In which: Westward Ho! says farewell with new and old, and echoes of Minehead ● another railway provides an easy start ● mermaids fail to appear ● I say leave a Biosphere Reserve buffer ● open cliffs are succeeded by woodland ● I get to see the “fantastic lime kilns” of Buck’s Mills ● The Hobby provides easy going ● honeypot Clovelly ends the day with a steep descent
Date: 8 April 2012 Time of walk: 0910 to 1610 Today’s walking: 20.5 km Progress along SWCP: 18.5 km Estimated ascent: 790 metres
Breakfast was adequate but not wonderful, and had a slow start as the staff weren’t ready for me when I got downstairs for the advertised 8.30 start, citing a late night yesterday as the cause of their tardy preparations. Afterwards it was time once more to bring the suitcase downstairs and to walk the short walk down the hill to rejoin the South West Coast Path.
When I was a child I thoroughly enjoyed Mark Wallington’s book Five Hundred Mile Walkies in which he takes a dog called Boogie around the South West Coast Path (albeit with a bit of cheating with buses and cars in places). I also got the audiobook read by Bill Oddie, my first audiobook and one I enjoyed so much that I listened to it dozens of times, sometimes more than once in a day. Bill Oddie did some great voices for the characters Mark met on his travels, and I particularly remember one section:
The lecture was given to me by an enthusiastic man in shorts whom I met sitting on a bench overlooking the first view of Clovelly harbour. He was eating a chocolate biscuit and reading a book. The biscuit was a Wagon Wheel, the book, a study in industrial archaeology. ‘Come from Buck’s Mills, have you?’ he said. I told him I had indeed. ‘Fantastic lime kilns in Buck’s Mills, eh! Fantastic!’ Lime kilns? Ah! Those derelict jobs on the beach; I’d wondered what they were.
And so here I was at last able to see those fantastic lime kilns I’d heard about so many times.
I decided that I liked the menu of the New Inn better, and its clientele was a little quieter, so walked back up the hill and had dinner there. The main course was mediocre but the dessert excellent. Afterwards I walked until I got a mobile phone signal and telephoned Chris to pick me up. He’s a churchwarden and took me back via the late-Norman church where he locked up.