Day 037: Shaldon to Goodrington

Distance: 13.83 miles

Ascent: 5213 feet

Weather: Sunny But Cold

Accommodation: McCracken Family House


Well my sleeping bag definitely passed its first real test, with the temperature dropping well below freezing last night. I was perfectly cosy, but if I needed to grab anything or if my head popped out of the bag I got very cold very quickly.

When I woke up this morning I really didn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag, but eventually decided I had to. I layered up as quickly as possibly, stuffed the sleeping bag in its sack as quick as possible, deflated/rolled up the mat as quickly as possible, packed the rucksack and still wasn’t too cold. But the final item of depitching the tent, which was completely covered in ice really chilled my hands and by the end I only had just enough use in them to tighten the tent sack and strap it on the bag.

I set of as quickly as possible, to rebuild up the heat, and fortunately within 15 minutes or so my hands had returned to normal (I have low circulation so sometimes it can take much longer.) There was one benefit to the frosty conditions, as the muddy patches had been frozen solid making them much easier to walk on.

The first part of the day was incredibly steep and scenic, taking me passed Maidencombe & Watcombe before reaching Babbacombe. I couldn’t stop thinking of this name like the horror film Babadook, so Baaaaa-baaaaa-cooooooombe kept going through my head.

At this point it felt like I was almost in Torquay but the path had a different idea, it skirted up and down the cliffs by varying interesting means: paths, steps, bridges, boardwalk  and even under the rails of the cliff train. I passed a lovely looking secluded feeling pub/hotel The Cary Arms down in one of the little bays. Even though this section was quite taxing it was great to walk.

When I did finally reach Torquay, having passed the giant houses on the hill, I was surprised how tacky the area around the harbour actually was. For some reason it wasn’t what I had expected in Torquay. I also found it quite funny how there are palm trees everywhere to make it feel more exotic.

As the day was shorter due to extended mileage yesterday, and as I had made good progress I decided to take an extended lunchbreak, both to rest but also do some admin. After this it was a fairly easy walk along the promenades, through Paignton and on to Goodrington.

I was very fortunate to have been offered a room with the McCracken’s through my website, and their house is very nice and quirky in a good way. They also made me a lovely dinner. A good rest should set me up for what looks like a very arduous day tomorrow.

So a short, sharp day with no issues, and bathed in glorious sunshine.

charles compton