Day 64 – Culbone to Minehead

Today’s the day! We’re going to smash out the last twelve miles of the South West Coast Path! Straight there, no faffing! We packed the tent down whilst trying to swallow as few tiny flies as possible and made our way through the woods to St Beuno’s Church which was going to be our last resort destination last night if we’d not found a tent-sized flat bit.

St Beuno’s Church

We could easily have slept in there last night if we’d had to. The church was unlocked but even if it wasn’t there was room for two humans in the porch. What a cool little church though! It’s 900 years old. The font is a similar age. I adored it. I love churches anyway (let me be clear; I love churches, not The Church) but this one was outstanding, I couldn’t resist the small detour to look inside. It’s meant to be the smallest parish in England too. Okay, no more faffing. Off we fuck.

The sign on the font reads: “For nearly a thousand years, as shepherd’s put their mark on their lambs, so the children of the Good Shepherd have been baptised at this font.”

It wasn’t much further into Porlock Weir which has all manner of exciting things such as toilets. There are a couple of pubs which seem to have rooms above and people were sat outside enjoying the sun, probably having slept in comfy beds with nice sheets after having a lovely shower rather than in a sweaty tent plonked on the side of a trail whilst being covered in grime and suncream and DEET. God I couldn’t wait to be clean.

Pro tip: Always send your girlfriend into the creepy tunnel first.

It was already bastard hot and it was only 8.30am. Sweat pushed the layers of crap on my face into my eyes. I took the opportunity to have a quick wash after dropping the kids off at the public toilets and enjoyed being clean for the four minutes before I had to put more suncream on. Right! Faff over, let’s go… wait, is that pub open for tea and coffee?

Porlock Weir

An hour we sat there, basking in the rays of the fiery skyball. A whole hour. To be fair I regret nothing, I very much love a tea in the morning. And the afternoon. But we really did have to get going. You leave Porlock Weir via a saltmarsh which was a freshwater marsh and arable land until 1996 when a storm took out the shingle ridge which has kept the tide at bay for years. It’s also flat which means you can get a pace up.

We’d seen the elevation profile, we knew what was coming, maybe this is why we’d spent so long loitering outside the Ship Inn, hoping we didn’t put anyone downwind off their breakfast with our unwashed stench. There was a fuck off great big hill in our future and there was exactly fuck all we could do about it.

“No path ahead due to breach.” They’re referring to the damage done by the 1996 storm.

You can see it for miles of course. It looms. We got to the very pretty village of Bossington where we stalled for time a little bit longer by buying some apple juice from a stand outside someone’s house then we really ran out of excuses. Fine then. Let’s get it over with.

I’m guessing the sudden influx of saltwater killed these trees and made them so photogenic.

It was as brutal as it looked. We’ve walked up steeper hills but this is steep and it’s long. So very long. The heat didn’t help. We stopped frequently to breathe and to wait for our hearts to stop panicking and to question all of our life choices. There’s a bench just near the top which is ideal for dramatically collapsing onto so we did exactly that. A tiny fingerpost advised us we were a mere five miles from Minehead. Thanks, tiny fingerpost.

A slice of Bossington.

You pretty much know by this point that it’s going to be the longest five miles you’ve ever walked. The trail splits a bit further along and you have to choose whether you want to tackle the “rugged coast path” or the easier inland path. Both are official, both are acceptable, and I’d had my fill of rugged coast paths. I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy the view on account of having to hang onto Tarrant whilst trying not to cry. Fuck it, let’s just get there, there’s a tasty, cold motor impairment beverage with my name all over it.

At least you have something to put in your eyeholes whilst you’re halfway up a hill trying not to die.

We stopped by a trig for some lunch and I became lunch for two ticks. Seriously? Why all the ticks all of a sudden? Or have we been picking up hungry hitchhikers the whole way but we’ve only just started noticing? I had to pull one off Tarrant too. Not a euphemism. Definitely going to need do a full body tick check later.


Whilst I will admit that the inland route is hardly inspiring, you can see the coastal route through the bushes every now and then and I did not regret our choice. It looked brutal. Our route might have been a bit “nice ankles, be a shame if something were to happen to them…” but it was more or less what passes for flat around here. Eventually the trails meet again and it’s a plain old slog into Minehead, mercifully downhill then through a park.

South West Coast Path? Completed it, mate.

They’ve gone all out on the finish marker too, it’s a fantastic metal sculpture of a pair of hands holding a map. We took plenty of photos. A couple of people legit stopped to congratulate us which very much pleased Tarrant. She’s run a few marathons and is very much used to being cheered over a finish line and being wrapped in foil and handed a medal. I think these long distance trails are a bit of an anti-climax for her.

Earned it!

Our hotel was only a short distance from the trail. A pint and a shower were in order. I pulled another bloody tick off my stomach in the shower too, the cheeky little fucker. I guess ticks are just our life now. But that’s it then, the South West Coast Path is done and ticked (no pun intended) off. Tomorrow we’ll head about eight miles south to Kingsbridge where we’ll follow the Cicerone End to End guide as far as Chepstow, then we’ll pop down to Sedbury to start the Offa’s Dyke Path.

Day: 64
Day on South West Coast Path: 54
Day on LEJOG: 23
Distance walked today: 12.61 miles
Total walked so far: 834.15 miles
Weather: Scorcher!
Coldest temp last night: 16°C inside / 13.31°C outside
Trigs bagged: 1
Trigs to date: 44
“Have you read ‘The Salt Path?'” (Running Total): 9
Tick tally: Tarrant 2 ; Claire 4

Jump to “Useful shit to know…”

Culbone, Somerset to Minehead, Somerset, England

Stayed at: Stones Hotel & Bar, Minehead

Useful shit to know…

  • There are toilets in Porlock Weir, Bossington and Minehead.
  • Water refills can be done at the pubs in Porlock Weir.
  • It’s worth noting that if the tide is very high the saltmarsh at Porlock Weir will flood as far as the path.

BUDGET for one person (based on two sharing)
Accommodation, Stones, Minehead: £55
Coffee/tea/drinks: £4.08
Pint at Stones: £4.8
Dinner at Duke of Wellington: £11.55
Grand Total: £75.43

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