South West Coast Path 2011 – Day 4

Waking as early as the preceding days wasn’t a surprise but was annoying due to breakfast not being until 9. I couldn’t even update my blog as I’d done this the previous afternoon due to arriving so early.

By the time 9am came we were all packed and ready to leave. We took breakfast and then had further time to kill before the ferry started running at 10am. Arriving on the quay at 10, we then had to wait 20 minutes for the harbour master to wake up and get off his yacht and into the ferry. The ferry is an open boat which wobbles a lot and was easily the most intrepid feeling of the river crossings on this trip.

Deposited on the opposite beach we skirted the beach and headed up onto the cliffs and then down the main road into Bigbury-on-Sea, with Burgh Island straight ahead. There are only so many pictures you can take of the island so we were on our way fairly quickly, falling into a pattern of the other two being quite a way in front of me and me lagging behind due to a combination of photo stops, a worsening cough moving chestwards, twinges of hayfever and general difficulty getting going due to the late start.

A cooler day had been forecast for today, and with the backs of my legs still raw from sunburn, I had chosen to ditch shorts in favour of my old faithful softshell trousers. I’m sure that the additional weight around my legs helped slow me down more as well as making me feel hotter than I’d have liked.

We rollercoastered our way over a succession of coves and cliffs until we stopped overlooking Westcombe Beach for coffee. A leisurely stop we didn’t seem to want to get going which may have had something to do with the reascent to Hoist Point we could see on the other side.

Continuing, we slogged our way up the hillside and on the descent and more gentle undulations we lost Rob who just kept going when we paused for breath, catching him eventually when the path met the beach inside the Erme estuary. His sunburn, being much worse than mine, meant he wanted to get it done and get out of the sun as fast as possible.

Reaching the wading point we wathced some charity cyclists do just that, concluding that it didn’t look that bad and in hindsight we could probably have waded too. But instead we had opted for an 8 mile detour to save 100 yards of wading. We slogged up the roads until we came to the farm and called it a day – apart from the extra 1.5mile walk into Modbury in the evening for food.

Distance: 15.06km
Ascent: 460m
Descent: 412m
Walking time: 4 hrs 5 mins

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