Thursday, June 01, 2017

Chalk replaces red sandstone

Looking ahead

Down then up!

View back past Sidmouth

Day 12, Thu June 1st, Sidmouth to Beer

Yettanother sunny day. Only a few drops have fallen on us so far. What's happening to England's climate???

Several BIG ups and downs today, beautiful coastline, rocks changing from red (Triassic sandstone) to white (Jurassic chalk) just before we got to Beer. We hung out on a stony (but pleasant) beach for an hour around midday, looked at a few old buildings in Branston village around 1PM, had a light lunch, then walked the last half hour or so to Beer. Easy peasy.

A couple of nice photos follow. And in the meantime I'm going to try to collate the input from 15 people for dinners next week in Christchurch. Groan. Or maybe I'll punt and just play games :-).

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Day 11, Wed May 31, Otterton to Sidmouth

After making it through the nettle gauntlet, we spent a very enjoyable three hours in Bicton Gardens, a three hundred-year old 60+ acre property with many huge trees and rhododendrons. I posted a couple of pictures of this yesterday, but didn't have time to blog. It's a busy and harried trip leader that I am!

The hike was pleasant -- mostly flat along high red cliffs, with a couple of big ups and downs at the end of the day. Like most of the hikes so far, we have been coming in under the planned time... a combination of being a fit set of hikers, and generous times specified in the book I used for planning the trip.

Nice little hotel in Sidmouth (Dukes), and a great dinner in The Salty Monk!

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Sea stacks near Sidmouth

Sweet chestnut tree

Bicton Gardens rhododendron

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Exeter cathedra

Day 10, Tue May 30th, Teignmouth to Otterton

Proper British weather today -- a little sun, some clouds, a shower... the only thing missing was a bit of wind ;-). We skipped a boring bit of the coast from Teignmouth (which is a gritty sort of place) to the river Exe, in favour of visiting Exeter Cathedral... which was a good decision. Nice place, Exeter -- has a solid and friendly feel to it, with many old buildings. And the cathedral is superb -- we took a tour, which lasted an hour but could have lasted eight, with a very knowledgeable and friendly guide.

Afterwards, a quick train ride down to Exmouth and then a walk along the coast to Budleigh Salterton, followed by a river walk inland to Otterton where we are spending the night. Not a particularly pretty part of the coast... flat walking above low red cliffs, with too many holiday camps and people (for my taste... and yes, I realize I've been saying that there aren't enough people on the coast :-). Only photo today is from Exeter cathedral... of their cathedra (hence cathedral), which is one of the tallest and most ornate in existence and dates, like much else in the cathedral, back to the 13th Century.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Our train to Paignton

Madeleine? Where?

Colour rush!!!!

4M high Echiums!

Day 9, Mon May 29th, Dartmouth to Teignmouth

We spent three nights in Dartmouth... as planned... but the two days we spent there did not run according to plan. The weather forecast was bad both days... although as it turned out, both days were mostly fine... and so instead of hiking along the Coast Path to Brixham, we spent a day playing games, and another visiting the Coleton FIshacre National Trust house and gardens. Stayed in an excellent little hotel, very friendly and generous, and we ate very well in some of Dartmouth's larger collection of excellent restaurants. A very much appreciated restful interlude after six days of hiking.

Liked Dartmouth... the only negative was the brown stains on many walls due to seagulls defecating on the wing. I suppose it has always been like this along the coast, but I never noticed it before. Some houses looked like a herd of cows had been grazing on their walls... yuck!

Today we had a varied day -- starting off with a ferry ride across the Dart, followed by a steam train to Paignton, then a bus to Babbacombe, a hike (3h15m) to Shaldon, and another ferry to Teignmouth, where we are staying the night. Weather warm and muggy, fog in the morning, mostly burned off by early afternoon. Lots of ups and downs along the coast here... some of them long and steep... so people were panting.

The stretch with the bus from Paignton through the center of Torquay was a bit ghastly at times -- seaside British kitch and pretty rundown in places. Despite this, teeming with people. In contrast to the Coast Path, which has been for the most part pretty empty. Some days we've only seen a couple of other walkers each hour we spent hiking. While I'm glad to not have to walk past and with hordes along the trails, it leaves me less optimistic about democracy. What hope is there that people will choose good representatives, if they can't even make good holiday decisions? Sigh.

A few pictures to follow....

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