It’s sort of the law to have a lazy morning when you wake up at a campsite or a B&B or basically anywhere that you slept legally. We enjoyed unfettered access to our respective caffeine sources, charged our shit up, utilised the facilities with gusto then eventually we tore ourselves away and hobbled the 1.5 miles back to the trail, walking our various injuries into submission.
There was nothing too traumatic at all today apart from maybe the sand dunes. The hills didn’t kick in until the latter part of the day bar the odd little incline here and there. Just before Saunton we had to choose between the direct route, or the slightly longer route avoiding the road. I don’t even remember our reasoning for avoiding the road, I guess we thought it might be a bit nicer? It’s utterly fucking cow infested is what it is but the eyehole fodder makes up for it if you can stop long enough to enjoy it whilst panic waddling through hordes of bovine.
Croyde Beach was where we were first steered onto the sand but the tide was out so we opted for the slightly more compact wet sand which is marginally easier to walk on and doesn’t seem to have designs on getting into your shoes and wearing holes in your lovely new Drymax socks. It did seem like a very nice beach though. If I wasn’t so weird about sand, or if we had beach towels, I might have considered a day sprawled on it whilst applying ice cream to my facehole.
We saw some paragliders once we were around Baggy Point which was cool. I’ve done a couple of tandem paraglides and it’s the most wonderful, relaxing feeling of flying, even for me, and I’m not okay with heights. It’s probably as close to being a bird as you can get without eating worms and shitting on statues. I wouldn’t mind learning to do it myself but I don’t have the money for it. Or the coordination. Plus, y’know, really fucking high up.
Woolacombe Sands is a very nice beach too but the trail that runs above can, quite frankly, fuck off. Assuming we don’t get distracted by something shiny we’ll be finishing the South West Coast Path by Wednesday, and there are a lot of things I’m going to miss about it, but I’ll not miss the occasional sandy excursions across beaches and dunes. It’s fucking hard work, there is no efficient way to walk across soft, dry sand. My injured right knee piped up again but this time it was joined by my left knee. Oh come on! Choose a knee to bother me! You can’t have both!
We stopped off in Woolacombe for an ice lolly which was probably one of the best decisions we’ve ever made then carried on towards Morte Point, pointedly ignoring the signpost trying to steer you through some manner of valley. Why though? All of our maps said take the road. The map on the National Trail website said take the road. Why leave the coast and add the extra mile on? Bollocks to that. We took the road.
The rocks as you walk up to Morte Point though, oh my gosh, they’re something else! All rugged and jagged, they’re fantastic eyehole fodder, especially with the sea crashing into them. Even the rocks on the headland were epic. It’s a really enjoyable part of the walk. It’s just after this when the hills started to get a bit real but it’s really nothing unmanageable. I think it’s gearing up for the next section which I’ve heard is a bit lumpier but right now, after the utter tedium of the other day I’ll take these hills.
We did say we’d do a minimum of fifteen miles today before starting to look for a place to camp but just after Bull Point Lighthouse, when my tracking app read 14.7 miles, we found a perfect flat bit right by a bench with some gorgeous views. It was too good to pass up. We couldn’t walk past it, it’d be like roundhousing the camping gods right in the chops, it’s just not the done thing.
We picked up a couple of Summit to Eats in Barnstaple so we had one of those for dinner. They’re an easy way to get a bunch of calories into your system without actually having to think about it. We like the pasta bolognaise ones and you get to play a fun game where you have to try to locate and fish out the oxygen absorber before the water boils. It’s tasty but for something designed to be eaten before you crawl into a confined space for the night it really does play havoc with your farts. It smells like the cow you just ate crawled up there and died.
Braunton, Devon to Bull Point, Devon, England
Stayed at: Wild camp just after the lighthouse
Useful shit to know…
- There’s a portaloo at Sandy Lane Carpark. Proper toilets are at Croyde just as you leave the beach, Baggy Point Car Park, and there are loads in Woolacombe.
- There are proper taps in the toilets for your water bottles, or you can ask at the businesses in Croyde Beach and Woolacombe.