South West Coast Path 2011 – Day 5

Little Orcheton to River Yealm

After an early breakfast we had our earliest start yet – 8:35 – and with a hint from the landlady took a shortcut across one of the farm fields to the woods on the bank of the Erme. We followed a woodland track before descending to the river and crossing onto the Flete estate.

Then we cut across a field to join the road running down the west side of the Erme, eventually degenerating into a track through woodland. The going was relatively easy and by the time we reached the SWCP itself, we’d clocked up 4 miles and warmed the legs up nicely.

We crossed a beach at Erme mouth and then climbed up onto the cliffs. Just above Bugle Hole I stopped to take a photo and the others carried on. When I got to the field edge I went through the gate following the SWCP marker and descended reasonably steeply to the Hole. Nearing the bottom, I saw the others off to my right – they’d walked through the open gate next to the path gate and right down across the next field. Waving at each other, I waited next to a SWCP waymarker for them to realise their mistake.

Seeing them disappear from view I concluded they’d carried on and so I did likewise, working my way around the cliffs and up across another field. I stopped at the stile and looked around – no sign. By this point I’d concluded that as there were no footpaths leading back to the coast path, that it was most likely that Rob and Dad would reytrace their steps and come after me. I headed up the next field to wait by a gateway, a more prominent place for them to see me and for me to have a chance of seeing them.

A couple of minutes later they came into view following in my wake. I waited for them to catch up and then we had coffee.

Getting going again we had a couple of nasty slogs up hills and then we were on a level around the top of the cliffs as we rounded a corner near Stoke. Once out of the woods, we were on a track which kept reasonably level all the way until we descended into Noss Mayo. We ate the miles up and reached the ferry crossing point (not running on a sunday!) At 2:45. Then we walked along the road into Noss Mayo, and had a cream tea at the pub until our taxi came.

Distance: 21.55km
Ascent: 420m
Descent: 456m
Walking Time: 5 hrs 5 mins

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