Posts Tagged ‘Salcombe’

East Portlemouth in the mist

This is a few months old, so apologies for that. I’ve been havering back and forwards as to whether to post anything about this brief visit or not, and have finally decided that I ought to.

In late October I went back back to Salcombe, just for a few days – just two full days, to be truthful, plus the late afternoon of the day I arrived. There’s no need to write about the journey – I drove from Sheffield to Salcombe in S. Devon via the obvious route – or the reasons for going. I took a camera system because the weather forecast look reasonable for at least one of the days.

I’m familiar with Salcombe but seeing it out of season did make it look different. For example, when I arrived I was initially pleased to see that the town’s main car-park, nicknamed the ‘boat park’, appeared to have lots of spaces, but I soon discovered that this was because it was mainly closed to cars because it was (partly) occupied by boats that had been taken out of the water for the winter. It was also odd getting used to the much shorter days – I’m used to the long hours of sunshine in mid-summer.

The weather, too, was very autumnal, at least at first – it was raining steadily on the afternoon I arrived, so no sitting on the terrace at The Ferry Inn this time. The day after was grey and miserable, with quite a stiff breeze, but this meant that we had East Portlemouth beach almost to ourselves for the obligatory game of beach cricket. But the day after that, the last full day of my visit, was glorious – perhaps the best day I’ve ever had there. Along with a couple of family members I walked from East Portlemouth to The Pig’s Nose Inn at East Prawle, a distance of perhaps three miles each way. On the way there we tried using some field paths in order to stay away from the lanes but we got rather muddy so on the return we just strolled along the lanes. The weather was wonderful – warmer than I’d expected (approaching 20 degrees), and very clear. Best of all I was able to get some good pictures.

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Three Walks

Looking back towards Salcombe


Well, after a long pause with no posts I’ve finally got something to write about. So why haven’t I posted since I got back from Crete in June? – well, mainly because this is my Travel blog and I haven’t done any actual travelling since then…. Several trips were planned but subsequently cancelled, hence the paucity of posts. But I have been doing some walking in one context or another, so here are some posts about these walks.

The first walk was in August during a family holiday in Salcombe in the South Hams district of Devon. This was the third such family holiday in four years. I decided there was no need to do posts specifically about the holiday – it was pretty much the same mix as on previous years. However, for those who might be interested, here’s a link to a previous post. One difference this year was that our younger daughter, Jude, was with us and she had made it clear that she wanted to walk a stretch of the South West Coast path; and would I like to accompany her? Yes was the answer, of course.

We decided to do the stretch westwards from Salcombe round to Hope Cove – that’s about 8 or 9 miles – then head back to Salcombe across the fields to the village of Malborough – that would add another 2 or 3 miles to it. Then we’d aim for one of the occasional buses that run from Kingsbridge to Salcombe via Malborough. Along the way we reckoned that we might also enjoy a cream tea at Hope Cove, so we weren’t aiming on breaking any records on this walk.

My recollection is that we set off before 10 o’clock and did the familiar walk along the road to South Sands. Beyond that we climbed steeply uphill towards Overbecks, a National Trust house which sits high on a cliff overlooking the Kingsbridge estuary. (It’s actually a ‘Ria’, I’m told, since there isn’t any river – it’s completely tidal – and there has to be a river for there to be an estuary.) We turned off the paved driveway to the house and at last found ourselves on the actual SW Coast Path heading southwards round Starehole Bay and towards Bolt Head. This was where things got dramatic and beautiful, of course.

I won’t bother describing the route in detail, but here are some impressions of it that I remember:

  • it wasn’t quite as much ‘up and down’ as I’d expected – there were some white long stretches, e.g. over The Warren, that were on a level. I recall getting very tired many years ago during a walk over the Seven Sisters in Sussex, but this was no where near as bad;
  • we were surprised to notice that a group of young people were going a long way off the path to avoid a herd of cows (and they were cows….). In my experience you’ll be OK with cows as long as you don’t get too near to the rear end – that can get messy with not a lot of warning. Horses, on the other hand, can be vicious brutes;
  • the stretch around Soar Mill Cove was quite steep, on both sides, and we were surprised to see several older people being helped down the paths (which were quite rough thereabouts) towards the Cove. I couldn’t help feeling that getting the old folks back up was going to be difficult. (And before anyone criticises me for being age-ist, I’ll just say that I’m 67 and these were people who looked considerably older than me….);
  • walking around Bolt Tail, with Hope Cove constantly in sight – indeed, at one point we were walking from Hope Cove – was hard.

In Hope Cove we each had a cream tea to die for, at the Cottage Hotel, and then set off across the fields to Malborough. This section couldn’t help but be a letdown after the coast path, but it was the best way of getting back to Salcombe. In Marlborough we had a quick drink at the Royal Oak and then headed off to the junction with the main road to catch the bus. We left with almost 10 minutes to spare, but all we saw was the back of the bus disappearing up the road – it had left early.

I knew the name of the bus company (“TallyHo Coaches”), got their phone number via the mobile, and immediately rang them to complain, politely but firmly. They were very apologetic; confirmed from their equipment that the bus had gone through the timetabled stop at Malborough Garage 7 minutes early; and duly sent an 8-seat minibus from Kingsbridge to take us to Salcombe, at no cost. Well done TallyHo! – it’s how you recover from a cock-up that give you an opportunity to impress customers.

Tomorrow – or soon, anyway – a walk in the Peak District.

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A short holiday in south Devon


Salcombe 2016 5-star_0183


I’ve just had a family holiday at Salcombe, in the South Hams area of Devon. There were nine of us across four generations: Val and I together with our daughter Sarah; Val’s sister Sally, her daughter Jane with her son Philip and her (Jane’s) husband Richard; Val and Sally’s father Don; and Maureen, ¬†Sally’s mother-in-law (and Jane’s grandmother)¬†from Sally’s first marriage. (Ah, the complexity of modern families!) We spent the week in a large leased apartment (actually, two linked apartments) with umpteen rooms.

We – that’s me, Val and Sarah – drove from Sheffield to Salcombe in one go, starting at just after 7am and arriving at just after 4pm; progress on the M5 was slow for significant lengths of the journey. The others, driving from the Midlands, stopped at Gloucester overnight mainly to give the two older people (Don and Maureen) a break. But they didn’t arrive much before us.

It was very much a traditional family seaside holiday. Salcombe is a delightful spot. It’s a couple of miles up the Kingsbridge Estuary, but although quite tidal, there is always water around the main harbour. Val and Sally’s family have been going there for many years – Val can remember Salcombe from when she was a girl, although it’s only in recent years that we’ve been back. Sally has holidayed there often with her family, and now her daughter Jane is introducing her own young son Philip and husband Richard to its delights. So we played cricket on the beach several times – the age range of the players was from 6 to 66; we walked down to South Sands; we went crabbing at Dettisham; we played family card games in the evening; and we enjoyed the food and drink that was available. The Ferry Inn was a particular favourite.

Salcombe is quite an upmarket place, which means that there is a lot there and a wide range of food and facilities, but also prices to match. We ate out two evenings, once at Dick and Will’s (supposedly Salcombe’s best restaurant/bistro, but this time we found it disappointing) and at one the the pubs, the Victoria Arms, which was both cheaper and better. We got fish and chips from the fish shop in the middle of town on a couple of evenings, and on the other evenings we ate en famille after someone (Richard twice, Sally once) cooked for the whole party. Jane and Richard had an evening out together at the Boatswain’s Brasserie while we all looked after Philip.

Most days we did things more or less together, but on one day Val, Sarah and I drove over the Dartmouth and had a day together there.

All in all, it was a good English sea-side holiday.


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