South West Coast Path 2011 – Day 2

Torcross to Salcombe

Woken by the sun in my east-facing bedroom window, it stayed with us all day. Having got a slightly earlier breakfast, we were away for 8:50 and with the sun glistening on the sea and blue skies overhead we climbed up the steps to start the first climb of the day.

We were soon descending again into Beesands before repeating the whole exercise over Tinsey Head and down into Hallsands. Despite the horror of the first climb of the day on a full stomach with legs that haven’t warmed up, it had not been as bad yet as I’d anticipated and I was starting to wonder if I’d measured accurately enough with Anquet.

I soon had further clues as we joined the cliffs to walk to Start Point, but instead of a rollercoaster over cliffs and down into coves, we stayed pretty much partway up the cliff all the way round, not quite gaining the heights originally expected. No one was complaining though.

Start Point
Start Point (a rough and ready sketch whilst walking the SWCP)

Soon after we rounded Start Point we stopped for coffee overlooking the rocks. Then we worked our way around the cliffs to Lannacombe Beach, which had a large group of people on it, meaning we didn’t linger. By now we’d fallen into our usual walking order: My brother, who does ascents in one go to get them done, tends to end up at the front; my dad in the middle; and me at the back as I stop more often to take photos, although on a longer ascent I catch my dad up and on descent I catch them both. We continued in this way for most of the day, with my brother at times being quite far ahead.

We got to Prawle Point and having not got lunch yet and having opted not to walk the half a mile uphill into East Prawle, we looked for somewhere to take a break. Eventually we found a grassy patch overlooking Gammon Head.

The afternoon stretch started with a climb over Gammon Head but soon settled back into it’s halfway up the cliff pattern. And now we could see teasing glimpses of the southern end of Salcombe. Nearing the point where we would turn into the Kingsbridge estuary, it started to feel more of a slog as we sensed the end of the day’s walk. But eventually we made it to the ferry where in a small open boat we were carried across to Salcombe.

Then we climbed steeply up the hillside to find our B&B which was deserted. An hour later we got in, had a cup of tea, showered and then went for dinner, the return journey from which was even steeper when we found steps straight up the hillside.

Distance: 21.43 km
Ascent: 472m (Anquet said it’d be double that!!)
Descent: 421m
Walking time: 5 hours 45 minutes

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