Our 10 man and woman working holiday party had decided to go in six different directions on our day off, so this was a walk that I would have to do on my own. However before I had got to the basecamp and the start of the holiday I had already decided that I was going to do a coastal walk. You see there was a little bit of history for me here. As having stayed at the same Prattshayes Farm basecamp for the National Trust some six years prior, our group then had walked the coastal path from Seaton to Sidmouth on the day off (a walk that was basically responsible for me eventually making the transition from runner to walker). Well the plan for this one was to complete the journey and walk from Sidmouth back to the Exmouth basecamp.
What with one thing and another by the time I was dropped off at Sidmouth it was 10.50, by which time the Sun had started to break through with a vengeance (eventually rising to around 70 degrees). After faffing about for a bit on the pier I eventually located the actual coastal path and began the long grassy climb up towards Peak Hill. Occasionally tantalising glimpses of the Sea and cliffs at Sidmouth would appear but for the most part they stayed behind assorted bushes and trees. I was however joined at this point by a large bee, that seemed to accompany me for the rest of the day. The down hill section from here began to take me towards Ladram Bay and the incredible cliffs there (much appreciated by the local Seagull population). So distracted was I at this point that I failed to notice the continuation of the coastal path and instead ended up on the pebble beach (much to the bemusement of two senior citizens, who wondered why some moron was asking them whether the beach itself was the coastal path).
After Leaving Ladram Bay the view of the cliffs and sea became a lot less obstructed, even if I was walking away from the best views. The view on the opposite side of the Sea however was also an attraction in its own right. Climbing up again I passed a pig farm (obviously not an attraction in its own right) before reaching a shell of a building which turned out to be The Brandy Head WWII Observation hut. From there it was a underlating descent down to Budleigh Salterton.
Here one has to take about a mile diversion inland along the Otter Estuary Nature reserve before you can rejoin the path that takes you into Budleigh Salterton. There was a nice little café on the small promenade, and I spent about fifteen minutes there consuming a large cup of coffee and a sticky toffee pudding. When I came out of there the bee was waiting for me to continue the walk. The climb up out of Budleigh Salterton was something else entirely. The thing is it just went on and on and on. Not that I can really illustrate this with a load of stunning pictures as by this time the camera had managed to get a big fingerprint all over its lens (how stupid of it). Worse was soon to follow however as having decided to do a little movie making experiment, the camera’s battery conked out leaving me pictureless for the rest of the holiday.
By this time I was coming far too rapidly to the end of my walk (making me wish I had started it further out at Branscombe as originally planned). Thus once past the Marine firing range and caravan site that is just outside Exmouth I reached the turnstile that I had receed out the previous evening, saying ‘permissive path to Gore Lane’ and ultimately the basecamp. A fantastic and challenging day’s walking in perfect weather.
Rucksack walks since my last blog entry (1 x Six miler).