East Portlemouth to Torcross – SWCP

Please note from 03/01/2016 this blog will be in a  new format – with just one photo per post. Apologies for missing pictures, but the old format was very slow to load.

Roz and I were staying with good friends in Chudleigh, and on Monday morning their lovely Springer Spaniel “Buster” came and curled up beside me.

Sadly he’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and this was to be a tough day as after a few fleeting moments the local vet came to end his suffering.

Ed and I set off in separate 320 Tourings to blow away the blues, and make the trek from East Portlemouth to Torcross.

We grabbed excellent pasties at Harbourne Filling Station, cracking value at £2 each.

By the time my BMW was parked at Torcross (£5.50 for the day), and Ed’s had reached East Portlemouth it was virtually mid-day.

I apologise in advance that the pictures accompanying today’s walk are pretty naff, they were taken on mobile phones due to the demise of my Sony A6000.

We dropped down to the beach and looked across to Salcombe, and I was surprised to find the pedestrian ferry still plying to and fro across the estuary.

In the height of the season the tidal waters are heaving with yachts, and small boats that are used to reach the mid-stream moorings.

Your truly once incurred the wrath of the harbour master by swimming from East Portlemouth to Salcombe.  In a fit of rage he ordered me to go to the ferry.  I pointed out that I had no money, and was happy to swim back.

That didn’t go down well!

I was duly despatched from whence I came on a small inflatable. The “operative” agreed with me that it was just a bit of fun, but carried out his master’s orders.

Here’s a view of Salcombe from the Mill Bay on the eastern side of the estuary.

And one more looking towards Sharp Tor, and Bolt Head. I’d heartily recommend a walk out to Bolt Head if you’re in the area, even if was almost dark when I walked by it on Saturday.We trudged along at a reasonable pace, skirting the edge of Rickham Common.

There wasn’t much bird life on this blustery day, but we soon found evidence of a Peregrine attack.You’re looking at the remains of a dismembered immature Herring Gull.

Later we looked up towards the Gara Rock Hotel and holiday home complex.

Back in my days at House Martin I supplied the GRP chimneys and lightweight window cills used here.Here’s a close up of one taken a few years ago (when it was sunny).

Plodding on we rounded Gammon Point, and spied a Coastguard Look Out up on Prawle Point.It may have been grey, but at least it wasn’t raining.  However it was blooming windy!

Here’s a shot we found inside the Prawle Point visitor centre, and take it from me it was very windy outside!After a few swigs of H2O it was back outside, and off in the general direction of Start Point.Dropping down we went by a few old coastguard cottages, and came across a few WWII fortifications.  Not that we had time to investigate them.

By now I was rather looking forward to our petrol station sandwiches, but I wouldn’t afford ourselves this luxury until we’d passed the mid-way point.

On this stretch we were heading towards the North East, and not getting such a battering from the wind.  I was also appreciating the loneliness of this out of season walk.

We’d spotted one other couple as we set off, but soon left them behind, and it wasn’t until we’d covered 8 miles that we came across a sprinkling of people out walking their dogs.After our additional sustenance we skirted a vacant holiday let, and gross corrugated iron sheds as we dropped down to Lannacombe.  Two farm dogs looked at us in disinterest, and not a woof was exchanged as we looked at the small beach below.Now we were closing in on the next promontory, and yet another of those marvellous Trinity Lighthouses.

If you’re into dinosaurs and landscapes then you’ll find Start Point fascinating.  If you’re approaching it from the west it looms up in front of you like some monstrous stegosaurus.

By now it was getting pretty murky, and sure enough a few moments after I snatched this shot the automatic light came on.

I’ve often said I was born too soon, and as we walked I mentioned to Ed I’d have made the perfect lighthouse keeper.

I’m not afraid of heights, like my own company and love peering out at the sea looking for birds.

Technology and timing robbed me of my dream vocation.Standing next to the signpost I happy to look across at the two massive radio antennae that sprout out of the ground here at Start Point.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen them from Buckland Beacon up on Dartmoor, which is about 25 miles north of here.

From this gateway we could see Torcross in the distance, but we still had to make it passed Hallsands and Beesands.

There’d be two hills to clamber over, and invisible marker posts to find.

If only we had more time, Hallsands is my sort of place.  Steeped in history, and with most of it now beneath the waves due to a calamitous bit of dredging way back in World War I. All we could do on this visit was marvel at the prestigious new build properties, before hot footing it over the next hilltop.

By now it was time to rummage in my rucksack and pull out my compact head torch.I’d never been to Beesands before and I can tell you there were powerful magnets trying to draw me into the inviting pub.

I really must get back and enjoy a lemonade in the Cricket Inn.  The very name is fascinating, as there are precious few cricket pitches on the South West Coast Path, and I didn’t see one here!

As we trudged along in the dark we went passed a tasteful mural and were joined by a black labrador who stuck by us for the next twenty minutes.

I enjoyed watching two dancing fishing rods, one with a green light, the other red as two sea anglers went about their sport.

Inevitably we got lost, and found ourselves stumbling around in the shingle trying to make our way to Torcross.

The route was in fact through the woods behind a pretty grim looking uninhabited block of terraced houses.

By the time we’d dropped down to the Torcross car park it was gone 5:30pm.  I was going to be rather late for a curry with our Korean friend in Chudders.

Some time later I dropped Ed back at East Portlemouth, and we went our separate ways across country, but rediscovered each other twice en route.

One part of our journey included a fascinating Audi driver who went full pelt before slamming on the brakes whenever a set of headlights came towards him.

I reckon he’d got cataracts.

Remind me to stop driving when I’m a danger to other road users!


2 comments on “East Portlemouth to Torcross – SWCP”

  1. you are having quite the adventure. sad about the beautiful Spring Spaniel.

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