Carmarthen to Llangain 25.8.15

IMG_1705

I wake up to a much nicer day and head down to the footbridge with the coracle memorial.  Closer up I see that it was put up in memory of a young boy, Cameron Comey, who was swept away by the river last February. Ribbons and football shirts adorn the railings – it’s all a bit sad.

IMG_1669

Retracing my steps past the fiery Welsh dragon at the other end, I follow the path that runs alongside the river on the west bank, under a road bridge and later a striking rail bridge defaced by the usual mindless tags.

IMG_1702

IMG_2470

IMG_2474

After the bridge the landscape opens up into a stretch of parkland where I see horses grazing freely. I watch a man and his fretting dog walk through them with no trouble so I steel myself to do the same. When I was a child my parents arranged to look after pony trekking horses over the winter, so for two years running I spent all my free time riding and taking care of them. At that time I knew my horses well and was almost never nervous but strange horses are different.  IMG_2475

I walk quickly past the horses and although the small white one starts to follow me, he soon gives up and goes back to grazing. I walk on, meeting no-one on the path, until it ends in a metal gate and the back wall of a leisure centre.

Sadly, even after such a short walk, my new cheap boots have given me a blister. I cannot believe my feet and I have no plasters left. Trying not to lose heart I drop in to the leisure centre and ask for a plaster – the lovely girl I talk to rushes off to get one.

Setting off again I follow the ambiguous Welsh coast path sign the wrong way and end up having to clamber over a five bar gate with a big private sign on it – but at least I am now on the right road to Llangain. From now on the walking is on the main road and pretty unpleasant it is. At one point I nearly get run over trying to avoid two huge noisy Alsatian dogs hemmed in by a none too high fence at the side of the road. As I pass they repeatedly hurl themselves at the wire fence – it should not be allowed……

Eventually, when the barking dogs were out of earshot I catch sight of a footpath sign off to the right – this is not marked as the coast path but I am so desperate to get off the road I climb over the stile and into a lovely patch of woodland. The welly sign is a warning of mud ahead but I really don’t care …… IMG_2477

The silence of the wood soothes my ears, still ringing from the sound of cars roaring past at  fifty miles an hour and I am pleased to see that a very thoughtful person has laid out a raised wooden walkway to keep us out of the worst of the muddy ground.IMG_2478

Soon the path rises steeply and coming to an unmarked crossroads I am lucky enough to run into a young man who gives me directions. Coming out of the wood I walk down a wide grassy area and am immediately accosted by an overfriendly pit bull, who despite feeble protestations from his owner, jumps up at me leaving traces of mud and slobber all over the front of my trousers – nice. Muttering silent oaths I come out onto a main road which I follow until the coast path sign becomes apparent on the right hand side of the road.

IMG_2480

I jump over the stile and down into a dank forest – I walk gingerly downwards on the muddy path, it is very peaceful. At the bottom there is a hand carved bench where I stop to investigate the blisters.

IMG_2481

I am by now quite tired and it is starting to look like rain again. Out of the wood the path directs me into a field where over in the top left corner is a herd of cows which look up expectantly as I walk towards them. Not only is it a herd of cows (and bullocks) there is also a huge brown bull with a ring in his nose – I grant him a second’s worth of appreciation for his strong shoulders and tight blond curls before the anxiety kicks in. Fortunately for my nerves I can see that the herd is hemmed in by an electric fence (far too low in my opinion!)  although some of the bullocks are playing “see how far I can go without getting a shock” – some of them do and then bound way snorting indignantly. I stride past the herd, trying not to run, and mercifully quickly the stile appears. By the time I have gathered my wits to take a photograph, the herd has gathered around the bull obscuring my view.

IMG_1688

On the other side of the fence is a pretty grey pony munching away at tree foliage – I take a moment to have a chat and calm down.

IMG_2482

And then the rain starts in earnest – I scrabble around for my rainwear, wobble around for  a while trying to get it on and then walk up the road to Llangain church. Thinking I might find shelter in the church I try the door but it’s locked, so after fifteen minutes of road walking I squelch into the bus shelter on the main road from LLangain to Carmarthen. The timetable says a bus in 20 minutes – it doesn’t take long for me to decide to call it a day, go back to the hotel and curl up with a good book. Tomorrow is another day……

Distance: 5 miles

Kidwelly to Carmarthen 24.8.15

What follows is one and a half days of pain and frustration caused by rain, new boots, menacing cattle and nasty dogs.

The friendly taxi driver and his wife drop me in Kidwelly outside the sparsely stocked village shop. It is pouring with rain. Taking advantage of the shelter in the shop I pull on my waterproof jacket and trousers and take all the necessary precautions for walking in the rain. iPhone and camera are put into small plastic bags and tucked deeply into my rucksack along with the sandwich and chocolate. I stare gloomily out of the glass door, it is not going to get better, might as well get on with it.

Following directions I head up the hill on the road to Ferryside, there are no photos, I dare not take out my camera. After a mile or two the road forks and I head down to the left which takes me closer to the mouth of the River Towey – the Welsh coast path veers off inland but I decide to take the minor road closer to the water. At one point the view opens up and the rain gets lighter – I stop to take a photo across the marshland to my left.IMG_1664 I now follow the tarmac road for quite a while giving me plenty of time to notice the “hot spots” developing on my left foot. I have spanking new boots on, their maiden voyage and they are starting to give me jip. Pretending not to notice the pain, I stride purposefully onwards, “they have to give at some point”, I reason miserably, “they were fine in the shop”………………

The narrow road winds on, I mince from the left to the right hand side of the road, trying to avoid being run over by the surprisingly heavy traffic on this grey Monday morning. Where are they all coming and going from? I soon have my answer.

IMG_1667

I am by now limping so I force myself to sit down on the wet verge and find the blister plasters. These work for a while……….and then not………..and then it starts to rain again.

By the time I get to Ferryside station (where there used to be a ferry over the river) my “waterproof jacket” of 6 years standing has sealed its own fate and my boots are going back to the shop. Dripping from all surfaces I burst into the railway cafe to get a cup of tea only to be turned away as they are too busy to serve people who just want drinks – I summon my best withering look and hobble out the door. Fortunately I spy a pub on the other side of the road which though closed, the landlady takes pity on me and lets me in to a small bar where some locals are quietly breaking the law over a few pints – she makes me tea.

Ferryside developed from being a landing stage on a ferry route to a fishing village and does in fact have a sandy beach. I am not in a position to go exploring and this is the only shot I get before catching the train to Carmarthen to go and sort out some new boots and a new jacket – I leave the old one in a dustbin on the platform – what a pitiful end for an old friend.

IMG_1670

It is too early to give up my walk so after a rapid cull of the two outdoor shops in Carmarthen, which leave a few sales assistants blinking nervously in my wake, I manage to find a jacket on sale and a cheap pair of boots. Suitably armoured I head back to the railway station and after 20 minutes find myself in Ferryside again from where I follow a path next to the railway line until it branches off to the right, winding through fields and past isolated farms. By now the sun has come out and although the new boots are heavy and too big, at least they are not pinching. I settle down into an easy pace on the tarmac but the peace is soon to be broken.

Rounding a corner I am pulled up by the sight and sound of three golden retrievers and a small terrier running directly at me barking furiously. I freeze inside but then notice that the retrievers are wagging their tails – I try the “good boy, I’m not at all frightened approach” and it seems to work for them but the terrier is not having any of it. It continues to bark at me, running round me in ever decreasing circles, I raise my walking pole as if to hit it and to my relief it scuttles off and I take the opportunity to turn up a side track and walk rapidly away from the scene, my heart beating furiously.

When I have recovered from the incident I am pleased to see that my deviation is not serious and that I will soon be on the right track again. It is now late afternoon and the light throws long shadows – the landscape looks like it could have been made of fuzzy felt.

IMG_1677

Eventually I arrive in the pretty village of Croesyceliog where the bus shelter catches my eye.

IMG_1680

IMG_1683

IMG_1681

……….and not too long afterwards I arrive in Carmarthen, past the station and over the bridge. Halfway across is a memorial coracle to a young boy swept away by the river – I will investigate tomorrow, my feet are still hurting.IMG_1686

Distance: 13 miles

Talland Bay to Fowey 16.7.15

My taxi drops me at Talland Bay where I finished yesterday and I head up the path which rises steeply up onto the cliffs. Both my boots and I are praying that it will not rain today as the cracks in the leather are now widening – it is misty at the moment but will clear up later I hope. After a couple of miles the path starts winding down and a pretty little village comes into view. This is Pollperro, which sounds Italian rather than Cornish and in fact it could be anywhere judging by the languages I hear spoken in its streets. This is the entrance to the cove where it looks like some lucky person is having a house built.IMG_2434…..and here is the village…IMG_2439IMG_2437As I walk down the steep narrow street into the village it dawns on me that every other house I walk past is a summer let and closed and shuttered at that. The atmosphere is eerie, tourists laden with cameras stroll quietly, almost reverently, through the streets, necks craned to catch the sights, staring into the windows of small shops selling fudge and pasties – it’s all rather cheerless. I see no-one recognisable as a local.

As I peer round corners trying to spot signs for the path I am accosted by two cheery chaps from somewhere up north who ask first if I know where the path is, then whether I was intending to walk on it and lastly whether I was walking alone – their loud strongly accented voices bounce off the stone walls of the village square making heads turn in our direction. With as much politeness as I can muster I reply in the negative to the first question and make short work of the last two. “You know it’s pretty hard going from now on, don’t you?” one of them says – is he offering me a piggy back? I think. Anyway, I let them go, waiting for 10 minutes to make sure they are well ahead of me – I’m not generally Miss Misanthrope but I do like to walk on my own.IMG_2443So, finding the path hidden behind a small house I climb back up onto the cliffs again and follow the path as it dips up, down and around the curves of the coast. IMG_2445There are indeed some very steep climbs which leave me gasping but none as trying as those just after Durdle Door on that fateful day when I twisted my ankle.

At one point I walk past what looks like a chimney from far away but as I get closer I realise it has no recognisable features – no hole at the top, no windows, no plaque. I have since looked it up and discovered that it was used as a navigation aid for sailors (and smugglers no doubt as by the mid eighteenth century 50-60% of all alcohol consumed had been illegally brought in by ship via the Devonshire and Cornish coast.)IMG_2447Up until this point the path has been quite well marked but here I am faced with a choice of down or up. I decide to take what looks like the easy option (usually not the best idea) but after 10 minutes walking it peters out into grass and stone and I can see no way forward. Turning around I see a woman of my age and her daughter stopped and hesitating behind me and I realise that they probably thought I knew the way. We stop to talk – they are German and the mother looks exhausted. Her daughter on the other hand is bright as a button and sets the pace back to the fork and on up into the craggy stones. I follow, keeping a respectable distance, but have to keep stopping as Mutter seems to be having trouble keeping up. IMG_2452Round the next bend I am treated to the most wonderful view of Lantivet Bay, which from up here looks like a tropical beach.IMG_2453It is now very hot and I am sorely tempted to go for a swim despite the thought of the long heave back up to the path. As I stand deliberating a man and his family squeeze past me and ask whether I’m thinking of going down to the beach. I tell them why I am in two minds but he manages to persuade me and 10 minutes later I am being tossed around in what turns out to be quite chilly water on what also turns out to be quite a stoney beach – how deceptive appearances can be. Despite these slight disappointments the swim is  invigorating and I give myself 15 minutes to dry off and enjoy the sun – I also make a friend.IMG_1510Back up on the cliff top it doesn’t take long before I see signs of civilisation – the outskirts of Polruan – what a view the people who own this house have.IMG_2458Walking down into the village I suddenly become aware of a rustling in the bushes to the left of me – a rabbit is sat there calmy nibbling away at the grass. It looks a little battered and I suppose it must be poorly as it makes no attempt to run away…….do we still have rabbits with myxomatosis? IMG_2457Anyway, I leave it alone and continue down into the village where I can get a ferry over the river to Fowey.IMG_2459Polruan feels like an authentic Cornish town, it has a working dock and solid buildings – there are also a lot more Cornish accents to be heard. I pop into the local pub for a swift half while waiting for the ferry and am tempted to ask the publican what type of steroids he was using for his window boxes. IMG_1514The ferry arrives and as we leave to cross the river we pass a beautiful wooden sailing ship. IMG_2466

IMG_2462Halfway across, another traditional looking sailing boat crosses our path – someone is suspended from the front mast. Research tells me that this is a boat owned by a company that offers sailing holidays. It is called a pilot cutter and I think the mast extended from the front is called a bowsprit. The trip is from Brixham to Fowey and is open to beginners…..I wonder. IMG_2468I check into a pub in the harbour and later eat the best scallops I have ever tasted – a fitting end to three days walking.

Distance: 10 miles

Portwrinkle to Talland Bay 15.7.15

The walk up and out of Portwrinkle is very steep and there is a slight drizzle – I stop to ask directions of an old lady who looks a lot like my Welsh grandmother and we have a little moan about the weather. IMG_2402At the top the path levels out and the rain stops – I have time to look around me.IMG_2404 I don’t know what this plant is but the small creamy bell like petals catch my eye.IMG_2405A while later I can see the village of Downderry below me and in the distance what I believe is my destination for today – Looe complete with island.IMG_2406The path winds around the back of Downderry and then runs alongside a few houses – I turn left at this signpost and make for the beach where I stop for a drink at the beach cafe. The tide is way out so I make a few enquiries about the feasibility of walking all the way along the beach to Looe. One remark is enough to stop me worrying “Well it can get a bit rocky, but if my mother can do it so can you” says a woman in her thirties.  I set off.IMG_2407I soon leave the dog walkers and day trippers behind and find myself alone.IMG_2409The beach reminds me of the one between Penarth (where my parents used to live) and Cardiff. There is a lot of pink and grey stone…….IMG_2410

IMG_2413…..and a little later I am forced to scramble over some very large boulders, keeping a wary eye on the advancing tide.  IMG_2411After what seems like an eternity the beach levels out and I start hearing voices of children playing – I have arrived at Millendreath Beach. One little girl is trying to bury her brother in what can only be called mud now – up to his neck in it. They are having such fun but I don’t feel comfortable taking close-up photos of other people’s children. IMG_2416It is very hot and the water looks so tempting that I lean my walking pole against a rock, take off my boots and paddle.  I then walk about 100 yards up the beach before realising that my pole is missing – back I go. I really must get into the habit of looking behind me every time I make a move – I am getting a little forgetful.

As I move onto the terrace of the beach cafe a young girl is coming out on her own with quite a large pack on her back. I ask her if she’s doing the South West Coast Path, which she is, and yet again I’m told that I’m doing it the wrong way round – most people do it anti-clockwise but I have another agenda. Anyway, we exchange bits of information about paths and ferries and say goodbye. She gathers her poles and sets off slowly and purposefully up the steep hill – not as lucky as me, as the tide is now in, cutting off the beach. She is the third woman I have met out walking alone since I started back in 2011. IMG_2417Climbing steeply up the other side it doesn’t take long walking along the top of the cliffs before I can see East Looe below me.IMG_2418The path winds down into the town and spits me out onto a bustling high street full of tourists. I stand blinking in confusion feeling like an alien just landed from another planet but quickly adjust – enough to head straight into the Oxfam shop for a pair of shorts and a swimming costume, both of which I did not pack. I then find the ferry over to West Looe and my B&B where I equip myself more appropriately for the hot day and set off towards Hannafore Point and Talland Bay.IMG_2421Walking up to Hannofore Point involves a narrow very busy tarmac road – I spend my time dodging pedestrians and cars.IMG_2423At the top people are flopped in deck chairs taking in the view across to the island – or having an afternoon snooze. I am tempted to join them but it’s too early to stop now. IMG_2424

IMG_2426The rest of the walk along the top of the cliffs is very pleasant but very hot – and I have no water with me. By the time I get to Talland Bay and the very welcome beach cafe I am parched. As I stand waiting my turn, the man in front of me is served what looks like a very cold shandy – bubbles gently rise to the surface, the glass is frosty, I pant. When asked I find myself replying with the classic “I’ll have what he’s having” “Bless you” the lady behind  the bar says, “You look like like you need it” “Bless you” I think.

Distance: 13 miles

Cawsand to Portwrinkle 14.7.15

Right outside my window the Cawsand ferry awaits in the morning mist – I walk down the ramp in a gentle drizzle.IMG_2378The Barbican looks menacing on this grey day and the sight of the two ferrymen bent over the engine of the small boat is a bit of a worry.IMG_2380IMG_2382….but all is well, the ferry leaves on time and we soon leave Plymouth behind.IMG_2384I am the only passenger so I find a dry place to sit on a bench just inside the cabin. As we leave the shelter of the harbour the sea gets choppy and when I stand up to take a photo of Drake’s Island I nearly lose my balance. Not wanting to embarrass myself in front of the two young men manning the boat, I identify a good handhold and hang on trying to look as unmoved as possible by the rocking of the boat. Eventually I sit down and watch one of the men calmly swabbing the decks, perfectly poised against the rolling of the waves.  IMG_2385The crossing takes 30 minutes and as we approach Cawsand I notice one of the men starting to take off his trousers – I look pointedly in the other direction. When I turn round I see he has changed into swimming shorts and is standing at the front of the boat ready to jump off into the shallows, run up the beach and fetch the metal passenger ramp. Two seconds later I hear a moan of dismay as he realises that just where he is planning to hop off there is a deep hole in the seabed. There is no way around it so he jumps and wades in, up to his knees in cold water – the captain chuckles.IMG_2392

IMG_2393IMG_2395Leaving the ferry behind I walk up into the village looking for a shop as I know there will not be many watering holes for a while. I pass some very pretty houses a lot of them painted in the fashionable muted colours of the middle classes – even the public toilets are decorated with vases of dried flowers and prints on the walls.IMG_2396The path out of the village winds up through some lovely woodland and as I stand deliberating at a fork in the road two young girls come bouncing past and put me on the right track to Rame Head.IMG_2397At one point I pass a huge stone with patterns inscribed on its surface, which puts me in mind of the modern runic stones of Christiania where I used to live. IMG_2399And a little later it all goes horribly wrong……..I have no idea how it happened and I’m not going to blame it on the German family who gave me directions, but all of a sudden I realise that I have strayed from the coast path and am now on a minor road which would cut out Rame Head altogether. I stand at a crossroads, undecided, my iPhone has no service so I can’t track my position and the paper map is not precise enough. So I follow my nose and backtrack up the tarmac to another crossroads, where I take what I feel is a road in the right direction. All of this has wasted a lot of time and the mist has got thicker, compounding my sense of disorientation.

I eventually arrive at the look out station on Rame Head and pop my head in to ask how to pick up the path again. A friendly looking Scotsman answers my query with a twinkle in his eye “The path, och aye that’s just over there” he says, pointing towards a bank of thick fog. I am not convinced until he takes me a few steps forward and tries to get me to see the outline of a stone wall in the distance, adding that I’d be alright if I just kept to the left of it. What to do? I set off with my heart in my mouth, his parting remark ringing in my ears “Not too many cliffs to fall over that way” Ha ha.

From now on there will be very few photos, the rain starts in earnest and although I can hear the sea I can’t see it, in fact I can’t see further than fifty yards ahead of me. On I go following the narrow path which twists and turns, through prickly bushes and dripping ferns. I try singing to keep my spirits up, but as I was planning to learn the words for our choir’s concert when I came back from walking, I content myself with some humming.

Eventually the path leads up to the road and as I am in dire need of sustenance I decide to abandon the path and walk along the road to the next village where I am sure there will be somewhere for a cup of tea. Just in front of me a couple cross the road to their car and offer me a lift – I decline “I’m afraid it’s not in the rules” – they laugh. A minute later they pass me, slow down and ask me again and when I explain that I was hoping to get to Freathy for lunch they laugh again, point to a narrow opening on the other side of the road with a sign pointing down the bank. “There’s your pitstop right behind you” says the woman with a friendly smile – I had not seen the sign in the mist and rain.

And here it is, the wonderful Cliff Top Cafe on a sunny day…….Scanned Image 152050004 I walk gratefully into the steaming fug of the wooden building, peel off my sodden clothes and order scrambled eggs on toast with a mug of tea – heaven.

It does not take long for my clothes to dry so I soon drag myself away from the warm sanctuary and go out into the rain again. This time I take the path which takes me past small enclaves of wooden summerhouses that fringe Whitsand Bay – just like the ones in Denmark.IMG_1505Here they are – The Whitsanders – I want to be one………………………..Scanned Image 152050003A little later the path dips down to the left and I am faced with the entrance to Tregantle Fort which can only be accessed at weekends and public holidays, according to the Internet. Today is Tuesday but I see no red flag flying and after a bit of deliberation I decide to chance it – surely nobody can shoot in this weather?

Walking down the tarmac road I do not see the fort until it looms up out of the mist to the right of me. There is an eerie silence, the only sound is that of my boots hitting the tarmac, the deep set windows like eyes following my progress. IMG_1508The road then crosses a wide open meadow bordered with signs bearing stern warnings not to stray from the path.IMG_1509Coming out of MOD territory the landscape opens up and I get to see the sea again, sharp, jagged rocks are lined up on the beach like ships ready to do battle. IMG_1506The rest of the walk is gentle, the grassy path eventually crossing a golf course and then a steep road down into Periwinkle. I am still very damp and the rain today has confirmed that my leather boots of six years standing have now reached the end of their days. I am really looking forward to a hot bath and I hope the weather will be better tomorrow.

Distance: 11 miles

Wembury to Cawsand 29.5.15

The following morning I am back on Wembury Beach having been given a lift by my BnB hosts. The Great Mew Stone still dominates the horizon – it is slightly misty. IMG_2315From the beach I head up onto the cliffs and walk past an information board. This gives me the history of the Mew Stone which differs from the Wiki – I prefer the following version. In 1744 a local man was interned on the island for a minor crime (it was cheaper than sending him to Australia), where he lived with his family for seven years. He never left the island but his daughter must have, (unless her suitors came to her) because she married and raised three children. She was known locally as Black Joan – it was not clear why……..

Rain has been forecast and I although I can feel it in the air I have been putting off struggling into my waterproofs for as long as possible. There is nothing more annoying than stopping to take off your rucksack, get out the rain clothes, stand on one foot, trying to get a walking boot into a tight leg of the trousers, lose your balance, get your foot wet, and then have to do it again with the other leg. Eventually you’re done and you can walk on for five minutes which is roughly when the rain stops and because you don’t want to go through the whole rigmarole again, you walk as long as possible before your body temperature reaches sauna point and you have to stop again to take them off. This is exactly what happened, although the rain was quite a downpour so my precautions felt justified. After a while I reach Bovisand Bay, home to a substantial holiday village and a fort, both equally drear.IMG_2320 IMG_2319I circle the bay and just before the fort I spy the familiar acorn signpost indicating the coastal path. I walk up the stone steps and across a bridge, skirting the fort. IMG_2325 IMG_2326From here I follow a clear path along the top of the cliffs and rounding a corner I am treated to a wonderful view of Plymouth Sound and the mound of Mount Batten. This is where I’ll be getting the ferry across to the centre of Plymouth.IMG_2328The path continues to follow the edge of the cliff eventually dipping steeply down into a stretch of woodland.IMG_2331Even bent double, low branches claw at my rucksack and in some places I am forced to take it off…..IMG_2333At one point the woods open out into parkland, marked by this sign – I find myself wondering how long it will be before the letters become indecipherable.IMG_2335   IMG_2336A few naval ships chug past and off to the right a flock of small sailing boats, which I think are called “bugs”, flit around in tight circles – there are frequent capsizings from which they seem to recover remarkably quickly.  IMG_2337Further on I am pleased to see a large milestone indicating the South West Coastal Path, I have really been spoiled since I started the path in Swanage. Those days of wandering around in carparks or by the side of a motorway, miles inland, seem so long ago, but of course they will come again – take Liverpool just as an example. By now I am starting to get really hot and hungry so I am relieved to see the Mounbatten ferry approaching the metal walkway. With such a prestigious name I had expected something grander than the grubby little yellow motor boat – the grumpy captain was also a bit of a disappointment. IMG_2342   IMG_2344On the other side I am sucked into waves of tourists milling about on the quay – having seen or heard very few people all morning it’s quite a culture shock. I stop and rest on  a bench beneath this fish sculpture.IMG_2345Having gathered my wits I head off to my BnB to lighten my rucksack and find something to eat before setting off for the rest of today’s journey. Following directions I have quite a long walk down to the Cremyll ferry – the route takes me past the expanse of the international ferry dock which Damian and I drove through some years ago on our way to Santander. In contrast my landing stage is small, tucked down a side street – I arrive to find the ferry just leaving. It is only fifteen minutes to the next ferry but I am now worrying I may arrive too late at my destination to get the bus back to Plymouth. IMG_2347In due time it arrives and after an all too short crossing (I love ferries) it deposits me on the edge of Edgcumbe Country Park – I am now in Cornwall!IMG_2350Walking through the gates of the country park I take a little detour around the ornamental gardens, but soon catch up with the coast path, which runs along the shoreline.  IMG_2351IMG_2352   IMG_2356The park is beautiful and the track easy to follow, I manage to relax about getting to Cawsand on time. I soon leave the chattering crowds behind and enter the hush of a stretch of beautiful woodland.IMG_2358There are bluebells and small stone shelters, the earth is red.IMG_2363There are also quite a lot of uprooted trees – could it be the wind that could tears them so brutally from the earth?IMG_2362This one looks like it may be the next one to fall…..IMG_2368Out of the wood and into the sunshine I walk past some kids collecting ferns. “What are you going to use those for?” I was curious. “They’re for the roof of our shelter” one of the boys replies, having decided that I was safe to talk to – building shelters, it’s in our DNA.IMG_2370At last I top a hill and can look down on Kingsand/Cawsand which looks like interesting little villages. There is something French about the pastel coloured houses and the way the houses merge with the rocks and the harbour wall. I head down the steep narrow streets to a pub on the waterfront – there are a few Devonshire accents but most are home counties. After making enquiries about the bus I realise I have 20 minutes before the bus goes – just time for a half of local ale.

Jawbone says 12 miles.

Lambside to Wembury 28.5.15

Driving a bit too fast down very narrow country lanes, my taxi turns a corner, comes face to face with a police car and screeches to a halt – we have stopped exactly where I want to get off – amazing.IMG_2280Down a grassy path lined with a whole array of wild flowers that I can’t name, I emerge back onto the coast path and am soon overlooking Stoke Beach. There is a caravan/chalet park spilling onto the beach and a sign to the ancient St.Peter’s church – I decide not to investigate as time is pressing.IMG_2283Up to my right I pass an empty building “ripe for refurbishment” but this is National Trust land so it is only the sheep who will benefit from the wonderful views over the bay.IMG_2284Turning a corner I catch sight of the Great Mew Stone off Gara Point and behind what must be the coast of Cornwall.IMG_2286The path continues to meander through swathes of buttercups and daises, the sun still out although dark clouds are massing. At one point the path passes below a beautiful low level house – this is Warren Cottage which is a listed building and was apparently used as a summerhouse for Lord Revelstoke, a local squire.IMG_2287Passing through a gate I spy a group of young cows/bullocks frolicking about off to my left. There is no way around them so gritting my teeth I quicken my pace and march confidently ahead. I know there is no way they can seriously harm me (I think) but it is a little disconcerting to be charged by a herd of cows albeit playfully.IMG_2288  Some time later the path dips down off the cliffs and I enter a calm cool world of dappled light and bluebells – it is here I meet red earth again, the last time I remember seeing it was in Dawlish.IMG_2290 To my left is the River Yealm, I am now approaching Nos Mayo where I intend to have a late lunch. IMG_2291At one point I pass a very well preserved sign for the Yealm Ferry which obviously used to be much bigger than the one i will be taking today – no room for a pony nowadays.IMG_2292 The woodland opens up to reveal more small boats moored in the estuary – the path becomes a tarmac road lined with beautiful houses overlooking the water – this one caught my eye.IMG_2293   IMG_2296Finally, as my feet are now starting to complain, I arrive at the Ship Inn in Nos Mayo – this photograph is taken from a table outside and looking across the river to Newton Ferrers. I abandon lunch and go for rhubarb crumble and custard which is heavenly. IMG_2298 Fortified I walk back up to the road to the Yealm Ferry, the crossing takes 2-3 minutes and is the last crossing for the day. I will have to rely on the local bus to get back to my B&B which is just outside Nos Mayo. IMG_2300Alighting from the ferry I follow a well marked path from Warren Point, stopping to take photographs of the estuary from the other side. I catch glimpses of the water – a dazzling shade of turquoise and out to sea the Great Mew Stone guarding the entrance to the estuary.IMG_2302 IMG_2303I walk towards Wembury, ignoring the path off to the village and continue on the one that will take me down to the beach from where I hope I can get a bus back to Nos Mayo. After a while the roof and tower of Wembury Church come into view – I wander in to take a look, pleased that it is open, so many are locked nowadays.IMG_2309 IMG_2310There are a few families on the beach at Wembury enjoying the late afternoon sun and a small cafe. I have missed the last bus and there hasn’t been signal on my mobile for a while – I will need to call a taxi. I am directed towards a telephone box that doesn’t work so my only option is to walk to the village and find a pub. Asking a local I am told there are shops and a pub “just up the road”. I think he must have been visualising a car journey as 25 minutes later up a steep road I still haven’t seen any signs of the shops or the pub. Eventually the pub sign comes into view but the pub is closed. Forlornly I knock on the door and a cheery woman opens up with a smile. She then allows me to use the phone and buy a drink. We spend the 10 minutes before the taxi arrives discussing the dearth of mobile phone masts in the area and the consequences for farmers, taxi firms and holiday makers. It has been a long but lovely walk today.

Jawbone says: 12 miles