SWCP Day 34. Sharkham Point, Brixham to Torquay

Today’s distance walked – approx 22.2 kms (13.8 miles).
Ascent – approx 715m (2346ft).

I had a bit of a sleep-in this morning and woke at 6.30am. I had a leisurely breakfast and waited for the sun to come out, to dry my tent. I left at 9am. I promised myself I wouldn’t walk fast enough to break into a sweat today, but I have a tendency to make a sport out of everything.. so soon enough I had broken my rule.

Glad for the shade this morning
Glad for the shade this morning

Much of the pathway to Berry Head was in a tunnel of trees, which made thing a little bit cooler.

I reached Berry Head Country Park nature reserve and historic site, had some tea and cake (the breakfasts looked good too!). There were great views back to Sharkham Point and across Torbay.

From Berry Head nature reserve to Sharkham Point
From Berry Head nature reserve to Sharkham Point

I left at 10.30 to walk the length of Torbay. First stop Brixham harbour. Coming past Brixham breakwater, the opposite cliffs looked like a picture with the pastel coloured houses.

Brixham harbour
Brixham harbour

This part of the South Devon coast is known as the English Riviera. Looking around the bay, the red-cliff coastline is dotted with beaches, and little towns.

Sailboats at Brixham
Sailboats at Brixham

Brixham harbour was bustling with people going about their business, and tourists promenading. I passed the fish market around the far side, and wished I’d stopped earlier when I passed a shellfish stall selling cockles. I’ll make a point of having some tomorrow.

Brixham seawater pool
Brixham seawater pool

Beyond Brixham the next section took in some woodland walks with little coves, and ups and downs. I had a little break on a bench overlooking Broadsands beach, watching the paddle-boaders, and wincing at the number of white/sunburned bodies on display.

Beach colours
Beach colours

There was a hefty climb out of Broadsands, then on to the next bay at Goodrington Sands. There was a water park here, and a little later a bumper boats park! It made me think of my oldest best buddy, and I wished she was here now – we’d have driven those boats like we did when we were 10 years old!

Paignton pier
Paignton pier

The next larger town was Paignton, which has a traditional pier, complete with fish n chips, donut stalls, kids rides at the end, amusement arcades anda version of the Zoltar fortune teller arcade game, which I didn’t partake of. All of it looked, sounded and smelled exactly like it did when I was a kid, and most elements of that scenario probably haven’t changed much in the past 35 years.

Beach huts on the English Riviera
Beach huts on the English Riviera
... and more beach huts
… and more beach huts

Beach huts are a prominent feature of this coastline. I imagine that to get hold of one is extremely difficult. Essentially they are a tiny wooden hut, which you can’t stay in, but in which you keep everything you need for a day at that beach. Your beach hut (inside and out), says everything about who you are. You could write a book of personal stories of beach huts and their owners… families, elderly couples, ladies drinking prosecco, sunburned holiday makers and hipsters, just a few of today’s characters.

The beach at Torquay
The beach at Torquay

Finally after a short road walk I came into Torquay, which boasts a lengthy beach, a big wheel and a harbour. I walked to beach and up to my b&b (treat to self) The Glendower B&B. I checked in then had a wonderful shower and a rest.
I went out at around 5.00 to get a few supplies. The seafront at Torquay was really busy, and there were kids playing in the fountain – a perfect way to end a Friday. I noticed that acts coming to the seaside Princess theatre this summer include Leo Sayer, numerous tribute bands and Jim Davidson (yikes). The explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes hits Torquay in 2 weeks time, with an evening about his life, which I would have loved to have seen. I did my shopping in an excellent Tesco metro, and brought myself a plastic peanut butter-spreader spork for £1 from Trespass. On the way back I stopped in at Bistro Pierre and enjoyed a cocktail in the sun.

Update on the knee.. the anti-inflammatory kicked in, no probs walking on it, and tonight the heat has gone out of it. Will assess tomorrow.

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