South West Coast Path 2011

Preparing for the walk.

The 4th year of the walk has arrived and when I started planning it, it looked like it would be bothersome. With each successive year, we have to travel further at the start and end of the walk, which reduces our itinerary options and restricts how far we can walk on the first and last days. And this year we’ve got several river crossings to do, including one which involves either wading at low tide or an 8 mile detour.

And that was before I started looking at accommodation options. When I did I found very little to choose from in the part between Salcombe and Wembury and I had several plays with the daily walk distances and ascents to see how it could be broken down sensibly over a reasonable number of days, factor in the river crossings, and end each day somewhere with accommodation and a pub. Along the way I even looked at doing some or all of the walk in reverse, lengthening days by using baggage transfer and using buses/taxis to take advantage of more populated places inland for overnight accommodation.

But it’s done now, and we’ve ended up with something workable, and moreover I’ve got the per night accommodation cost below last year’s figure, although that is mostly due to the 3 of us sharing one travelodge room for 2 nights.

The walk itself, this year, takes us from Dartmouth to Plymouth and will be about 70 miles and nearly 16,000ft of ascent and descent. We’ve broken it down into 6 days walking, working to achieve a walk of 10 – 14 miles and a maximum of about 3,000ft of ascent on any given full day’s walk, with a bit less on the half day that we travel down to Devon. The daily sections work out as follows:

Day 1: Dartmouth to Torcross (10 miles)
Day 2: Torcross to Salcombe (13 miles)
Day 3: Salcombe to Bantham (11.5 miles)
Day 4: Bantham to nr Modbury (9 miles)
Day 5: nr Modbury to Wembury (14 miles)
Day 6: Wembury to Plymouth (12.5 miles)

I’m all packed and ready to go and have forced myself to take a smallish rucksack, as in previous years, and I’ve taken a gamble that it won’t rain heavily for days on end, as I’m using my softshell rather than traditional waterproofs. This worked well in 2009 which was wet. At the moment the forecast looks ok….

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