Day 21 – Maidencombe to Torquay

Acceptably slopey is the new flat but you’ll still end up crumpled at the bottom of the tent, waking up every hour to claw your way back up your mat. I didn’t sleep too well last night, neither of us did, and we were both too lazy to heat up water for a Mug Shot for breakfast so we ended up shovelling boiled eggs into our chops like we were raised by wolves before packing up and hitting the trail.

It was only nine miles into the part of Torquay we wanted to be in, albeit a very lumpy nine miles, but knowing us we’d be able to turn it into more miles like the really shit hiking magicians we are. We couldn’t check into our guesthouse until 3pm so there was no point in rushing which was ideal because fuck my life, I struggled today!

Not having anything for breakfast apart from a couple of hen periods didn’t help. Plus, Tarrant had been having heel pain since day four and my heels had started having opinions on all the hill walking too. We also knew we had a rest day tomorrow and every fibre of my being was all like, “Yeah but why not rest day now though?” I was just fucking fed up of walking up and down hills. I’ll be fine by Thursday, but right here? Right now? I was fucking fed up of hills.

Babbacombe Cliff Railway. It will absolutely shit you up if you’re underneath the fucker when it starts up.

It was so bloody muggy. The air itself fucking clung to us, sapping what little energy we had. We decided to try for a couple of trigpoints to break up the slog but they were both inaccessible and one of those was because it was on a fucking golf course. Today could fuck off. So could golf courses but they can always fuck off. Fuck.

The trail takes you right underneath the Babbacombe Cliff Railway which looks like some manner of funicular that takes you from the cliffs above to the beach below. As we were halfway under the damn thing started up and I swear, if I didn’t have such an aversion to shitting anywhere but an actual toilet I would have pebble dashed my pants. It scared the absolute fuck out of me. It’s cool to watch though once your heart rate returns to normal.

Perfect way to break up the day. I could have happily stayed here for hours until my bladder collapsed under the sheer weight of all the tea.

Babbacombe Bay though, that was our saviour. There’s a little café there, nothing more than an ugly concrete building with plastic chairs on the promenade, but teas and coffees were served in proper mugs. Yes. This would do. We sat with our legs dangling over the promenade, sipping our drinks and taking in the eyehole fodder.

I totally fixated on this rock. Thatcher’s Rock I believe? Whatever. Pretty.

The water around here is insanely clear and blue, it looks tropical. Of course if you got in it’d cryogenically freeze all of your internal organs in seconds so we contented ourselves with putting it into our eyeholes. I also got to grin like a creep at everyone’s dogs. The perfect antidote to the “fuck these hills” blues. Shame we had to climb up a particularly brutal hill to get out of it but hey. It’s the South West Coast Path.

A few more hills via an ice cream later (because are you even on holiday if you don’t eat your body weight in ice cream every few days?) and we hobbled into Torquay Harbour. The sun was out, a beer was required, we found a bar with outdoor seating and applied a motor impairment beverage to our faceholes. Oh dear gods, that was needed. I instantly felt much better. We were fortified and ready to tackle the last little stretch to Atlantis where we were checked in by the wonderful Steph.

We were told by a couple we met in Costa yesterday that they poured a tonne of money into the harbour area and the mooring fees they get from the boats helps maintain it. It’s actually really lovely with some nice bars and cafés surrounding it. They did say the rest of Torquay was, and I’m quoting here, a bit of a shithole, but we’re reserving judgement on that.

We actually bothered going to a launderette rather than trying to wash everything in the sink because I was wearing a lot of food on my trousers as well as three week’s worth of grime. I am a delight. This did mean we had to walk through a part of Torquay that very much had a “gonna be mugged for 20p and a packet of fags” kind of vibe whilst wearing what we wear to sleep. Worst case scenario I figured I’d just gas them with an armpit. We still hadn’t showered.

God I’d been looking forward to this all day!

Chores out of the way, we got clean and dry and I activated my big plans to lie very still in a soft bed whilst shovelling cheese and crackers into my chops.

Day: 21
Day on South West Coast Path: 11
Distance walked today: 10.8 miles
Total walked so far: 317.1 miles
Weather: Started off overcast and muggy, finished up hot and sunny.
Coldest temp last night: 11.69°C inside / 8.56°C outside
Trigs bagged: 0
Trigs to date: 29
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 6

Jump to “Useful shit to know…”

Maidencombe, Devon to Torquay, Devon, England

Stayed at: Atlantis, Torquay

We really enjoyed our stay here. Steph was attentive without being intrusive, the room was clean and comfortable and tea and coffee was refreshed every day. The chippy up the road is well cheap too which is ideal for us fat bastards intent on cramming as much grease as possible into our faceholes.

Useful shit to know…

  • Toilets are at Maidencombe (though they’re seasonal and don’t open until 10am), Babbacombe Bay, Meadfoot Beach, and of course once you’re in Torquay you’ve an abundance of options.
  • Public toilets in Torquay all seem to cost 30p but you can pay with contactless.
  • We had enough water to get us to Torquay but you could ask at the cafés at Babbacombe and Meadfoot Beach.

BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Accommodation at Atlantis, Torquay: £25
Drinks at Cafe, Babbacombe: £2.15
Groceries: £9.20
Ice cream: £2.05
Pint at Offshore Bar: £5.60
Cans from the shop: £2.13
Laundry: £3
Toilet: £0.30
Grand Total: £23.13

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