Today’s distance walked – approx 21 kms (13.8 miles).
Ascent – approx 1100m (3608 ft).
I woke up today at 5.30am after a restless night. My bed was really comfortable, but my room was hot and there was a lot of traffic noise, which I’m not used to, and it took me a really long time to get to sleep.
I ate some biscuits and took another tablet for my knee. At 8.15 I went down to eat a hefty full English breakfast, complete with black pudding, after which I took it easy getting myself together. I left at 9.45am.
Heading out of Torquay towards Babbacombe the paths and road walking was more hilly than I expected, and I stopped a couple of times to find my pole tips (these are little hard rubber things to put over the pointy ends of hiking poles, so they don’t wear down on the road sections, and aren’t noisy). They weren’t in the usual place, so I got almost everything else out of my pack, but didn’t find them. I think they might be in the inside pocket of my tent (the only item I couldn’t be bothered to get out).
By 10.55 I had reached Meadfoot beach, which was lovely, and complete with beach huts at one end. Coming up out of the beach I had a little rest and wondered why I couldn’t really get going today – Some days are just like that, I was hardly out of town but already I was tired.
I got to Anstey’s cove at 11.40am after a nice woodland walk. From here it was up through Babbacombe and to Oddicombe beach, where I had another little pause at 12.15pm. Heading out of Oddicombe I walked underneath the cliff railway, built in 1926.
I was exhausted. I deviated from the trail and stuck to the upper cliff path around Shag Cliff and Smugglers Hole (before Watcombe) and then I joined the alternative John Musgrove Heritage trail to Maidencombe again. Even though my knee wasn’t hurting I didn’t want to risk it too much on lots of steps.
I arrived into Maidencombe 1.40pm there was a sign telling me that Torquay was only 10kms away.. and it had taken me all this time!
I momentarily considered taking public transport or hitching from Maidencombe, but pushed on, as it seemed like to much trouble. The next section actually wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. By 2.45pm I came over the final hill to see Shaldon appear below.
I skirted the golf course, then saw river Teign, and the little port and harbour of Teignmouth below me. (There was of course a nice row of beach huts too!).
I caught the ferry from the beach across to Teignmouth and celebrated the end of this stretch by having an ice-cream.
I had been offered a bed by Janec, trail angel, and fellow Te Araroa Trail (NZ) hiker, who lives in Teignmouth. I’d originally planned to try to get to Dawlish Warren tonight but as soon as I sat down with my ice-cream I knew I couldn’t go any further. After my ice-cream I walked up into town and found the house really easily. I was soon ensconced in a sun lounger with a cup of tea, in the most beautiful garden in Devon chatting to Janec’s mum Sarah.
I enjoyed a great night in the company of Janec, Sarah, Jane and Jackie, with dinner and few beers. Janec is an artist, so I got to see his work both in the studio and around the house, which was a real treat – check it out here.
My bed for the night (by choice, I had also been offered a real bed in a beautiful room upstairs!) was in a gorgeous wee circus tent in the garden.
We ascertained that Janec and I probably walked a week apart on TA, but we’d never met. We did know a few people in common. When Janec heard I was hiking the SWCP, he wanted to give a little something back – knowing himself, how a little trail angel magic can make a trip like this so special.
I am as ever, blown away by people’s generosity and kindness 🙂