It rained hard during the night and looked distinctly miserable at breakfast this morning. Jon, who had had a bad night, decided to do a shorter route but I was not to be dissuaded from the full monty and Chris decided to lend me moral support.
It soon cleared up and we have had a bright, windy, blustery day. It took surprisingly little time to get back to the coast, compared with the hopeless trekking about of yesterday evening. We rejoined the path about 1.5 miles south of Hartland Quay. Hartland Quay itself is a little strip of cottages, a pub and a hotel, all owned by the local manor.
There were several steep drops and climbs, but the path soon levelled out towards Hartland Point.
The views were great. Lundy was so clear today that we could almost see the puffins for which the island is famous. 12 miles off the coast, it marks the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bristol Channel and was once owned by the Knights Templar (my completely random fact of the day!)
Around 12.15pm, we rounded Hartland Point, and began walking directly east, after days of north-north-west. We had a leisurely walk along the cliff tops for about 5 miles before dropping into several wooded groves.
I have never seen so many pheasants in my life. They were everywhere: in the woods, in the fields, skittering along the paths. Just outside Clovelly, the scenery becomes very woody, and the walking was lovely, through the fallen beech trees.
Clovelly itself is very odd. It seems to be entirely owned by the local estate and there is a distinctly feudal air about the whole place, which I guess might be friendly if you live there, but I found a bit overpowering. The village is one long, and very steep, cobbled street from the top to the dock at the bottom.
It is famous apparently for donkeys, although we have not seen any – we were told that either ‘health and safety’ or ‘Europe’ has got rid of them, but I can’t remember which. The street down to the sea front is very steep and slippery – I didn’t much fancy going up and down it twice, so we went down to the pub and stayed there all evening.
On the up side, there are lots of cats, all very friendly and we were impressed by the clever use of baker’s palettes for carrying everything up and down the narrow street.
I was rewarded for resisting Jon’s attempts to lead me astray with a short walk as he had a scary cow incident that I am glad to have avoided. On tomorrow to the wonderfully named Westward Ho! 13.2 miles.