South West Coast Path 2011 – Day 3

I yelped and recoiled in pain as the warm shower water struck my sunburnt legs. I turned around and then got the full force of the water on my burnt forearms. Yelp! I made the shower a quick one.

Now, a cup of tea and all the biscuits supplied in the room later, I’m lying on my bed writing my blog and listening to the bird song outside – pretty much the only sound apart from the tapping of my fingers on my Blackberry. It’s very quiet here in Bantham – but then it’s not much of a place. The pub doesn’t open for a couple of hours yet, and as we won’t be leaving until quite late tomorrow, it’s going to quite a chillout.

After yesterday’s perfect weather, the first thing we did today was go down into the centre of Salcombe and buy some after sun. As the shops didn’t open until 9, it was in hindsight a bit pointless having breakfast at 7:30, and we had to sit around wasting time before checking out.

Once we did get going though, it was initially a slog along roads to get us out of Salcombe and onto the cliffs near Sharp Tor. After yesterday’s much easier than expected day, I feared the worst for today, but knew that the worst climbs were in the first half of the walk. Thankfully it was cooler than yesterday too. As the day went on the initial dull cloud broke and gave way to predominantly blue skies.

We picked off Sharp Tor and Bolt Head quite quickly and when we sat down for coffee we’d reached Soar Mill Cove where we sat looking at a nasty climb up onto Cathole Cliff. Disturbingly, as we sat drinking coffee we got hit by a few spots of rain and took the gamble that it would stop as abruptly as it had started. It did. When we got going again, we trudged up Cathole Cliff and then it was relatively easy going all the way along the cliffs on Bolberry Down until we reached the point where Bigbury Bay opened up below us – with a view of much of tomorrow’s walk sweeping around to Bigbury where we start tomorrow, and in front of that Thurlestone and Hope Cove.

At this point we’d done about 8 miles and knew we’d broken the back of the walk. A relatively easy descent into Hope Cove got us to our lunch stop close to 1pm. Afterwards we headed back up onto the cliffs to follow them around to Thurlestone, walking alongside the golf course for much of the time. Then we swung right and down to Bantham and arrived at The Sloop just after it had shut for the afternoon. Luckily, we found our way to our rooms.

Distance: 18.92km
Ascent: 405m
Descent: 380m
Walking time: 4 hours 47 mins.

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