back into wood to a promontory called The Wilderness. The track with glimpses of the sea through trees continued to be wonderful but we suddenly found we were on a dead end and had actually missed a left turn.  Annoyed with ourselves we had added an extra bit of walking onto our long day (just what we didn’t need!).

Gorgeous woods near The Wilderness!

Back on track we dropped down to Mouthmill Cove.  No time to check out the stoney beach and Black Church Rock.  We were immediately back into the trees on the opposite side and going steeply up a narrow path.

The woodland paths were quite muddy in places and we had to be careful – particularly going down.  Even though many paths have ‘stepped’ wooden boards to make the going easier we had had some torrential downpours during the night making these shady places very sticky!

Very sticky, muddy paths in amongst the trees.

Out of the trees we followed the next headland on grassy paths, then very soon we were descending again – this time we could see where the next uphill section was!

Once we reached the trees (visible in the above photo) we looked back and had a great view of Black Church Rock – the rock we had missed at Mouthmill Cove.  With the tide in we wouldn’t have been able to get close to it anyway.

Black Church Rock at Mouthmill Cove – shaped with ‘windows’ carved by the sea

With the sun warming us up with stopped to take off our fleeces and check the map.  Tim was a bit concerned as we hadn’t progressed quite as well as he’d thought we should.  Heads down we marched on around easy, level, pastoral fields pausing briefly to look at a memorial to a World War ll Welington Bomber and crew that had crashed into the cliffs near this point.

On again and now we had a view of a tower which was the Radar Station at Hartland Point.  It seemed so small and far away.  We decided, no more stops for photographs until we got to it, though we couldn’t resist a few blackberries along the way.

At last we circled the Radar Station and made our way down to a car park and the delightful cafe/kiosk at Hartland Point called ‘The Point’.

We said it was a shame we had sandwiches with us as everything looked well presented and so tempting – still we were grateful for hot drinks.  I would thoroughly recommend this small cafe.  They very kindly let us use one of their picnic benches for our packed lunch.  We like to think we returned the favour by tempting in other visitors…!

Two hot drinks please

Me – really loving that cup of tea.

After lunch we immediately passed the entrance gateway to Trinity House Lighthouse.  Not visible from the gate, with big signs to say that it wasn’t open to the public.  Since getting home I googled the lighthouse for information and found that it was sold as a residential dwelling in 2015.

We had turned a corner and were now heading in a southerly direction.  I turned to look for the lighthouse and spotted it amongst the rocks way below the path.  Also clearly in view on the horizon is Lundy Island – a nature reserve that can be accessed via helicopter trips.

Just moments before taking the lighthouse photograph a helicopter flew low and slow over our heads but not out to sea.  Maybe on another trip?  It had the word Electricity on the side so it seemed unlikely.

Trinity House Lighthouse with Lundy Island on the horizon

Looking at us looking at them

A little way on from this I saw another memorial.  A hospital ship, the Glenart Castle, torpedoed in the middle of the night in 1918 – how terribly sad.

The hospital ship memorial

Whether it was because I was thinking about all those lost souls and the many ship wrecks along this piece of coast I drifted off a bit while we were walking. Sometimes walking does that to you.

The next thing I can remember is coming across a small group of children having an abseiling lesson.  About 10 or 11 years old I would guess.  We chatted to their teacher, an outward bound teacher I suppose, of about 19 or 20 years old and wished we were 10 or 11.  Saying our goodbyes one youngster gave us a warning ‘be careful, you are very close to the edge’.  We laughed as we thanked him but actually we hadn’t realised quite how close to the edge we were.  It stopped us in our tracks as we looked at the sheer drop below.

A little while later and around the rocky I looked back and could see one of adventure seekers ‘going over the edge’. Wow, it looked impressive.  They are very small in the photo (if you can zoom in it helps) but they are middle of the shot near the top of the flat rock (with the sheer drop below them!).

A youngster abseiling – ‘be careful as you go over the edge’!

Getting close to Hartland Quay now we only had a couple more ups and downs to go.

More steps down before more steps up. Stoke church tower (1 mile inland) just visible.

Our last stretch of the coastal path today took us across grass and past a mysterious structure which is only named as ‘ruin’ on the Ordnance Survey map.  It looks like it could have been an archway of a chapel.  A scattering of sheep were making the most of the sunshine and ignored us as we passed.

A mysterious arch stands alone (except for visiting walkers and sheep)

At 4:00 pm we reached a narrow road.  It’s the approach road that immediately drops down to Hartland Quay.

We had visited the quay two days earlier because it was really stormy and too dangerous to walk along cliff edges, etc.  Of all the places we have passed along the SWCP this one made me say “wow” the most often.  Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the fact that there was a hotel way down at sea level, maybe it was the hairpin road down to it, I can’t say.  It was, for me, wonderfully wild.

So here we were at the road.  All we had to do was 2.5 miles of road walking inland back to Hartland village and our car.  Tim had a plan.  How about we thumb a lift?  Lots of visitors down below had no option but to use this road and they would be travelling back to Hartland.  We dusted ourselves down and with grins on our faces prepared for the passing of cars.  As I said the road fell away very steeply down the the hotel so we couldn’t actually see them coming so we listened out for car engines under stress!

Within a minute one approached.  ‘Quick, thumbs out’  but the car driver smiled and pointed back at her dogs in the car, mouthed “sorry” and drove on.  Ah well.  Just as I was about to photograph Tim standing there another car came along.  This one slowed then stopped.  OMG.

A couple of about our age, window down, said “where are you going”, Tim explained that we were walking the SWCP and had walked 10 miles from Clovelly and would appreciate a lift to Hartland.  They said “of course, get in”.

As we pulled our doors closed I was suddenly transported back through time, to a time when I was 8 years old. DON’T GO WITH STRANGERS was the message given to us at school and home.  A good lesson.  However, I thought (with fingers crossed), when you get into your 50’s its time to take a chance.

So, we survived.  We didn’t get mugged or abducted or left for dead on the side of the road.  Our ‘friends’ were lovely people also on holiday and so very interested in our walking quest.  In no time at all they dropped us off and we thanked them gratefully.   Once they disappeared out of sight we both fell into hysterical laughter….relief maybe?  Did that actually happen!?

Back in Hartland village. With all our spare time what is a person to do?

So, we decided, why not go back to Hartland Quay (by car!) and have a celebratory drink?  We did exactly that.

A long and tiring day but we survived to tell the tale.

Wreckers Bar, Hartland Quay. Just the job!

WordPress Challenge : Corner(stone)

St Andrews Church, Blickling, Norfolk

On the corner near the entrance.

This church is medieval but had lots of work done to it in the 19th century.  Still, it looks wonderfully old!

I took this photograph thinking it was perhaps a stone masons mark but actually it turns out to be an Ordnance Survey benchmark.  I’ve only just discovered this fact and can’t say any more about them except that in rural areas they were commonly used.

Corner

WordPress challenge : ooh shiny

September 2016 and we are on a Cornish beach taking a day off from walking.  We discovered a small beach call Kingsand and decided this would be the perfect spot to just sit and watch the waves for the day.

Then we discovered that the beach is regularly washed with tiny pieces of glass – all smooth from their time in the sea.  Brown, green, blue and white.  They are our shiny treasures and this is a photo of Tim hunting them!  Meantime I found my own treasure – a small stone (fairly shiny) with a heart shape on one side.

It was Tims birthday and seemed like the perfect present.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/shiny/”>Ooh, Shiny!</a>

WordPress Challenge : Textures

Mid summer and our garden is still looking good.  Time to sit back and enjoy it.

One particular plant the Stachys Byzantina has flowers which have ‘gone over’ for this year.  Long stalks with tiny pale pink flowers that the bees loved have now been cut back.

It’s the leaves that are more impressive.  Woolly, thick, soft and fluffy in texture. It’s easy to see why it’s common name is ‘Lambs Ears’.

Textures

Plymouth to Exmouth (Part3) – Walking the South West Coastal Path

‘THERE YOU ARE, DON’T SAY I NEVER GIVE YOU ANYTHING ‘ the farmer shouted

With that his arm extended out of an old truck and In his hand he held a clump of weeds.  The back seat seemed to be full of the same weeds. We looked at each other…

‘WELL COME ON, TAKE THEM, I HAVEN’T GOT ALL DAY!’ he shouted (again).

Our walking friend stepped forward and took them, reluctantly.  The farmer drove off.

‘I’ll throw them in the hedge when he’s out of sight’ our walking friend whispered.

Tim looked down and said, ‘hang on, they’re peas’.

14th July 2017 – Kingston to Bigbury on Sea (8 miles)

This was the strangest start of any walking day.

We had been joined by another walker, who had also parked his car in the field (used as a car park), opposite Mount Folly Farm and we were waiting for the 9:30 bus.  Parking here, at £3 all day, is a good deal cheaper than the beach car park.

Our walker friend turned out to be a fellow South West Coastal Path follower  – having done the whole thing from Minehead in Somerset to Plymouth.  He was about to do a couple of days walking from Plymouth back to the car…

Discussing routes, ferries, parking, etc with a fellow South West Costal Path walker at the bus stop

The Farmer, whose land we had parked on, was an eccentric old boy who we first met (heard!) shortly after parking the car.  ‘THE BUS IS AT 9:30’ he had told us just before leaving us in peace.  Obviously, he was off to the fields to collect some vegetables (peas) and thought we might like some on his return.  He just liked to share and just liked to shout!

The bus arrived (at 9:30!) and off we went to Kingston, a small village near the River Erme estuary.  We picked up a crowd of people on the way and we were quite pleased to get off, leaving our friend to continue his journey to Plymouth in the unusually full bus.  We waved and wished each other well.

At Kingston Fire Station we got off and waved farewell to our walking friend

Time to check the map – it’s always a bit disorienting when you get off a bus in a strange place.  From here we walked past an old pub, down a lane, across a couple of fields and through wood to reach the start of the coastal path near the slipway at Wonwell Beach.

At this point, and in case you want to read the, here are links to my two previous posts linked to this trip

Plymouth to Exmouth (Part 1)

Plymouth to Exmouth (Part 2)

 

On the opposite bank of the River Erme, at the slipway near Wonwell Beach

So now we were back on the path.  We initially followed a small sandy track round the headland, slowly going uphill, in amongst high hedges and shrubs so our view was restricted a bit.

Once we were past the shrubs the shiny rocky coast looked quite dramatic and made us squint a bit in the sunshine.

The coastline all lit up in the morning sunshine

For several miles we followed the path stopping every now and then to admire the views. There were several small coves along the way, almost all of them were only accessible from the sea.

As we got closer to lunchtime we decided to try the peas.  Nervously we had a few each – straight out of the pods.  Not bad but apparently not as nice as they sometimes can be according to Tim.

Admiring the view

Living life on the edge, we ignored all the danger signs and found a perfect spot for lunch, just off the path.

‘Here’s a nice spot’

The great thing about carrying your lunch with you every day is that you can just about sit anywhere, whenever you choose.  This time we could see all the way down the coast ahead of us from a high spot.

Just in front was Ayrmer Cove with the grand total of 3 poeple on the beach.  As we finished our sandwich we spotted a drone flying up and down the beach, out to the rocks then over to us.  It was being flown by one of the beach party.  We picked up our packs and raced down the path to chat to the pilot.

Ayrmer Cove. The three people are just tiny dots just below the green mound of grass on the left.

Some people may have found this situation a bit annoying – out for the day, enjoying the peace and quiet.  However we love gadgets and photography in all forms so we were keen to to see whether we had been filmed and, if so, whether we could see the film.  As it turned out the drone was being used by a young lad who hadn’t figured out how to film yet, which was a shame.  His flying skills were impressive though.  We chatted away to him and his mum and sister for several enjoyable minutes.

 

The drone

Back up onto the headland, on towards Challaborough.  Is this a village or just a giant static caravan park?  No need to stop here, the cafe was doing a roaring trade to those wanting chips, beer and wine.  Large families, not all of them looking 1. Happy or 2. Healthy.

Not much further along we had a view of Bigbury on sea.  What a gorgeous view it was too.  There’s a island which is linked to the mainland by sand at low tide.  Burgh Island.  An Art Deco hotel stands proudly out there and people pay extraordinary amounts of money to stay.  Check it out if you dare!

Burgh Island Hotel

We had no time to go across to visit the island, hotel or the Pilchard Inn we had a bit more walking to do.

On the outskirts of Bigbury on sea. Burgh Island in view.

Usually at this point or time of the afternoon Tim starts promising ice creams at the next available opportunity.  I’m a bit of an ice cream fan and at the slightest mention of it I can think of nothing else!

Ice cream, Ice cream, Ice cream

Hurrah we made to the car park in front of the beach and lots of people were walking around with ice creams but could we find the cafe, no we couldn’t.  We circled round and round like tearful lost children looking for their parents.  Least that’s how it felt to me!  If you ever visit remember that this car park has two levels and the cafe is on the lower level, completely out of sight from the road!

So, we found it and we were absolutely delighted.  I can’t remember what flavour my ice cream was but it was one of the best.  I have to recommend the Venus cafe, the staff were cheerful and courteous.

And, by the way, the toilets next door were pretty good too!

The Venus Cafe at Bigbury on Sea. One of the best.

All we had to do now was get ourselves to the car (up Folly Hill Road) then nip down to the Avon estuary and return to the car.  That all sounds easy peasy doesn’t it.

Getting to the car was ok, up hill, but ok.  We tip toed through the farm on the opposite side of the road – the ‘pea’ farmers farm.  Then followed the path steeply down hill.  It was a wonderful afternoon.  Down and down it went until we reached the banks of the estuary to an area called Cockleridge.

It was low tide and everything was quite still.

Almost at the river.

The Cockleridge to Bantham Ferry runs on demand – so the sign says.  Between 10:00 and 11:00 then 03:00 and 04:00.  We sat and stared across the waterway.  As with all the other walks I’ve described so far, we didn’t need the ferry, we were just following the path.

And we made it back to the car too.

Who could complain with the sort of day we’d had.

The Avon – on the way back up to the car.