Rugged Tales

Wherever my feet may take me…


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Four seasons in one day

This being the UK, hot weather of course cannot last. After a fine start, by 8am the clouds were rolling in and the breeze noticeably freshening. After walking in the heat for the last two days I was keener than usual to see some cooler weather arrive. As we rounded Windberry Point, looking back towards Blackchurch Rock, I was rather enjoying the clouds and cool wind – pleasantly soothing for the heat rash on my hands and the slight sunburn on my forearms.

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But when heavy rain set in it quickly became less fun, and we ate our lunch huddled beneath a ‘sun’ umbrella at the refreshment kiosk at Hartland Point – the only shelter for miles around. The weather was so filthy, potentially making the six steep ascents and descents ahead of us horribly slippery, that we seriously considered getting a taxi! But spurred on by a promising little patch of blue sky opening up, we decided to press on.

It turned out to be the right call. The clouds broke up, the sun started to filter through and the final cliffs were not as bad as I’d feared.

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By the time I said goodbye to Claire, full of delicious pub food at The Hartland Quay hotel, it had turned into a glorious evening.

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Bathed in the golden evening sunshine, the path ahead looks inviting, but tomorrow’s walk is reputed to be one of the toughest days of the whole walk. Fingers crossed…


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Feeling the heat

After exploring the coast round Barnstaple from every conceivable angle, today I struck out for pastures new, joined for the weekend by my friend Claire. An improbably long walk around the golf course from Appledore to Westward Ho! set the tone for the day: much longer and more arduous than we had expected. Fortunately, although not as quaint as Appledore, Westward Ho! had all the amenities essential in a seaside resort, including rows of colourful beach huts and a Hockings ice-cream van. Topped with an almost equal quantity of clotted cream, I felt sure this Devon speciality would power me up any number of cliffs!

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Fortunate, then, that we had eaten some as Claire and I clambered up cliff and down gully in the boiling heat. At least there was a fresh sea breeze to help cool us down now that we were back on the coast after my inland foray to Barnstaple.

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After a mercifully flat(ish) section along shady Hobby Drive we arrived in Clovelly for dinner – even quainter and more picturesque than Appledore.

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Picking our way down the steep cobbled High Street was hard enough: climbing back up to the campsite at Higher Clovelly after such a long day was even harder. We pitched our tents in the gathering dusk, trying (with limited success) to dodge the midges, and dozed off listening to the band playing old favourites at a wedding reception across the road. I would probably have slept through Armageddon after such a tiring day!