Thursday, 10 May 2012

Coastwalk , South West Coast Path

Hartland Quay → Morwenstow

boots-in-mud.png Distance: 9.16 miles
Ascent: 923 metres
Duration: 4 hours 23 minutes

« Clovelly | Bude »

Yesterday we rested. No, that's not right. Yesterday we paid respect. Gran's husband Arthur died last week at the age of 103 and with the funeral just the other side of Devon in Teignmouth we were pleased to be able to join those giving thanks for his life.

st-catherines-tor.pngNeither of us was in a particularly great mood for a walk, with myriad thoughts still swimming around after yesterday's gentle service.

Water has been with us all day today, and not just in the form of the sea and the constant rain.

spekes-mill-mouth.pngA short distance from the start we came across the stunning waterfall at Speke's Hill Mouth. "This," said Emma, "has made up for all the rain". We'd barely been going half an hour, and I think by the end of the walk she may have chosen to temper those words.

embury-beacon.pngAfter a few miles of nearly level cliff-top walking we reached Embury Beacon where a solitary hardy soul was taking refuge in their car while on a break from sifting the earth at an archaeological dig. This is not the weather for kneeling in a trench all day.

stepping-stones.pngAnd then it was down to sea level again, to the stepping stones at Welcombe Mouth. The rain had swollen the brook so much that one of the stones was completely submerged, and with a torrent of water coming down the valley and a steep drop just downstream we reluctantly decided to detour half a mile upstream to a road where we could cross more safely.

cornwall-border.pngUp again, and down again. The pattern for the day was set. The next valley carries Marsland Water to Marsland Mouth, and with it the border between Devon and Cornwall. We slid most of the way down, somehow staying on our feet.

henna-cliff.pngThe end was in sight, but with a few more small valleys to cross. Eventually we summited Henna Cliff, and saw the tower of Morwenstow Church. We also met a group of walkers heading north. They'd started from Bude and were determined to make it to Hartland Quay before the end of the day. I didn't like to tell them how glad I was that we'd chosen to split that long stretch in two, and that we were about to stop.

It had been a long, wet day. Thankfully we had chosen our destination well: after discarding gaiters at the car, the cream teas in Morwenstow vicarage tea-room were a very satisfying reward.

Posted by pab at 17:33 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!