Day 17: 09 Apr 2014; Porlock to Watchet
|Date||Wed 09 Apr 2014||Start to end time||07h 35m|
|Start point||Porlock||End point||Watchet|
|Miles today||16.31||Cu miles||314.16|
|Ft today||2,400||Cu ft||59,519|
|Route miles left||1,156.21||Route ft left||138,099|
|Today’s weather||Bright sunny day. Moderate southwesterly wind. About 10 C. No rain|
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
|GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)
The campsite in Porlock was one of the best I’d stayed in. Not because of the facilities (though they were excellent) but mostly I realised because the grass hadn’t got worms in it. That had two major benefits. Firstly I didn’t have to remove them from my luggage in the morning and secondly it meant that there weren’t worm casts everywhere. In retrospect, I realise that it was these worm casts that had been responsible for making my tent muddy at every other camp site I’d stayed at so far. So I’m sorry to say it – but I am all in favour of the selective use of wormicides..
I was awoken early by a particularly vocal dawn chorus. So I got up and packed and was away by 7:30 am. I walked through a still-sleeping Porlock village (which is pleasant in a chocolate box sort of a way) and then re-joined the Coast path near Bossington. The “Coastal Path Routine” began immediately, with a 1000 ft climb from sea level to the top of Selworthy Beacon – the last major hill on the South West Coast Path. Fantastic scenery all around, and I really enjoyed the absence of rain. From Selworthy, the path dropped quite steeply – though not knee-crunchingly – to Minehead.
I reached the end of the South West coast Path at about 11:00 – after 16 ¼ days’, and 306 miles walking. I was quite sorry to see it go – although it was a really tough walk, it was easy to follow, and the acorn route-marks were reassuring reminders that I was on the right path. No more of them, now, until I reach Offa’s Dyke, in Wales. I saw a couple of young enthusiastic walkers brightly starting out along the coast path just as I was finishing. I wondered just how long they would remain so bright (and clean) as the progressed round the path! I also realised that they were slightly incongruous SW path clientele. The majority were older – I’d describe them as hail and hearty newly-retireds, with time on their hands – and mobility in their knees!
I had a brief look round Minehead, and took in the West Somerset railway station – with its preserved steam locomotives and attendant earnest enthusiasts. The rest of Minehead is clearly holiday orientated and I didn’t linger (though I did remind myself that many years ago we’d spent an afternoon at Butlins’ “Somerwest World” and really enjoyed it!).
From Minehead I followed the coast – reverting to beach-walking for speed – as far as the “Blue Anchor” pub then followed paths inland to the campsite near Watchet. The path had been extensively diverted to avoid landslips caused by recent coastal erosion and was a bit longer than I’d hoped. Overnight in Watchet – which feels just a bit more “off the tourist path” than the resorts along the path’s route – but interesting in its own right. Quite a long day in store, to Bridgewater over the Quantocks tomorrow, so an early night in prospect I think..