What is wrong with the British weather? It’s Easter Monday and the sun is shining! Lee Bay looks even better on a sunny day and with the tide high.
I plan a short hike this morning. My aim is to walk along the South West Coast Path from Lee to Ilfracombe, where I will meet up with my hubby and his mother, before we set off on our long drive home.
I walk past the boarded up pub and down the road, before seeing the footpath sign. It points up a track and I find I have some road walking to do.
The route rises gradually and I find the going hard. Private properties stand between the track and the sea, and I feel resentful, as I always do, when my view of the sea is obscured. But I am soon at the top, where a gate marks the end of the roadway and the beginning of a proper path.
Along with the notice advising the route ahead is ‘Unsuitable for motors’, the gate has a sign, warning of dangerous farmland animals.
Yes. The field contains every walker’s least favourite animals. The most dangerous beasts in the English countryside. Cows.
And they are standing on my path. I approach cautiously, avoiding direct eye contact. But I am allowed to look at them through my camera lens. This is when I discover they are not cows. They are bullocks.
I am not sure whether bullocks are more dangerous than cows, but they show no sign of moving off the path, and so I have to make a long detour around the bottom edge of the field.
When I reach the far side, I look back. The bullocks are still fiercely guarding the path. Lee Bay is hidden behind the hill. Beyond I can see the headland of Morte Point. In front of Morte Point another headland is just visible, this one is aptly called Bull Point.
This area is called Flat Point and belongs to the National Trust. I really wish the NT wouldn’t let so much of their property be used as farmland. It would be nice to see some natural plants and wild flowers growing, instead of animal-grazed grasslands. The only plants that manage to avoid being munched by cattle are hawthorn and gorse bushes.
Looking ahead I can see a series of gently folded slopes and the distant buildings of Ilfracombe.
The next part of the walk is lovely, despite signs that tell me to stick to the paths (a difficult feat when the paths have been taken over by ferocious cattle). I see a number of other walkers, but the area is far from crowded and I really enjoy the rest of the walk.
I walk through fields of sheep and watch some young lambs playing. Sheep are not scary, but they do munch everything in sight – just like cattle – apart from the prickly plants like gorse, brambles and thistles.
There is an easy route down into Ilfracombe, but I take the adventurous route – a winding path that heads down the cliff towards the sea. Here I meet a few other walkers and some sweaty runners.
As I get closer to Ilfracombe, I see it has a very narrow beach, nestled in front of a hump of land called Capstone Point. And some strange rounded buildings that look like giant industrial kilns of some sort.
I emerge at the top of Runnymede gardens and enjoy the view of Ilfracombe. It looks like an interesting town with some fine Victorian buildings.
Walking around the giant ‘kilns’, I realise that these strangely shaped objects are modern buildings that house Ilfracombe’s theatre and tourist centre. This is a weird design that goes well with the coastline but seems out of keeping with the rest of the town.
I find my husband and his mother sitting in a café and I end my walk for the day. I could have gone further, but it’s time to go home.
Today’s walk = 4 miles
Total from Kings Lynn = 1,410 miles