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- Ugly Bird carefully parked up in Sidford
I still don't like leaving my beloved out in full view but let's face it, despite my love for her, she is too old for a tea-leaf to have much interest in her. But the thought of vandals still worry me. Still, here we are in Sidford, a few miles inland from Sidmouth. More on that later...
- Sid River walk
Fortunately, the walk into Sidmouth followed this pleasant riverside park. Early in the morning, it was a lot less arduous than concrete pathways
- River Sid Ford, Sidmouth
This ford is on the outer edges of Sidmouth and is surprisingly well-used (by the locals I guess) - by the time it took me to walk ahead and cross the footbridge to the other side, five cars had crossed.
- South West Coast Path
At last, the start of the walk proper - I am now back where I left off a few weeks ago. First, cross back over the Sid and get up those cliffs.
- Cliff tops
Hells-bells! That was one helluva climb. Mebbe the eggs and bacon I had for breakfast and the walk in from Sidford were a bit too much! And as usual, I am walking into the sun, hence the lens flare. This is the beginning of Salcombe Hill.
- View back towards Exmouth
That's Sidmouth that is, so far below. And back beyond those red cliffs just out of sight is Exmouth, where I started this odyssey. It just somehow doesn't look that far somehow - must be an illusion caused by the cheap camera! :-)
- Salcombe Hill
A rather flarey shot showing that I am still nowhere near the summit of Salcombe Hill. Those steps really sap your strength both going up and going down.
- Salcombe Hill
Wow, I've just come across that lot! This is the prettiest path I have been on so far (and that's saying something) But I am already into the contents of my Camelbak - which I actually remembered to bring this time. I also have some technical liners for my chap boots (that's doubled their value!) which are also having a big impact on my comfort.
- Higher Dunscombe Cliff
Looking down onto Weston Mouth beach, which I traverse for no more than a few yards before tackling the monster hill ahead of me. I am shattered and yet I've barely started!
- Cliff Edge
Oh yes, the path gets very close to the cliff edge. All this in an areas notorious for unstable rock and landslips!
- Steep path to Weston Mouth
It's a steep (there's a surprise!) path down to the beach at Weston Mouth. It joins the beach just where a busy little stream exits onto the beach. Very attractive all round.
- Steep Climb
Oh goody! More steps to climb. And the sun is belting down. Branscombe is the next stop, once I get over this hill.
- Inland walk
The walk occasionally heads inland to avoid the steep-sided combes caused by winter streams. Very similar to the barrancos I walked around in Spain. But these are much easier on the eye,
- MV Napoli
I don't know if this is readable of not, but it wasn't until I dropped (again) to sea level when I entered Branscombe that I remembered the story of the MV Napoli and the hordes of scavengers trashing the containers on the beach. This plaque and the ship's anchor are the only signs left of that episode, which I watched with awe in France.
- Branscombe Beach
No time to explore the pebbly beach, Beer is my next destination.
And here is that anchor.
- Narrow path
It's narrow along here, but I only met a few people coming the other way, so it wasn't too much f a hassle. But although the damn path is still going up and down like a yo-yo, at least the footing is level.
- Hook Undercliff, looking back
And as usual, I am climbing! I need to get back up to the cliff top in order to continue. Very pretty part of the walk and not to be missed. I saw lots of cliff-dwelling black birds but they were just Jackdaws rather than Choughs.
- Hook Undercliff
It is possible to cross over the top of the cliffs, but the recommended path is the undercliff, where plants and trees have colonised a long-ago major landslip. Those chalk pillars indicate that I am now well and truly leaving behind the older Triassic iron-rich strata and am heading into Cretaceous rock formations.
- Undercliff and Beach
That's the undercliff, sort of halfway down the cliff. The beach as far as I can tell can only be reached by boat. And yes, once again, I have climbed up a long way.
Charming little place, even when full of grockles. I really liked this place. Can I stop now?
As usual, the path from anywhere to anywhere involves clambering over a bloomin' great hill. And this hill is between Beer and Seaton. My camelbak is now dry and so am I.
- Axe mouth
Axemouth itself is a bit inland. Dunno why. But I have now seen both the source of the Axe in Wookey Hole and it's last few yeards as a river before it enters the sea here. As far as I recall, it's the only river I have seen the start and finish of.
- Seaton Marina
I stayed in Seaton just long enough to refill my Camelbak and but some paracetamol for my dehydration induced headache. I am dripping with sweat, my feet are starting to feel a bit sore and I have the choice of ending the walk here or sloggin' out the path to Lyme Regis. Hell, it's still only early afternoon, let's go for it!
- Cliff top
The path out of Seaton climbs steeply (there's a surprise!) to the golf course - it is quite strange to walk across the greens but that is the official route so over I go. So far, so good. But there are a few signs saying "Warning - this is an arduous path and it will take you 4 hours! And don't even think about it if the weather is bad."
And indeed, in a very short time the path takes me into a large undercliff. It's narrow, dark, muddy (I WILL keep slipping over!) and not at all pleasant - I just want it to be over. The guide book says it's reminiscent of a jungle. Yeah, well, I didn't like the jungle much, either.
- Open air!
The undercliff walk was a bit of an endurance thing rather than a pleasant experience. Hook undercliff was much nicer in my opinion. But I knocked it off in just over 2hrs. Which is possibly the problem, as pushing that hard left me too exhausted to enjoy the walk as much as I should. Serves me right, I guess.
- Lyme Regis Cobb
After a much gentler finish to the walk in the open air rather than the jungle of the undercliff, the path descends steeply (of course) into Lyme Regis, coming out just beyond the Cobb, just in view in this shot. Portland Bill is just visible on the horizon.
Lots and lots of Grockles. Everywhere. Lyme Regis is such a gorgeous place but I can't take it when it's so full of people. But for me, I have a feeling of achievement that I completed an overlong walk and I am here just in time for a 99 ice-cream and onto the X53 back to Sidford. Which is why I parked there - the bus doesn't go to Sidmouth! Think Ahead!