Mandy’s Melting Meander along the Avon Estuary – Sunday 22nd July

It promised to be (yet) another glorious day for the 15 who set off from Aveton Gifford again this week, all but one in shorts, armed with liquid and sun-screen for a hot walk. No change there. This time we took the opposite side of the Avon Estuary, heading towards Bigbury-on-Sea rather than Bantham.  There were, er, undulations, as Mandy tactfully warned and we started off with a steady climb uphill through the countryside, fields and lanes looking dry and parched in this most glorious of summers.

We initially welcomed our French Visitor, Christian who was keen to see some of Devon and he certainly did that today, with temperatures and sunshine equal to the South of his homeland.

Temperatures rising, both in the air and in the walkers, we made our way down to the fields alongside the Estuary. The views were stunning – blue waters, azure skies and brilliant yellow sunshine bathed the whole panorama – lucky indeed.

Negotiating the cows with some trepidation, in the hope the heat would subdue the enormous bull particularly, we carefully picked our way across their field to an empty one for coffee break, before setting off again with the sparking ocean in our sights ahead.

The final climb up was a tough one and recovery time essential, before we followed the winding path down to Bigbury beach.  Busy here today with everyone enjoying the water and the water sports and we were no exception with a record number having a dip. Although initially a shock to hot bodies, all agreed it was wonderful ‘when you get used to it’. An hour and a half was allowed  for this indulgence, before ice-creams, boots back in place and moving on.  Challacombe was beautiful and Burgh Island, sitting proudly like a jewel on blue velvet, setting for Agatha Christie’s Ten Little something-or-others was of interest to Christian as he had visited the Agatha Christie display in Torquay Museum and did not know the site of her 9 murders in that tale existed here in Devon.

Considerable recovery time needed again after the slog up from Challacombe and liquid was running low. Fantasies of long, cold drinks began to dance in our heads, almost hearing the chink of ice surely… as we turned inland finally towards Ringmore.

Bigbury Green was yet another breathing break before we took the road homeward and finally the path through the fields of golden wheat again. This time the tide was turning and the estuary below us turning blue, but we could still walk across the causeway back to Aveton Gifford, fortunately as 15 pairs of feet had had enough today.

Christian very kindly bought all his new english friends a drink (under much protest of course!) as we explained the differences in cider, ale, stout, lager, scrumpy and beer, what a nightcap is and  realised, we really do have a confusing language!

A great day had by all and 12 very warm miles completed thanks to Mandy’s excellent leadership.