Day 23 – Torquay to Woodhuish

It’s always a nice, chilled start when we wake up somewhere we’re allowed to be and there was no risk of an angry local showing up and tearing strips off us. It was gone 8am when we finally shuffled out of Atlantis, waving goodbye to Steph, our lovely hostess.

Today was largely a day of beaches accessible directly from the trail. The day started with a very pleasant seaside stroll then kicked in with the odd epic steps thrown in to remind you that not only are you alive but you’re on the South West Coast Path and don’t even think about getting too comfortable. But it didn’t start getting lumpy until after Paignton really so until then we just enjoyed the fuck out of it. Then of course there was the standard SWCP shit. “Hey calf muscles, let’s walk up this fuck off great big hill just so we can walk back down the other side!”

Yeah, see, I’m not sure how I feel about the waymarks being on the floor.

Except at least this time you were often rewarded with a stunning little cove where you could sprawl on the pebbles in the sun like a human shaped reptile, or even go for a swim should you be bored of having feeling in your extremities and just fancied being really uncomfortable for a while. Sun was out, water was all blue and sparkly, eyeholes were primed and ready for all the fodder they were about to receive.

To be fair I did struggle a bit once the steps kicked in and the trail meandered upwards. We’d spent our rest day applying beer and chips to our faceholes rather than anything with any manner of nutritional value. Plus it was hot, and my womb was preparing itself for its monthly wringing. It’s nigh on impossible to accomplish anything without crying in the days before The Wringing.

We climbed up, then back down to a lovely beach, then back up, then back down but when we rounded a corner and saw before us Churston Cove with a perfect little sail boat just bobbing in the gorgeous water I had to stop and pick my jaw up off the floor before someone tripped up over it. It called our names, invited us to sit, refuel with a sandwich, have a little nap, go on, treat yourself, you’re on holiday. Obviously we did.

Oh hello, you gorgeous slab of eyehole fodder, you!

You can see Fishcombe Cove from here and that’s smaller but more popular and has a little café but that would either involve swimming across or another all the way up to come all the way down hill which could wait until we’d rested, thank you very much. I did feel better for a fuck tonne of food. The water around here though, it looks tropical. I mean, I know it isn’t and I’m not going in it because I like having feeling in my extremities. People are going in the water but I guess they were just born without nerve endings or something.

Brixham was the next down and oh dear god, who did it sell its soul to in order to be so damn gorgeous? I mean, I’d hate to be the postie around here with all those hills. It looks like rows of brightly coloured houses are stacked on top of more brightly coloured houses sweeping down to the painfully pretty little harbour that includes a full size replica of the Golden Hind. Because why wouldn’t it?

It took quite a while to shuffle through Brixham on account of the fact I had to stop every ten paces and take a photo of the town from an ever so slightly different angle. Thems the rules. We swung by Berry Head to bag a trigpoint then just did the SWCP shuffle up the hill and down the hill until we ended up at Man Sands.

Okay so. When we were walking into Torquay two days ago we met a man called Rob who suggested Man Sands as a camping spot. Apparently people do camp here. We actually bumped into him again as we were leaving Paignton this morning and he reiterated that Man Sands was the place. It wasn’t quite far enough for us so we researched another beach, Scabbacombe Sands, which is apparently a nudist beach. I also learned that nudists call non-nudists Textiles which is quite cute.

That rather imposing ship to the right is a life sized replica of the Golden Hind. It’s way smaller than I thought it’d be.

We rocked up to Man Sands at about 5ish. Considering it was meant to be secluded it was quite busy but I guess they’d all fuck off back to their warm houses and actual beds at some point. Fuck it, we’ll just stay here then. I’m sure Scabbacombe is lovely and if people want to walk about with their dicks out that’s their business but it’s probably not what I need to put in my eyeholes whilst munching on my cocktail sausages.

We waited, enjoying the sun and the beach, having a spot of dinner, (assuming a stodge of instant mash mixed in with minestrone soup could be considered dinner) as people came and went. Families, dog walkers, horse riders. Six blokes showed up with a bag of beer, but not a lot. We figured they wouldn’t hang around long. It got to 8pm, they kept looking at us, we kept looking at them. Then two 4x4s showed up. Bollocks to this. We hoisted our bags back on and noped out, hauling our unwilling carcasses up quite a hideous hill that I’m actually really fucking glad we now didn’t have to do tomorrow.

That’s Man Sands, and that little house you can just about see is Crabrock Cottage. Aside from a BT landline it’s completely off grid. Water comes from the sky, heat comes from a logburner, there’s no mains electricity, and the compost toilet is outside. It was an old coastguard hut built by Napoleonic POWs and is currently used as a holiday let, but it’s on the market if you’ve got a spare £550000 knocking around.

We were fed and rested, we could just walk and pitch on the first acceptably slopey patch we could find. Only half a mile up the hill we found a bench with plenty of nearly flat grass and cracking views across the water. Fuck yes! This was much better than the beach. We pitched up as the sun went down.

Sorry this post wasn’t more interesting, it really was just a plod albeit a very beautiful plod with many gorgeous beaches and coves. Turns out I’m a fan of a rocky cove. Days like this are going to be plentiful I feel, and probably much needed.

Day: 23
Day on South West Coast Path: 13
Distance walked today: 14.1 miles
Total walked so far: 331.2 miles
Weather: Hot and sunny with the odd cloud and chilly breeze.
Trigs bagged: 1
Trigs to date: 30
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 6

Jump to “Useful shit to know…”

Torquay, Devon to Woodhuish, Devon, England

Stayed at: Wild camp half a mile up from Man Sands

Useful shit to know…

  • There are plenty of toilets and water taps all the way into Brixham, but toilets usually cost 30p. You can use contactless to pay.

BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing) Groceries: £8.15
Toilets: £0.60
Grand Total: £8.75

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