Day 041: Holbeton to Plymouth

Distance: 19.81 miles

Ascent: 5092 feet

Weather: Short sharp Sleet, Hail, Rain Patches Morning, Sunny Spells Afternoon

Accommodation: The Byers Household, Plymouth


So, the forecast for today was pretty miserable, and without a bit of luck had the possibility of being a very long day. I set of not long after 7, having depitched fortunately whilst it wasn’t raining. The first couple of miles were lane walking down to Mothecombe Beach, and on reaching the River Erme and looking back across it, I am glad I didn’t wait till this morning to cross it as still looked very high (even though it was low tide.)

After a short climb over Owen’s Point and across Meadowsfoot Beach, it was up onto the cliffs proper. The weather was strange as I would get short sharp squalls and then it would be bright blue sky again, you could see all the little squalls out to see and unfortunately during the morning a lot of them hit me. One particularly big one hit me for about 15 minutes and the wind speed dramatically increased, driving the sleet straight into my face. Already feeling a little tired today, and panicking about the section after Newton Ferrers, and now also quite cold I was in a bit of down mood. I pushed on to the caravan park where I had told myself I would shelter and have some of my snacks.

This snack point was essentially the change point of the day, as after this point I only got a few very small showers and other than that had blues skies all day. The path also flattened out (though very muddy) all the way round Mouthstone Point and down to Noss Mayo & Newton Ferrers. Unfortunately it was high tide, so couldn’t use the little shortcut between the two, but this extension to the end of the villages was not that long.

During planning for the walk this next part had been flagged up, as the ferry which is the route of the South West Coast Path doesn’t run in winter & there was no good alternative to cross further up river. I had plotted a route which followed busy country lanes for a couple of miles up to the first and second bridge before doing the same on the other side but was not happy about it. During the walk into Newton Ferrers today I had decided that if it was sunny I would grab some food in the little shop and just go down to the little quay have lunch, wait for up to half an hour and hope someone turned up in a rib/boat to take them to their yacht and could take me across.

My lucky number is 41 and this was day 41, and my luck was definitely in. Just as I arrived at the quay, there was a little group of people (The Carters it turns out) waiting at the end and a small boat pulling up. I quickly dashed along and asked if they could take me across, and they kindly said they could. So, I joined them on the boat for the short maybe 100m hop across the river, and also walked with them and their spaniel as far as Season Point. I was very thankful for this boat lift as without it would have been a horrible (maybe slightly dangerous) stretch up and around the Yealm on lanes.

The last stage of the days walk went smoothly. I passed Wembury Beach which had the most beautiful looking stone café (Old Mill Café) right on the beach, though I didn’t stop. Then as I rounded the corner I could see the Plymouth Breakwater, and a military ship sat behind it, before reaching Bovisands Beach where I met my friend Ed and his dad Chris, who were kindly putting me up for my rest day. We walked the final couple of miles together into Jennycliff, Plymouth.

After catching up with Ed after his time away in Mauritius, and a lovely boeuf bourguignon, I was feeling very content.

I am very glad it is my rest day as my body feels tired and needs a little rest. Today and this week has been very successful and though there have been several challenges, they have all been overcome.

charles compton