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Croyde to Barnstable

We spent the night overlooking Woolacombe Sands, risking a £50 parking fine if we were caught, and with torrential rain hammering down on the van roof. It looked as if the next day was going to be wet as well, but undeterred, we drove into Barnstable and hunted down a cafe where we had a lovely fried breakfast before heading off by bus to our starting point for the day in Croyde (leaving the Woolacombe Sands section for a summer's day).

It was pissing down as we sat on the bus, making the scenery look miserable, but as we stepped off in Croyde, the rain went off and we began walking. As usual, we hardly passed anyone at all on the path - especially now that it was winter, and soon we arrived on the huge beach of Saunton Sands. Here, we chose to walk the fundamentalist route down the beach, rather than the shorter 'official' route somewhat inland, though we would later regret this decision somewhat. Saunton Sands really is a beautiful area, though it's privately owned and covered in signs warning and informing you not to attempt to do anything even mildly interesting or you'll be fined. Riding a kite buggy warrants a £2000 fine, and even partial nudity seems equally frowned upon. Simon and I, therefore, kept all of our clothes on.

Lovely as it seems, there comes a time, however, when walking down an empty sand beach, with an unchanging perspective, your feet sinking in with every step, finally becomes boring. Saunton Sands seemed to go on forever. When finally we rounded the point, Barnstaple, our target for the day, was still far out of sight.

The path now embarked on a huge detour all the way around the inlet to Velator, which seemed to have a thriving liveaboard community, and even a few people living in old buses by the road. By this time, however, it was beginning to get dark, and it felt as if we'd spent hours following the coast, making hardly any headway at all to Barnstaple. The route was tarmac all the way from now on, making our last hours of walking incredible dull and uninteresting. The day's walk was described in the guidebook as easy, but the slow lack of progress and flat landscape made it seem much harder than the cliff route we'd done the day before. By the time we got into Barnstable it was dark and it felt like it had been a tough slog of a day, though incredibly the rain had stayed off.

Comments

What a strange walk that was.
The weather really smiled on us as Bristol and Cornwall stayed wet allday !
Glad we did it but it along way with a odd monotony.Might
be better with the summer ?

CD

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