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The day promised improving weather, just maybe we could get out of waterproofs for a day, The coast path is not too testing here, last time i walked along to roch on the beach but today the tide is in so it’s through the dunes which were nice enough in themselves giving views of Padstow ahead.

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The ferry across was quick and pleasant and the day was feeling like a beauty, a cafe provided the full breakfast so a quick look around Padstow and find a shop for provisions then away for another day of lanes and coastal path, as usual the best part of hiking is not knowing what you will see.

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This old shed just had to be photographed for the enjoyment of others. When it comes to time for dinner and you are in Cornwall then obviously a pasty is a good choice and i must say we enjoyed rather a lot of pasties.

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Watergate beach gave the impression of wanting your money going by the car park prices before anyone gets to see the beach, but we did get to speak with an interesting surf instructor. It was not to much further south to Porth where the camp site proved better than one might have thought, lucky us were in a shop when a hail shower arrived and it was gone time we returned to the outside world. A pub just across the road provided excellent food so that must rate as a good day.

The weather is improving but we still find we are wearing water proofs just to keep the wind out. Breakfast in Boscastle and away on little lanes again soon takes us past a nice looking water wheel on the way out of this picture book port.

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It’s the big uphill start to the day again and then enjoy lanes and coast path to Tintagel where i spot an old railway poster on a wall,  it’s still a cold wind and the bus loads of foreign tourists are feeling it but happy never the less. Another cafe,

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another input of energy and away we go towards Port isaac where it is noticeable that once a place gets used for a tv program the prices jump upwards. The parts of route where we are walking small lanes are new to me and there are many interesting things to see along the way.

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A stone bird house was really neat.

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This tree bent horizontal across someones drive way was stylish.

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And an unexpected rhinoceros on a hill, quite why i have no idea but it looked good. And so the trail continued on roads and paths through Port quin and onto Polzeath where we found a shop for supplies and a camp site on the cliff edge with fine views across the bay, the waves coming in where really spectacular.

Waking in the night to the sound of rain beating on a tent is a double edged sword, one it’s pleasing to be under cover and dry, two we have to get out at some point. So it was in the early hours when the sound of wind driven rain woke me, the best thing to do is go back to sleep and hope, oh well against my hopes at first light it was still chucking water down upon us. The lucky part is being on a camp site, so after brewing a cup o soup it’s rush pack and contents a bit at a time towards the toilet block and get the gear packed relatively dry. This is followed by rolling up a soaking tent and hope to dry it later.

We set of down the road to Bude and the weather ensured the area was devoid of holiday makers, in Bude a wander around failed to reveal an open cafe but asking a local workman produced directions to one open on a back street, it was heaven in the dry and the chatty owner produced bacon sandwiches and coffee for all while preparing the days pasties.

We now wander out of town onto the coast path where it is soon realised that the wind is so strong pack covers wont stay on, the wind is real buffety and the path is slippery, this is proving to be a test of stability, that is can we stay on our feet, with all this in mind approaching Widemouth bay a coffee shop with a wall to hide behind was proved to be a rather early but attractive stop, luck arrived in that the rain abated so its just the wind now as we climbed the hill out of widemouth bay the view back towards Bude didn’t look its best.

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Moving onto small lanes gave protection from the wind at times and the day improved nicely passing the occasional impressive statues on gate posts.

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And so it was as we progressed to Crackington haven where another cafe out of the wind provided more food and drink. These little old ports are great but of course you always know it’s going to be a climb out from sea level to however high the land goes and these tend to feel tough for the old legs. Despite the wind the walk was impressive and beautiful so many miles were enjoyed to reach Boscastle where a tea shop was found, then followed some real luck in that the youth hostel had spaces available. Maybe i’m a wimp at times but i have to be honest and say i was glad to get out of that wind, roll my tent out under my bed so it could dry somewhat, and cook up some pasta in comfort. This was followed by a lovely sleep. ah simple pleasures.

Wake feeling a little chilly as this was a moist field and so cool over night, anyway the weather is still dry and i make a cup a soup to start the day. We are packed and away fairly early taking to lanes cross country which are quiet and pretty. When Woolfardisworthy is reached the shop is not yet open but some bench seats outside the church provide a perfect perch to rest and leave my pack while looking at the church yard, then sit and watch the little village come to life with farm machinery moving around to get going with silage making while the weather is good. Then the shop opens and it’s hot snack and take out coffee to fuel the next few miles. I can only say it was perfectly pleasant moving across countryside on little lanes enjoying the wild life to be found along the way until we reached Kilkhampton where the pub provided a really excellent Sunday roast at a very reasonable price. Somehow this was a day when i took useless photo’s other than this one of a pair of celtic crosses in one church yard that caught my eye.

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More lanes got us back to the coast path north of Bude and though it is nice, the wind was getting rather lively and cold. So up and down the cliffs we went and then took a footpath which leads right into a camp site a couple of miles north of Bude, the price was good and up went the tents, then the camp site had a cafe come take away which provided another meal (lasagna) and i sure was ready for it. (truly walking needs plenty of eating).

It was certainly nice to wake early with many birds singing and a nice view across the water, i had been surprised at seeing many shell duck on the stroll here. So lets cook up something simple, pack and get moving along the old railtrack bed which constitutes the tarka trail we are on at the moment. The sides of the path are well overgrown with a wealth of wild flowers, the morning is calm and cool so pretty much perfect for walking, the prize find goes to andy who spotted a huge jellyfish which had been stranded in a gully on the salt marsh (hope he posts a photo).

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As we round the corner towards Bideford there is a splendid view of Appledore across the water.

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And on reaching Instow there was a convenient pasty shop for bacon sandwich and drink. The  old signal box still stands beside the now missing railway, we continue into Bideford where another tea has to be enjoyed while the chance is available, and quite a bit of drooling was done in the window of an telescope/camera shop. Now came the first hill up out of town and keep heading west until reaching the cliff tops of the coast path.

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The path now got serious about being up and down and how i remember the beauty of it towards Bucks mill where we turned uphill towards and past a campsite that for some reason is not open this year, a couple of miles further on produced a convenient meadow which is where the tents were set up and lets cook some pasta before falling into a welcome sleep (yes that bit of coast was tiring).

Yep, may the 15th saw the start of another little adventure, so it’s a midday train towards Barnstable where the first surprise is that Andy, alfie and Tracy are already at the station cafe before me. Well lets drink tea to start with and mull over the walk to lands end that awaits us. Then we wander around Barnstaple looking for food (read chip shop) but find the streets have little to offer and end up at weatherspoons which didn’t exude the most welcoming of attitudes, never mind it’s food and away we go on the coast path passing some interesting structures including this old railway building with a neat paint job. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A little further along the old track bed saw us veer into a field to set up tents for the night.

Forecast, cold and windy. 11.6 miles.

Yes it was not an inviting forecast and i did wonder if doing something else was a better idea, but i had the time so here we go. Changing trains at Brockenhurst had me convinced the cold wind was as forecast and as my train approached Lymington i was pulling on my waterproofs to keep the wind out. Right first stop a cafe for tea and bacon sandwich then set out along the coast with an Isle of wight ferry pulling out of the harbour beside me. It wasn’t long before i came upon a tall structure i don’t remember passing last time i was here.

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One of the inscriptions explained what was being celebrated.

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I gess the share price of candles plummeted after that date, what do we have today that we can not imagine technology replacing (na, i haven’t a crystal ball but probably most of our cherished clutter will be superseded soon.

I got a little lost in a boat yard and ended up on a small road then after a while found a path back onto the coast, a quick look at the map showed i had missed out a bit of embankment, um not sure how that happened but hey ho its along the sea wall we go.

The strong wind was definitely cold though i should not dwell on that, i had hoped to see coastal birds and boy they were abundant in number and species. As usual the miles clicked by and i soon had a distant view of the lighthouse at hurst castle with the isle of wight in the background.

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A couple more miles found me in Keyhaven which was pretty enough but rather quiet.

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The best looking part of Keyhaven i felt was the pub, though i didn’t go inside. Now i hid under some bushes for a smoke and check the map for alternative routes which were few without missing out the marshes completely. I set of back mostly along the path (solent way) i had come here on until near a culvert a path across part of the marsh was taken, i hoped this might produce some other birds but it didn’t. On reaching my sea wall contact point from earlier in the day i carried on along it back to the boat yard, entering this way i found the path that eluded me earlier, it wasn’t obvious honest.

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On my way back along the edge of the town i saw my first daffodils of 2015 in flower, then found a pie shop for pastie and tea, plus nice chat with the owner. So there we are, the last day of January, yep, i didn’t enjoy that wind but the scenery and wildlife made me more than glad i did this and the litmus test is that i would look forward to repeating the exercise when the days are little warmer and longer.