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Friday, 22 July 2016

SWCP - Hope Cove to East Prawle

Friday 22nd July

Over 50 years ago, circa 1965 I had a holiday at Salcombe with brother Nick (who is sadly now blighted with dementia) and my sister-in-law, and some other friends. We had taken our Merlin Rocket racing dinghy as the main objective, that is for Nick , Anne and myself. We were based on the Prawle side of the Kinsbridge estuary and discovered The Pig's Nose at East Prawle which even then was renowned for its eccentricity. Tonight, with an eery feeling I am sat eating in the same pub. More of that later.

Strenuous walking this morning in hot and windless conditions took me to Salcombe. Here the roads are steeper than some of the serious bits on the SWCP.

I met a guy walking with his wife and he had done the TGO Challenge but we couldn't identify any common acquaintances. Do some people do the TGO with luggage transfer?

The sun seemed to get hotter all day. At Gara Rock there is a posh modern hotel on the path. I had plenty of water but thought I would have a treat. I had to go through a receptionist young girl to get to the bar. She spoke virtually no English and couldn't understand what I was saying, nor could I understand her. The guy behind the bar was a wet lettuce, and when I selected a small bottle of lemonade ( far from my requirements, but the best of a bad job from their selection) charging then had to go back through the the receptionist and they wanted £3.50 - more from frustration at the long winded procedures in my hot and bothered state than rebellion at the price I told them to keep their lemonade and walked out.

The Eden Emporium at East Prawle eventually supplied me with a chilled Fanta for £1.40 and directions to my B and B at Welle House.

I have just done whitebait (again), and cod and chips (again) at the Pig's Nose and all was well, except for skin-on battered cod, but the fish itself was great. The place is heaving and they seem to have no tab system or table numbering and you order all your food and drinks through the bar where they scribble things down on bits of paper. They are still renowned for their eccentricity after many owners in the intervening fifty plus years from my last visit.

I spent ages at the B and B trying to book for tomorrow night to no avail (Saturday, school holidays). There is a Camping and Caravan Club site at Stoke Fleming, a good 14 miles March so it looks like tent night number two. We will see. I am tired and stiffened up after today's exertions but it has been a good day with the ferry crossing from Salcombe, a much better service than the last one.

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gimmer said...

It occurred to me, after reading your recent posts, with their night halt difficulties and frequent but infrequently serviced ferry crossings, that a modern version of a coracle made from a folding carbon fibre pole skeleton, rather than hazel rods, and a coated nylon skin rather than a cow's hide, would / could also double up as an emergency shelter , at least for the head and torso, with the legs shielded by one's waterproof pants - and would hardly increase the load weight compared with carrying even a light weight tent.
I vaguely recall being taught that this is what the originals were used for as well as crossing the Irish Sea or some such feats - and of course how native americans used their birch twig and buffalo skin canoes.
A project perhaps for winter nights.
Or failing that, a real coracle.

John J said...

Packrafting, that's the answer! An inflatable that weighs under 2lbs:

Re: the TGO Challenge, baggage carrying services are strictly prohibited - although I once (2005, from Oban) came across two ladies who were being shadowed by their husbands in a van. The van carried all their 'heavy' kit and provided meal stops en-route. I'm fairly sure that they didn't complete.

I'm looking forward to seeing your photographs when you return - although your descriptions illustrate your adventures very well.

Anonymous said...

Thought I'd sent you a comment yesterday re the Cottage Hotel above Hope but its disappeared, poor wifi in Wales. Only to sat that we stayed there 40 years ago on a winter bargain week, I remember well the evening meals. Trust you had a good breakfast. I used to know a couple living in one of the Prawles - they were called the Prings. Think we visited the pub you are in.

Sir Hugh said...

Gimmer - a good idea but restricted to walks involving big river crossings and those accustomed to sleeping in a foetal position.


JJ - I just wondered, not for myself but the guy I met just didn't seem the type, but you never know.

KenB said...

Sir Hugh. Met you at Portloe. We are thoroughly enjoying your blog. Would have liked to offer you a bed in the Torbay area but have mother in law staying. I did tell her family hold back but she was not impressed, being 90, even for Conrad Robinson. We will be on the path sometime Sunday in the afternoon, from Start Point to Torcrosss tomorrow, leading a walk, for the Torbay Rambling Club. On the path from Slapton to Strete there is a new section with a bench in memory of the Carters. Philip and Mary were members of Torbay Rambling Club, and founder members of the South West Coast Path Association. All good wishes. Ken and Jacqui

John J said...

Hello Ken & Jacqui!

Sir Hugh said...

Ken B and J. - thanks for your comment. I hope you have now picked up on the JJ connection _a grand fellow.


JJ - comment noted

KenB said...

JJ is indeed a fine fellow, a strolling player who can cheer you with a song, and an experienced walker who once helped me out of a walking predicament when I developed a serious mysterious case of leaning heavily to one side on a long walk on the arduous North Devon section of the SWCP. Always grateful for that. Subsequent investigation even involved a brain scan. No real cause identified, and research of my own has not come up with any specific answer, except to exercise and strengthen core muscles, and I have carried on happily for over two years without further incident. Hello JJ and best wishes.