Author Archives: Selina

About Selina

I love the outdoors. Getting out with my best friend and partner Tim we have spent many holidays and almost all of our free time exploring the countryside in the UK. Together we are passionate about walking, photography, cycling. We feel lucky to live in a lovely part of the country - The Norfolk Broads. Famous for big skies, beaches and waterways. Our special holidays will always be in the truly beautiful Lake District. I would always recommend simply getting outside as much as possible. With the right clothing you can enjoy it all year round. Don't forget to take a picnic!

Padstow to Clovelly (Part 2) – Walking the South West Coastal Path

September is always special – the last days of summer.  It’s special for us as Tim celebrates his birthday mid-way through the month and we time our holidays around it – always keeping our fingers crossed for good weather for the actual day.

So here we were on this particular day pulling on our walking boots and packing our sandwich lunch into our backpacks once again for another trek. 

This post describes a section of the South West Coastal Path from our trip down to the West Country a few months ago.  If you’d like to read Part One click the link just below these words …

https://itslovelyout.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/padstow-to-clovelly-part-1-walking-the-south-west-coastal-path/

Tuesday 19th September 2017 : Polzeath to Port Isaac (Cornwall), 9 miles

We got on the early morning bus at Port Isaac with four others and (almost as if we were all on the same trip) all got off next to the car park at Polzeath. The car park being right on the beach at Polzeath.

Polzeath is a popular surfing resort with several small surfing schools, a few shops and cafes.  There were lots of people walking about in wet suits either coming from or going to the surf.  I suppose parking on the sand makes it all nice and close for surfers and other beach visitors but we didn’t fancy the idea of parking our car on the actual sand….not all day anyway.

There is a big broad open expanse of beach here.

Polzeath Beach at high tide.

Following the coastal path we soon left the town behind and headed to Pentire Point.   Along the way a colourful crowd of older (senior) walkers were coming towards us and we met them at a kissing gate.  Kissing gates usually only allow one person at a time through it and, as long as they are made properly, don’t allow animals to cross from one field to another.

So, because it was ‘one at a time’ we exchanged greetings, smiles, hellos and good mornings.  They had American accents and tagged with labels which included the curious words ‘Road Scholar’.  A quick Google search and I found this to be a walking holiday organisation.  It must be a requirement to wear the label which saves anyone getting lost I suppose!

Passing a big crowd of American walkers

A look back (into the sun) to Polzeath shows the whole bay.  It’s a wide bay.

Ahead of us now and out of sight from Polzeath was a impressive area with a less impressive name ‘The Rumps’.

Sideways on the bit of land that sticks out actually looks like the back of a slumbering dragon or dinosaur.  Can you see what I mean?

The Rumps

We got closer and rounded the headland. Paths could take you out onto the back of the ‘dinosaur’, as several people were doing, but we had to save that for another day/another holiday.

It was good to see so many people on the path and out and about today on foot but some had chosen to do their sight seeing by boat.  With such calm waters it was the perfect day for it.  It reminded me of boat trips we’ve had around the Spanish islands of Ibiza and Majorca.

Cruising around the coast in perfect conditions

We stopped for a quick snack and admired the view ourselves.

Further along we found that we had lost the crowds.  Looking at the map we could see that most people were doing a small circular walk from/to Polzeath – that explains it….

Next stop lunch, Lundy Beach.

Lundy Beach just in view

Before we stopped for lunch we passed Lundy Hole – a collapsed sea cave. Quite a sight but what was that buzzing sound?  Hedge trimming?  As we looked into Lundy Hole itself we could see a drone. We love drones so we gave it a friendly wave as its blinking red eye turned to ‘look’ at us.  The pilot obviously didn’t like what he/she saw as it flew away, super quick!  How rude!

Lundy Hole minus the drone

Around the corner we found more walkers all lounging about enjoying their picnic lunches in the sun. The tide was in and it was a bit of a scramble to get down to the sand so we found an elevated spot just next to the path and did some lounging about ourselves.

Our lunchtime view

We could have lingered here for the rest of the afternoon watching the strollers out for a picnic and those out for a swim (mad fools), but we had a few more miles to go.  So, we circled the bay, and the next smaller bay, and up onto a fairly level path heading towards Port Quin.

Along the way we passed a folly at Doyden Point which I thought was a castle. You could forgive me as it’s actually called Doyden Castle. I love a castle so it was a bit disappointing to see that firstly it wasn’t and secondly the national trust use it as a holiday home….good grief.  I didn’t bother photographing it.

We didn’t know what to expect at Port Quin.  We were hoping for a small bay with a scattering of houses and a cup of tea.  We got all three.

Approaching Port Quin

 

The ‘tea lady’ was quietly sat reading a book in the sun so we took a photo of her cafe (the Citroen van) before ordering our drinks.  Fionas cafe was parked at the back of the national trust car park – we almost missed it.

The cafe at Port Quin

We felt a bit awkward disturbing her from her reading but we really wanted our afternoon tea.  While making our drinks she told us the van was up for sale then promptly gave us the wrong change (five pounds too little change) Something was clearly on her mind.

We sat down with our drinks.  Then, rather oddly, the lady went around the van with a can of something and proceeded to spray underneath it. Tim, sat in full view this, sat with mouth open and a puzzled look. I took a sneaky ‘half selfie’ so that I could see what was going on.  Weird.

What on earth is going on? Very odd behaviour….

Anyway, drinks drunk we continued on our way, passing a few national trust properties all done up for holiday rentals.  Not a bad spot so spend a week or two – and you can make your own tea whenever you like!

Our next section of walk came as a bit of a surprise.  A narrow path up and away from Port Quin reached a turning point which we couldn’t see at first.  After hugging the cliff top we turned slightly inland where the way ahead twisted and turned and, with the ups and downs, it was impossible to pick up the pace. We passed a few couples coming the other way – all hot and shiny faced.

Then we had quite a steep climb up a stone stairway with a metal rail on one side.  The metal rail was the only thing between the path and a long  fall from the cliff face into the sea!  The photo I took really doesn’t do it justice.

Tim and the metal rail

From the top it we could almost see Port Isaac.  A level section then we said hello to this impressive beast.  Looked like he was wearing a mask and posed nicely for a photograph.

Cattle – always curious. We admired this one more than most.

So, we thought our ups  and downs had finished for the day but oh no.  Look at those steps.

Just a few more steps….

Then at last – Port Isaac.

The TV programme Doc Martin (Doc Martin played  by Martin Clunes) has just finished filming series eight, all on location in and around Port Isaac.  It’s all about the life of a grumpy, abrasive and rude General Practitoner who somehow manages to be well respected by the villagers.  Tim and I have watched at least the first four series so we were quite keen to see the place in the flesh so to speak.

We had no idea how popular this programme was until we made our way down from the position I took the above photo to ‘Doc Martins Surgery/House’.  Crowds of people with cameras from all over the world come along to check it out.

We couldn’t resist doing the same – an Australian lady kindly took our photo.   Apparently this was her second visit !!

Outside Doc Martins house like propert tourists!

And so we finished our walk for the day.  Strolling amongst the crowds.  Unable to get into the pub we stopped for an ice cream before taking the steep slope up out of the village and back to the car.

A cracking walk.

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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

 

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!