Half way through our two week break in Devon and the weather was not playing its part. Neither of us particularly wanted to bask in the sun every day but for the odd day to be dry surely isn’t asking too much, is it?
We weren’t going to let the weather beat us and with or without a map another walk was decided upon. Our walks in the past had been on the coast near to us and up the north side, so this time round we were heading south. L.B. activated her walking app and with that moving along as we did it would track our every move giving us something to look back on later.
On this occasion our provisions were better matched to the task in hand, so sandwiches, drinks and anything else transportable and edible went into our rucksacks.
The rain was coming down so water proofs were donned and hoods pulled tight, the rain and the wind were not preventing us from leaving the warmth of Pod.
We headed off towards Mortehoe , down towards Rockham Beach and hung a left towards Morte Point. As we walked along the ragged coastline below us in the sea we could see what appeared to be heads bobbing up and down, after standing for a short while the shapes became clearer and seals could be seen near the rocks. With immense muscular strength they remained stationery as the waves crashed against the jagged rocks and when they chose they glided along as if in a mill pond.
After a few minutes they disappeared from sight so we moved on in the hope of seeing more.
As we reached Morte Point the wind picked up and once we turned the corner we knew we would be hit with its full force. As we took our first steps up onto the ridge the wind stopped us in our tracks, we managed to refrain from doing the Titanic pose and pushed forward to get round the corner.
In front of us stood Woolacombe, houses and buildings built into the rock face with the beach lay out in front of her. She was shrouded in low cloud and looked peaceful and quiet, not the normal hustle and bustle of a the summer season.
We continued to walk in this direction, passing grazing sheep and a fledgling Whinchat who nearly met its end under our boots having made a decision to remain stock still in the middle of the footpath. Mum was nearby so we took a wide birth and continued towards the main road leading into Woolacombe.
Once we took the steep climb up to the main road we turned right and walked down into the centre, we headed towards a few wooden benches which ran along the small cliff top and looked down on to where the sea met the beach. The wind was coming in from the North so we chose a bench which sheltered us from the breeze.
Sandwiches and other goodies were eaten but the longer we sat there a chill was starting to come over us, so rucksacks back where they belong, coats and hoods up, off we went. The plan was now to walk the length of the beach and aim for Putsborough Sands.
Steps were found not too far away and we walked down to the beach, the sea was slowly coming in and covering the jelly fish which fringed the shore line. A row of perfectly formed rainbow coloured beach huts lined the sand dunes and the RNLI were out in their vehicles with flags clearly marking the boundaries. Surfers were out on their boards, some waiting for the next big wave, others floating along catching their breath. No one appeared mad enough to be out for a swim.
The wind was battering against us and the only joy was in the knowing that on the way back the wind would be behind us. This may sound like madness and you may think we weren’t getting an ounce of enjoyment out of it, we were and revelling in it. It was bliss.
As we got nearer to Putsborough less people were seen. The beach was getting shorter and the sea was moving in faster, so we dipped in behind the rocks and jumped along avoiding the incoming tide. We were about 30ft from the café and shop and this manoeuvre of ours was working wonderfully until we hit a dead end. The tide. There was not a chance of us turning and heading in the opposite direction, this had become a challenge and we were not going to give in. We stood and watched the tide come in and out and if we timed it just right we would be able to run and nip round the corner up the steps and out of harm’s way. M.B shouted ‘GO!’ and off we went on our toes like two ninja’s standing on hot plates.
Once in the café wet coats and bags were off and we rewarded ourselves with a hot tea and ice-cream, odd combination but it was very welcome.
Now, our planned return route had met a dastardly end and without a map it was back to using our sense of direction.
Coats and rucksacks which had dried somewhat were gingerly put back on and zipped up, we headed for the door and up the steep path in the direction of Putsborough and the hope of a view signs.
The rain really wasn’t our friend today and it continued to remind us of its presence, but we weren’t deterred and continued our progress up the road, dodging cars and their inconsiderate drivers along the way. Come on please ! if a walker squashes themselves INTO the hedge to assist you passing DON’T continue at speed and make a beeline for them clipping them with your wing mirror.
Our noses on this occasion let us down slightly and we somehow ended up inland at Georgeham a few kilometres off grid, after asking a few passers-by we found a public footpath which seemed to cut across country and return us near the coastline.
We marched along listening to our waterproof trousers brushing against our legs whilst occasionally peeping out from under our hoods to check for low hanging tress and signs hidden among them, this eventually brought us to a crest from which we couldn’t help but laugh when we saw Putsborough Sands not more than an kilometre away and the start of Woolacombe beach directly in front of us.
We skidded down the sand dunes and landed onto an empty beach, most of the jelly fish had washed away and we were the first to step onto an unflawed sparkling beach.
The steps we had walked down some time ago now stood in front of us and seemed to pull on every muscle in our legs as we slowly climbed to the top. This wasn’t the end, with some distance yet to go the coastline was not an option so the shorter route of what we believed 5 kilometres to go was chosen and it was all up hill.
We began to walk inland cutting Morte Point off and headed directly for Mortehoe, we decided against stopping for a pint or chips from the local as one of us was in fear of once stopping not being able to move again, so on we plodded reaching the farm and Pod who was exactly where we had left her and had stood against the torrential weather with us.
After a well-earned Chinese meal and a chilled bottle of beer the walking app was checked to reveal we had walked 22.32 kilometres in 5hours.21mins and 40 secs. Steps wise we had walked 32736.