Sunday 23 March 2014- Blegberry- Hartland Quay
Me, Paddy Garcia, Kate Force One, Magic Dave, Burge and Mother of Two
This coastline faces west to the full Atlantic swell rather than north towards the Bristol Channel and the geology and scenery were even more spectacular (than yesterday). An up and down route with lots of steps and good viewpoints. Vast pebbly beaches. Also crossed the idyllic mouth of the Abbey River at Blackpool Mill Cottage. The final stretch to Hartland Quay included a ruined tower, lots of sheep and steep descent to the Wreckers Retreat for chip- and cake-based snacks. We enjoyed the rare pleasure of engaging in a debate on a factual topic (saltiness of the sea, causes of), without access to the internet*. And thus without conclusion. Old-fashioned indeed.
Uphill back to the main path, then struck inland to visit Stoke, and St Nectan’s Church, founded (originally) by Gytha, mother of King Harold in 1050. Mighty tower, beautiful ceilings and the marvellous Pope’s Chamber- up secret stairs to find a treasure trove of stocks, animal traps, masonry fragments, Jacobean woodwork and damp spotty pictures of serious ecclesiastical worthies.
From Stoke (where Burge’s ankle went), the route took us back along hilly country lanes (where Magic Dave’s knee went), past Hartland Abbey. The final green lane gave a great sense of Blegberry as a fortified farm perched on the cliffs. Glad to sit our shaky legs down at the end.
I loved this walk. It had everything I like in a route- spectacular natural scenery, varied views, interesting historic gubbins, and plenty of laughter. Some overuse of the word ‘evaporation’ perhaps (see saltiness, above).
*Also enjoyed by the man on the table next to us, who clearly thought we were eejits. He might have been right, we had drunk alot of gin and champagne cocktails the night before.