South West Coast Path 2011 – Day 6

River Yealm to Plymouth

After some hopeless navigation on the part of the taxi driver, we were eventually dropped in the lane to New Barton farm, then we walked down the track to Warren Point, where the SWCP resumes on the west side of the river Yealm.

Given the weather forecast for a breezy day and rain by lunchtime, the goal today was to try to get the walk done without getting wet.

The walk soon picked up the patterns of previous days – around the cliffs largely maintaining the same level except to drop down into the bays. And despite shedding one rucksack and lots of weight from the rest, we weren’t that much faster.

Soon we were descending into Wembury where we paused and watched the surf surging in onto the beach, then off again taking a path a little up the cliffs. Heybrook Bay came and went and before long the next descent into Bovisand was happening.

Now we had our biggest climb of the day onto the cliff above Bovisand Fort and soon after stopped for coffee.

Resuming we descended into a wood, passed a tramp sleeping on the steps, and shortly after met with a high metal fence blocking the path, with a notice that the path is closed for safety reasons. Beyond the fence was open grass and clearly perfectly ok. “B******* to that”, I said, ignoring the fence and sign and forcing my way around the fence.

On the other side it was obvious that the supposedly unsafe part that was closed was the bit we’d already come through and which had no sign or diversion at the other end.

Also on this side we saw the first of a variety of styles of SWCP markers.

We continued on our way above Jennycliff Bay and soon hit the roads that were to be our walking surface for the rest of the walk. We cut off the corner of Mount Batten and slogged our way through Turnchapel, Oreston and up to the A379 bridge, enjoying plenty of industrial estates along the way. A further slog through Cattedown brought us to the bridge by the Aquarium and then we were in the Barbican looking across at where we’d been about 2 hours before, despite it only being a few hundred yards away on the other side of the water. A few minutes later we were on the Hoe where we ended this year’s walk by Smeaton’s Tower, just as the drizzle started.

Distance: 19.85km
Ascent: 220m
Descent: 311m
Walking Time: 4 hrs 24 mins

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