Tuesday 23rd June 2020
Finally, on a beautiful mid Summer`s morning, I set off, bright and early, from Hopes Nose, on my own reorganised and rerouted 100k challenge walk for Alzheimer`s.
After the disappointment of the cancellation of the South West Coast to Coast event scheduled for next month, due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, miraculously the motivation to continue training, despite the ensuing restrictions and difficulties, remained. Consequently, after 1600 miles of trekking and much time and effort since October 2019, I began my own personalised version of this sponsored charity event.
Many times in the recent months, especially because travel restrictions imposed by the Government dictated the necessity to remain local for any exercise, the wonderful landscapes, coast and countryside of the Torbay area came up trumps when deciding where to roam. The Cockington estate became a favourite, so on day one, just as I began to descend into Torquay to head in that direction, my mobile rang and it was Mandy Lindsay. Mandy was coming in the opposite direction to meet up with me, so that we could tackle a stretch of the route together, which was much appreciated. Once we reached the Livermead Hotel, we diverted into the water meadows at Cockington, before picking up the perimeter path which led into Manscombe and Scadson Woods.
As we climbed gently up towards Occombe Farm, we saw a group of young sows grazing on land adjacent to the Sutton Seeds Research facility. They were a mixture of Tamworths and Saddlebacks, and Sal and I had seen them on many occasions on our training walks. Down we went then through Occombe Woods and out onto Preston Fields, to rejoin the SWCP again. We wandered along the seafront passing the pier at Paignton, before a refreshment break was taken at my abode in Homebourne House. It was at this juncture that Mandy left me, and Sal became my companion for the remainder of the day. At this point my Garmin was reading ten and three quarter miles.
Suitably hydrated, we meandered across Roundham Head, which then brought us down to Goodrington Beach, where it was of course fairly busy with people taking advantage of the glorious weather. The coast path then undulated to Broadsands , before more ascents and descents through the Grove and saw us at Battery Gardens, where lunch was enjoyed. Shortly after arriving at Brixham Harbour, we were joined by Club member Neil Thompson.
On past the Golden Hind we strolled, and out to Berry Head, where the views along the coast were stunning. Forward from here took us on a detour around the Landscove Nature Reserve, and it was then that Neil bade us farewell, whilst we returned to the coast again, where as always we stopped a while to admire the view back across St Mary`s Bay. We then returned to Brixham via Berry Head, before passing through Churston Ferrers along American Road.
There then followed a gradual ascent up Alston Lane, and then we traversed the fields leading to Greenway. Yet again the scenery was spectacular and far reaching, with simultaneous vistas of the Tors of Dartmoor and the waters of the Bay. It was in a field here that we encountered some attractive creamy white coloured cattle, with some cute calves amongst the herd.
Back then to Galmpton down Coombe Lane, followed by a decent to return to the coast at Broadsands. From here we wound our weary way uphill again, to immediately go down past the Waterside Caravan Park, before passing Goodrington Green on our journey to the Clennon Valley. Arriving by the Lakes in the Nature Reserve, we came across a family of swans with six young cygnets, and they were actually blocking the footpath. Almost at the same time a heron flew overhead. We had seen it in the waters of the lake on a training walk a few weeks previously, so this is obviously a regular feeding ground. Over the grassy area we plodded, skirting the Velopark, to reach Youngs Park.
By now it was approaching 6.30pm, but even so the fabulous early evening weather meant there were scores of people about enjoying the pleasures of the seaside. Our final uphill stint of the day saw us on top of Roundham Head, from where we ambled around Paignton Harbour, to reach home.
It had taken ten hours and one minute moving, to cover the 29.5 miles, which equates to an average of three miles per hour. Not bad for someone who turned 78 earlier this month. The number of steps taken during the day totalled 68,489.