Last night’s pitch was actually okay despite reservations we’d end up crumpled at the bottom of the tent, or our pegs would trip someone up. No-one actually walked by and it turned out to be perfectly acceptably slopey. We were woken up at about 4.30am though by an angry deer barking at us. I guess we’d pitched right in their way. It took us a few minutes to work out that it was actually a deer and not a dog with a sore throat.
It was an emotional time getting around the cliffs into the valley, Tarrant walked in front and I grabbed onto her bag during the particularly hairy parts which also meant my arm blocked my view of the certain death to the left of me. Works for me. It was slow going on account of the fact I am a massive pussy and had to stop a lot to vocally panic but eventually we made it to the National Trust toilets, just in the nick of time.
The cliff related horror didn’t stop there either, we had a long old climb back up the other side of the valley with varying degrees of fuck my life to the left. Cliffs eventually gave way to woodland and we were grateful for the shade, then just before Lynton we were steered through an area called The Valley of Rocks which is exactly what it sounds like and your eyeholes will be so fucking happy. The path along here was also nice and wide and beautifully maintained. Hooray for tourist attractions.
We ended up using all of our faff time in Lynton. To be fair we needed to pop into the town do some shopping at Londis but we were also really fucking hungry and there was a lovely, big café just opposite the shop with plenty of room for two sweaty lesbians and their overstuffed backpacks. Go on then, one last cream tea before we leave Devon. It’d be rude not to.
Once we’d finished up there it was basically lunch time. We were looking for a bench and spotted the church. Churches always have benches, right? Well this bugger had a whole picnic area around the side, right in the sunshine. Absolutely brilliant. We basked there for a while, shovelling wraps into our chops whilst a seagull got closer and closer. Just Iike being at home really, except a Brighton seagull would just swoop in and take it off you.
The waddle down into Lynmouth was a hard one, I’m glad we didn’t have to come up this fucker, and after that today was hard fucking work, I’m not going to lie. The hills were brutal and there were plenty of them to keep our calf muscles entertained, and the heat just sapped our energy. We passed a lot of day hikers today, mostly older couples who’d cheerfully stroll by us with a, “Lovely day for it!” and of course I’m British so I’d reply with, “ABSOLUTELY!!!” in capital letters and extra exclamation marks and my bestest smile. Actually, no. No it’s fucking not. It’s too bastard hot. I just want a cloud or a cool breeze or something.
We were in woodland for the majority of today too so it was just a viewless slog but we were happy about the shade. It was just a way to get closer to Minehead, as long as we were within fifteen miles of the town we’d be fine so once we’d hit that marker we started looking to camp.
We knew it was going to be a ballache trying find a spot to squeeze a two human tent tonight too, you can tell by looking at the contours. There’s often a little space you can’t see on a map but tonight there really wasn’t. One spot looked promising until we put the groundsheet down and realised it was way too small. Seriously, we’ve been doing this for two months now, you’d think we’d have worked out how big our tent it.
We plodded on, the woodland was steep on both sides with no camping opportunities at all. We took it in turns to pop down side roads to see if they led anywhere interesting but fucked that off when I came back covered in ticks scouring my tasty flesh for a space to bury their horrible little heads. I got them off before they embedded themselves so they don’t count towards my tick tally.
We decided to head towards a church we’d seen on the map but about ¾ of a mile before we got there we found a patch on the side of the trail juuuuust about big enough. Okay so we couldn’t get the pegs in properly but this is one the reasons we opted for a freestanding tent. There’d be no rain tonight and we were sheltered from any wind that might occur so the tent didn’t need to be taut. It was very much a “we’re tired and everything hurts” kind of pitch.
The fucking flies though, these horrible little things, all hell bent on getting in all of my head holes. I doused myself and Tarrant in DEET and as soon as the tent was up we got in it. We were chatting to another hiker today who only has a single skin trekking pole tent. I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to, the weight savings are immense, but the more research I did the more I realised that I wanted an inner. I guess I’m a pretty pretty princess and I like to be comfortable and my poor knees are the ones that have to pay the price.
Trentishoe, Devon to Culbone, Somerset, England
Stayed at: Wild camp in Culbone Wood
Useful shit to know…
- Toilets are at by the car park next to the Hunter’s Inn pub. Also near Lee Abbey, Vallry of Rocks, and in Lynton and Lynmouth.
- There’s a stream in the valley ar Heddon Mouth which you can filter water from. The pub will probably fill up your bottles too. Plenty of pubs and cafés in Lynmouth and Lynton, and there’s a drinking water tap outside the Ladies in Lynmouth.