Rugged Tales

Wherever my feet may take me…


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A long way round

I thought yesterday that the Coast Path was a circuitous way to end up five miles from where I started, but today I walked 20 miles to end up within sight yesterday’s lunch stop! My longest walk of the trip so far took me round two estuaries: from Chivenor into Barnstaple and back the other side of the River Taw then down to East-the-Water, across the River Torridge to Bideford, and back up again.

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I ended the day in Appledore, which I glimpsed yesterday through drifting sea mists from Crow Point (at the southern tip of Braunton Burrows). Approaching Instow today I got a clearer view of Appledore to the left and Crow Point to the right and realised that if I hadn’t been so prescriptive about my mode of transport I could have swim across in a fraction of the time!

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My route today mostly followed the Tarka Trail cycle path along old railway track beds – always easy to navigate, sometimes boring, and occasionally alarming as cyclists streaked past without warning. At least there were no hills to contend with. Some of the cuttings even offered a little shade for which I was very grateful as the weather had suddenly turned hot. At around 30 degrees by one forecast, it was only the breeze and the odd patches of shade that kept me going.

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When I reached it, Appledore provided my most enjoyable evening to date, chatting with a couple of groups of people from the village in a wonderfully friendly pub on the harbour front as the high tide lapped against the sea wall and the tropical heat of the day gave way to a balmy peach sunset. Maybe I’ll give up all this walking and just relax here for a bit…

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Circumlocutions

Waking up this morning in Croyde village I was just 5 miles or so from my destination of Braunton – if I could go by the direct route. Via the Coast Path, and adding in a mile to get back to it from the village, two miles round Baggy Point (which I bypassed yesterday as it was getting late) and another mile detouring back into the village again when I realised there were no other shops) it was more like 15.

Despite being shrouded in a morning sea fog, the path round Baggy Point was a dramatic walk I’m glad I didn’t miss.

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My detour back to Croyde village also had it’s compensations: an unconventional but delicious breakfast of luxury Devon ice-cream from one of the shops that was closed when I arrived last night and hadn’t yet opened when I left this morning. Between the ice-cream, the beautiful views, the friendly people and a perfect beach, I’d be happy to go back and spend more time in Croyde.

But for now it was time to press on and make my way along the back of Braunton Burrows. A military training area, I was braced for a degree of risk but it came from an unexpected quarter. Lucky the fog had burnt off by then!

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Once the adrenaline had faded, the rest of the day was spent in an unexceptional, flat walk around the River Caen estuary and past the south edge of Braunton.

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The only excitement was the discovery of a Tesco superstore as I skirted the town. Not normally a cause for celebration, but it’s definitely opened up more possibilities for my tea tonight.