Day 038: Goodrington to Stoke Fleming
Distance: 19.02 miles
Ascent: 7697 feet
Weather: Overcast, Light Showers
Accommodation: Stoke Lodge Hotel
Well the day started with being dropped off by the McCrackens en masse, with both brothers and the two kids waving me off which was very nice. I forgot to mention in yesterdays blog, but Bob who I was staying with has walked from Seville to Paignton in the past amongst other walks. He had warned me about how steep todays section would be.
I covered the ground from Goodrington to Broadsands quickly and though there was some up and down it was not long till I was on the outskirts of Brixham. Brixham unlike a lot of the towns I had passed seemed to have a lot of industry/business with a sizeable fishing fleet which all seemed to be returning as I arrived as well as quite a few offices presumably for more technical stuff as well as an offshoot of Plymouth University. I stocked up on supplies here as the next part of the walk was very remote.
The section from Brixham to Kingswear is very remote (no road access or villages at all) and was the part I had been warned about. The path started as it would continue going up and down until Berry Head. There were a few dog walkers near Berry Head and 3 in a row asked me where I was going, the first responded ‘You must be very fit’ in a manner that showed no confidence, the second said ‘I think that’s a bit far’ and the third was straight to the point ‘You won’t make it’. By now I was losing confidence fast but decided to carry on anyway as the worst that could happen is that I wouldn’t make it to Stoke Fleming and I would have to pitch my tent rather than meeting my Dad.
From this point on I passed only one other person on this 7 mile stretch. As I was walking along Southdown Cliff I was fortunate to see a peregrine falcon gliding along before heading into a vertical dive as it hunted some prey, it dropped out of eyesight before I could see if it had been successful. The first big descent took me all the way down to Man Sands, from where I immediately had to climb all the way back up again, and this process continued with several very steep descents followed by even steeper ascents. The path itself though extremely tough was absolutely beautiful and the remoteness just added to it.
When I was almost at Kingswear and could even see Dartmouth on the other side, I thought the worst of the ascent was behind me but it threw two more steep ascents at me before I reached Kingswear, where I took the ferry across to Dartmouth. I really liked Dartmouth and Kingswear as they had a really interesting mix of architecture, and plenty going on.
With my legs now very fatigued I had the last 3 or 4 miles to go to Stoke Fleming. But the path was not going to make it easy with several steep ascents and descents, before I finally reached a lane which took me to Stoke Fleming.
At this point I must thank Brittany Ferries for their extortionate prices, as it meant my Dad very last minute came over a day earlier than intended. Which means I have a room shared with him for the night.
So today was a very tough day physically, though very enjoyable and particularly satisfying at the end. Over 7500 feet mostly in the space of 10 miles is a lot of ascent.