Asleep by 10:00pm last night, slept soundly and undisturbed until dawn. Gorse leaf litter makes a very comfortable mattress once the dead branches are out if the way. I awoke to a glorious sunrise.
The basher was wet so I guess it rained a bit overnight though I was oblivious. Packed away and on my way at 7:00am, I walked down into Soar Mill Cove, then over Bolberry Down in the company of two walkers who’d recently completed Wainwright’s Coast-to-Coast using the sherpa service. Must do that. They directed me to Hope Cove for a cuppa.
Politics: There’s an Inner Hope and and Outer Hope. Inner Hope is quiet, thatched and slightly aloof. (Hunter wellies). Outer Hope is quaint, busy, vibrant and the pub is open all day (Mums with buggies). As I had breakfast at the Hope & Anchor Inn, I realised I still had yesterday’s contact lenses in! No harm done. Then north towards Thurlestone.
Gets a bit grockly along here. The South Milton Beach House unashamedly offers the slowest, most laid back service I have yet encountered. I queued for over 20 minutes for a bottle of water and there were only three customers in front of me. Nobody seemed to mind. In fact the man in front of me had forgotten his money, so took his order and returned to pay later. The Beach House looks to me like a proper little goldmine.
There’s a very photogenic footbridge at Thurlestone. It doesn’t show up as ‘FB’ on the map (perhaps it’s new) but it’s loocated at about 677416.
I took one of my few successful photos.
2 km onward, with optimism but no actual plan, I reached the estuary of the River Avon. I approached the car park manager’s office and enquired about the availability of a ferry and a pub. “Ferry’s down by the river but it’s not running for the next three weeks. Harbourmaster’s away. Pub’s over there 👉”. I was duly informed.
Antipodean dude walked along beside me. “Just ask around down there mate” he said helpfully. “Someone will get you over there”.😄
I clomped on down the hill.
“I say!” a man’s voice called, “I say, do you need to get to the other side? I’m going that way.” How lucky can I get?
I fell in with a tall senior gentleman, wearing wellies and a green fisherman’s jumper, clearly athletic. My boots muddied his rowing boat but he didn’t mind. As he rowed me across the river he confided in me that he planned to be an expert kite-surfer before his 70th birthday, which gave him 18 months. I take my hat off.
My impromptu saviour suggested a possible route to Bigbury along the beach on the north side of the estuary but in view of the rising tide I slogged up the 90 metres elevation to the cliff top at Folly Hill then down the other side. Burgh Island is isolated by the waves at high tide and without it, Bigbury seems a heartless place: a car park, a cafe and a handful of houses. There used to be a youth hostel here but not any more. So, head to wind, I decided to carry on past Challaborough Bay Holiday Park towards the River Erme. The next 5km is lightly used by walkers and I saw nobody at all on this section of the trail. I planned to camp in Broad Cliff Copse, in a bit of a valley, so sheltered from the wind. The copse is defended by a stout barded wire fence so I decided to give it a miss and pressed on, dusk now fast approaching. I reached Beacon Point without finding a nice place to settle. The light was fading so I took slight refuge behind a hedgerow and set up the basher with the windward end closed up.