I love to go a-wandering

PRETTY: The South West Coast Path
PRETTY: The South West Coast Path
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

Every so often my husband announces that he would love to go on a walking holiday. He thinks we should tackle the Camino de Santiago trail across Spain or, at the very least, have a crack at the Pennine Way. I suggest we just go for a walk now and then.

Last week we had a wonderful holiday in Woolacombe Bay, Devon, which is located on the line of the South West Coast Path, England’s longest footpath which runs for 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset.

Dougie and I decided to try out a small part of it, to get a flavour of what we could expect if we were to do this kind of thing properly.

We had Ordnance Survey maps with us and, as we were only planning to spend a few hours walking along the dunes from Woolacombe to Putsborough and back, were pretty confident we couldn’t mess this up.

It was all going swimmingly for the first hour with lots of ‘good mornings’ to other cheery hikers. Then Dougie spotted a sign, taking us off the path, which said ‘Pickwell 10 minutes’.

‘Let’s give that a go?’ he suggested. ‘It might be a nice little village and it’s only a short walk.’

I should have stopped him right there and led him back along our chosen route. But I didn’t. Which is why, a few minutes later, we were puffing and panting up a steep grassy hill.

‘Look, I can see a bench at the top’, Dougie gasped.

‘Yes, and there’ll soon be another - in memory of Trish and Dougie who should have kept to the path but regrettably pegged out half way up this mound!’

The path to Pickwell took us across a field where we met a dog-walker. We chatted about Pickwell and another village of Georgeham. She told us there were a couple of nice pubs. This spurred us on.

When we eventually reached Pickwell we wandered aimlessly but could find no hostelry offering us a much-needed flagon of ale.

‘I think the pubs must be in Georgeham’, Dougie admitted, having now looked at the map, spotting the close contours leading to Pickwell and the absence of anything there other than some self-catering cottages.

I refused to continue on the country lanes to Georgeham, pub or no pub, as I had planned a coastal walk and, finally finding my bossy voice, a coastal walk was what we would do. We retraced our steps, mostly in silence, and rejoined the South West Coast Path until we reached the beach at the end of the bay.

Putsborough Sands has a lovely cafe and, more importantly, some award-winning loos. They were, indeed, quite beautiful and I was so enraptured by the stylish decor, I neglected to notice the sad cylinder of cardboard rattling around inside the cavernous loo-roll holder.

There were queues at the cafe so we lunched on a Mars Bar and a bottle of water, before striding out across the sand to reach Woolacombe before the rains came.

For once the weather gods were on our side. The heavens opened just as we opened the front door of our holiday house.

“Well, that was a success!’ Dougie exclaimed. “Now, what do you think about having a go at the West Highland Way next time?’

You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com


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