We managed to get the tent packed down with minimal sand incidents which had to be the work of a higher power given that between last night’s drizzle and the condensation inside the tent, it was soaking. Maybe I’ve just blocked out how much sand is stuck to the tent. Maybe we’ll get it out later to dry it and several tonnes of sand will jump out and make itself at home in all of my holes. Who knows. We found a bench for breakfast though, I have to draw a line somewhere and a sandy breakfast is it.
I was quite enamoured with Beesands but that probably had a lot to do with the toilets being open at 6.30am. Villages definitely score extra points for not locking their bogs up. There are a lot of houses (let’s face it, probably holiday lets) along the front with a few a bit further back. There’s even a pub and a little church. I liked it. I bet it’s hideous during a storm though.
We climbed out of Beesands, leapfrogging a couple with their dogs, all of us trying to insist that the other couple would be faster and no, really, you go ahead. We’d overtake when they had to pick up dog shit. They’d overtake when we stopped to faff or take photos. We were the lead party when we got stuck behind two cows that refused to move despite Tarrant’s best attempts. I guess we live here now. Views weren’t bad but not much in the way of WiFi. Thankfully they did eventually shift but not without stopping to casually eat fucking everything in their path. What a power play.
Loads of the trail today was flat. Like, proper flat, not Devon flat. Don’t go letting your guard down though, there are still a fuck tonne of killer ascents and descents to remind you where you are but I felt like we were making really good progress until we sat down for lunch and realised we’d only gotten a mile further than we had this time yesterday. Oh well. We are the undisputed queens of faff. Just because we’ve managed to smash it out on the flats I’ve still had to stop frequently to wave my camera at the coastline.
When you get to the Gammon Head sort of area, well that can fuck off quite frankly. We had a bit of scrambling over rocks to do which is one thing, but doing it with a sheer drop to your left when you have the balance of a badger on ketamine is quite another. Oh god oh god oh god. This is it. This is how I die. Tarrant was a legend as usual, guiding me over and being an extra hand hold when I irrationally stopped trusting the hand holds on the perfectly firm rocks. They’re not even hand holds really, most people would probably be able to do this on their feet, it’s only me that needs to crawl over them whilst reevaluating all of my life choices.
I like how wild this section of the coast has felt. I mean, it’s obviously not wild, you’re never more than twenty minutes from a car park, but the distance between towns and villages is bigger than it has been. The Path is narrow and horribly close to the edge which adds to that sense of “if I fall and die here no one will find the body”. The eyehole fodder, when I was looking at it and not pointedly ignoring the abyss to the left of me and trying not to cry, was predictably astounding.
We walked along the top of so many coves. Some tiny, some bigger, accessible only on foot from a nearby car park over a fuck off big hill. No cafés or restaurants lined them, if you got here on a quiet day you could feel like you had the world to yourself. Obviously it was a glorious Saturday today so there were a fair amount of humans, many of them wandering the Path in flip flops, clutching beach bags. Rather you than me, buddy. I barely trust my grip in my trail runners, never mind footwear I have to keep in place with my toes.
Eventually we wound our way towards Salcombe which, even from a distance, oozes dolla dolla bills y’all. Yachts and fancy boats dotted the harbour. Not the fishing boats that you usually get as you approach a coastal town, these boats look like they’re used for excessive champagne consumption.
We caught the ferry over and fell into the first pub we found, I needed to give my powerbank a blast for an hour but oh my gosh, I’m not sure I should have bothered. We tried not to cry as we were charged £6.90 for a pint of Kronenbourg, I dread to think what a pint of nice beer would have cost. I had to walk through the very cute little high street to get to the Co-op and the whole place even smelt clean. Everyone was dressed casually in shorts and t-shirts but they somehow made it look fancy. Pastels will do that. Maybe they’d even ironed!
The climb out of Salcombe was predictably hideous then we marched across the relatively flat Warren. We might have considered camping here if we hasn’t been told there was acceptable slopiness at Soar Mill Cove, plus The Warren was full of cows so yeah, fuck that. We also had ferry timings to consider tomorrow, the Bantham ferry only runs for four hours a day in two two hour blocks, we wanted to aim for the earlier boats which meant we had to be an appropriate distance.
The fiery skyball was fucking off as we strode along, hoping that our hot tip about Soar Mill Cove would pay off. Thankfully it did because we honestly didn’t have a plan B. The slopiness was very acceptable. I would only have minor dreams about the tent tobogganing over the edge of the cliff. We pitched up and crashed straight out.
Day on South West Coast Path: 15
Distance walked today: 17.52 miles
Total walked so far: 365.22 miles
Weather: Hot and sunny all day.
Coldest temp last night: 12.25°C inside / 9.56°C outside
Trigs bagged: 0
Trigs to date: 30
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 6
Jump to “Useful shit to know…”
Beesands, Devon to Soar Mill Cove, Devon, England
Stayed at: Wild camp above Soar Mill Cove
Useful shit to know…
- The toilets at Beesands must be open 24 hours. I don’t know if they’re seasonal or not though.
- More toilets before you walk down to the Salcombe Ferry, and at South Sands past Salcombe.
- Between Beesands and the ferry we crossed plenty of streams you could filter water from. After Salcombe there’s nothing we found until Soar Mill Cove.
BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Salcombe Ferry: £2
Pint at Ferry Inn, Salcombe: £6.90 (!!!)
Grand Total: £19.99