Friday, 20 September 2013

Day 5 - September 20th 2013 - Seaton to Exmouth

I enjoyed the best weather of the walk so far today, cool with bright spells. There was no rain at all and perhaps most importantly of all for the first time I didn't have a head-wind to contend with.

The 10 miles of path between Seaton and Sidmouth were very hard-work yet exhilarating. There were breath-taking views from the cliff-tops, though a tough descent and ascent to contend with each time a river mouth was reached. Branscombe Mouth was a lovely spot, here I saw the anchor of the cointainer ship MSC Napoli which made world-wide headlines in 2007. After it grounded at Branscombe in a storm the containers which washed ashore were scavenged by enterprising locals.

The views over Sidmouth from Salcombe Hill, the highest point of the day were superb. In the fine weather this section of the coast path was busier than any I'd seen so far. When I reached Sidmouth it was buzzing having hosted the start of a Tour of Britain stage a couple of hours before my arrival. With the field including Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, Britain's two greatest ever cyclists, large crowds had been attracted to the town. After a brief wander around taking in the atmosphere I rested on the Esplanade for a few minutes where I ate my lunch.

From Sidmouth onwards the going got easier and I was on very familiar territory; the path from here to Exmouth being a section I've walked many times before. The long slog up to Peak Hill was the last significant climb of the day, though it didn't seem as steep as those I'd negotiated in the morning. I passed straight through Ladram Bay, a favourite spot of mine, very tranquil and the sea stacks are a superb sight. Approaching Budleigh Salterton the path takes an annoying detour 2/3 of a mile inland to cross the River Otter. Once in town I stopped to buy refreshments and enjoy the sea view for a few minutes.

After some easy climbing which rewarded me with more superb views of the spectacular coast in this area I arrived at Straight Point. The small headland is a military firing range and closed to the public. Right next to it is a very large caravan park, supposedly the biggest in Western Europe. Locally it's known as Sandy Bay, though the holiday companies market it using the name Devon Cliffs. Strangely the Sea View CafĂ© has been allowed to build a patio across the official coast path here and long distance walkers awkwardly pass between tables of holiday makers enjoying a drink with their magnificent view.

After Sandy Bay I passed over Orcombe Cliffs and reached the Geoneedle that marks the western end of the Jurassic Coast, a pleasing landmark. Between here and Old Harry Rocks back on Day 1 I'd thoroughly enjoyed my journey along the World Heritage Site, undoubtedly one of the greatest natural wonders in Britain. A pleasant and flat two mile stroll along Exmouth sea-front followed. At Exmouth Dock were the official path crosses over to Starcross on a ferry I continued on to my home address from where I shall resume. It isn't my intention to use the ferry, I'd rather cross the river via an attractive long-cut; The Exe Estuary Trail.

Distance Walked Today 25.00 miles (40.24 km)

Cumulative Distance Walked 122.80 miles (197.63 km)

GPS Track;

Unfortunately there are no photographs of the spectacular scenery I saw today, I accidentally set off without my camera!

Reviewing today's GPS data after arriving home

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