Understandably, we’ve received less of your completer stories this year. Which is why we were so delighted to hear from Patricia and Linda from Wolverhampton, who were able to finish their journey on the Path this September. Here’s their story….
Overjoyed, we made it! All 630 miles of the South West Coast Path – Minehead to South Haven Point in 57 days. Linda and I, friends for many years, both of us being former post ladies (used to walking then!) we hoped to complete the Path before we reached 70.
Leaving our husbands at home, we set off on our “Great Adventure” in April 2017 – a walk with a difference. Seven trips down to the South West, using trains, buses and one car journey, we achieved our aim by finishing at South Haven Point on 15 September 2020, despite having to cancel and rearrange accommodation due to the pandemic.
It has taken a good deal of planning beforehand with finding places to stay, working out access to the Military Ranges and also ferries and estuaries to negotiate. The River Erme is quite a challenge as there is no ferry, but we managed to get the tide times right and waded across knee deep. Also, the ferry between Bigbury-on-Sea and Bantham was unavailable because of the pandemic, so we had no alternative but to walk around the estuary following the Avon Estuary Walk adding on about eight miles.
It has been a wonderful experience and we felt privileged to have been able to access such a beautiful coastline, it surely must rate as being one of the best long-distance paths in the world. We were blessed with good weather for the most part, just a couple of rainy days.
The South West Coast Path Guide proved invaluable, with a good selection of accommodation. As too did the SWCP National Trail maps (set of five). We used a Baggage Transfer provider, and the service was excellent (why carry that weight when someone else will do it for you!). We stayed in a variety of places, hotels, guest houses, inns and farms – all of which were very good, with some of our hosts providing a pick up/drop off service, and on arrival several lovely people presented us with tea and scones (we walked them off the next day!). The Path is well maintained with good waymarking. Some lengths were quite arduous, especially as we weren’t getting any younger and time was marching on. It’s worth splitting a few of the severe/strenuous sections as we did around Hartland and also Kimmeridge. Poles were a must. Getting to the halfway point at Porthallow 315 miles was a great achievement.
We have enjoyed so many superb places and have lots of memories to treasure – seeing deer at Rame Head, a colony of seals at Godrevey Point, the wildness of Hartland, the beautiful Lizard Peninsula, Lulworth Cove, the Rumps, etc. etc. We also enjoyed foraging for blackberries (a tasty snack to keep us going!). Delicious parasol mushrooms from the fields near Lulworth, picked and cooked for breakfast by our host. A must have was fish and chips, which always taste better by the seaside, from various towns and villages along the way. We also had our fair share of pasties (well we were in Cornwall).
Thank you to the Association, the volunteers, and all those who make this walk possible.
What now? Back the other way I’m thinking!
Photo credit: Sea Thrift at Hartland Point by Moira Izzard.