Sunday, 23 July 2017

All things English and Coast-Pathy

Day Forty - Brixham to Maidencombe 25.9 km (16.1 miles).
Time on route 7:50hrs, walking time 6:20hrs.

Sunday 16 July 2017
Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 21.29.16
For day 40 and day 41 I was joined on the route by my business partner, Martin.  He is South African so is used to large scenery: the vastness of the Karoo, the huge mountains of the Drakensburg, the gigantic waves rolling in off the Indian Ocean in Durban. I figured the South West Coast Path would be a change with its hidden coves, shady woodland paths, cliff top meadows and cosy tea shops.

We caught the train to Paignton then a bus to Brixham where we picked up the route. Brixham was a little greyer than last time but still sparkling and pleasant.
2017-07-16 _1 Leaving Brixham 6.27
A creative mosaic on the way out.
2017-07-16 _1 Leaving Brixham 9.50
And what looks to be a Banksy.
2017-07-16 _1 Brixham 5
The first cove we came to was Churston: the first of many sharp descents and steep rises of the day.
2017-07-16 _2 Churston Cove
We slightly lost our way by the golf club.  How embarrassing for two chartered surveyors although, to be fair, I was hogging the map so it was all my fault.

Broadsands is an attractive sandy beach enhanced by a medley of stripy beach huts.
2017-07-16 _4 Broadsands 3.05
The first of many hundreds we saw on Sunday.
2017-07-16 _4 Broadsands 9.21
We soon came across the Paignton to Kingswear railway and were rewarded by a steam train huffing past Goodrington Sands.
2017-07-16 _5 Near Goodrington 7.48
2017-07-16 _5 Near Goodrington 8.08
Our route then took us past the conglomerations of Paignton and Torquay.  I felt somewhat overdressed in my walking boots, with my unkempt windswept hair, stomping past all the holiday makers.

Paignton Pier.
2017-07-16 _6 Paignton pier
Although tourist and shopping crowds aren't my favourite SWCP scene it does provide decent refreshment opportunities and we enjoyed a late lunch in Torquay.  Late because I hate breaking the day too early - I like to be at least halfway before I allow myself (or any of my poor walking companions) a stop.
2017-07-16 _4 Torquay
We climbed out of Torbay past Hope's Nose and turned back to look at Hope Cove.
2017-07-16 _7 Hope Cove
What beautiful foliage-covered walls and archway near Black Head.
2017-07-16 _8 Nr Black Head
Although I'd only been able to find accommodation at Babbacombe I wanted to press on so that day 41 wasn't too long.  So we pushed on up past Withy Point grabbing a welcome coke at a tea shop that was just closing.
2017-07-16 _9 Withy Point
Oddicombe Beach followed soon after and I loved the walkways.
2017-07-16 _10 Oddicombe beach
I hadn't realised it had a furnicular so we paused to watch a swap over of these cantilevered rail cars.
2017-07-16 _11 Oddicombe railway 6.27
We stopped at Maidencombe and fell into the Thatched Tavern at 1815 only to find they had closed the bar 15 minutes earlier!  We must have looked desperate (it was a hot day) and they kindly served us a cold wine/beer as we had 45 minutes to wait for our bus back down to Babbacombe.

As ever, it was a wonderful day on the coast path.  And, SWCP, not a bad show-and-tell at all for your visiting South African.  Not only did you deliver the expected coves, glades, meadows, beaches and pier, but you threw in a steam train and a funicular railway.  Nice one.
2017-07-16 Babbacombe

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