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Salcombe to Torcross

Our next section of walk began in Salcombe, the most southerly town in Devon, and a favourite sailing destination on the south coast. We grabbed an overpriced fried breakfast in a harbourside cafe which appeared from the prices to cater almost exclusively to the yachtie crowd then set off to buy some sandwiches to take with us for lunch. After a bit of hunting around we were told that, bizarelly, the town doesn't have a supermarket, and as there was only one convenience store far away, we just decided to set off.

We caught the ferry, which is really little more than a small wooden boat, across the river, walked around Mill Bay, and climbed up into the woods, wondering where we'd next manage to eat. We passed one sole couple walking their dog, then the landscape became more rugged, the trees stopped, and we were alone. As the weather had been so good recently, we were wearing t-shirts and weren't carrying jackets so naturally the wind picked up and it soon began to piss down. We stumbled on past Prawle Point, where some art has been cut into the vegetation on the hillside - but we couldn't figure out what it was - then past a lovely, secluded beach at Sharpers Head. A very fit couple sped past running at this point as we sat eating chocolate, having a break, making us feel very out of shape.

The wind and rain continued until we were totally drenched, pushing through the wet undergrowth until finally the lighthouse on Start Point came into view. Trinity House, which oversees lighthouses and marine navigation in Britain describes it as, "one of the most exposed peninsulas on the English Coast", and it certainly felt like it as we walked through the rain along the barren cliffs. As soon as we passed Start Point, however, the wind dropped, the rain stopped, and the sun came out. In the distance we could see the village of Beesands, where we'd spent the previous night, and we began to dream of sitting down to a lovely fish lunch in the Cricket Inn pub there.

We marched into the pub, however, and were destroyed when the girl behind the bar took great joy in telling us that they'd stopped serving food ten minutes earlier. We tried to plead with her by telling stories of our great hardship, but she didn't care, and suggested we eat some peanuts. We sat starving, drinking our pints, as our opinions of the pub being a lovely, happy place quickly vanished, then we set off in a daze on the last section of the walk.

After one more monumentous hill we descended into Tolcross and desperately hunted down some sausage sandwiches to keep us conscious. It was hot and sunny by now but we were wet and tired. I took my permanently wet socks off to reveal swollen, pink feet that looked like they were suffering from some tropical disease. Such is the pleasure of long distance walking.

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