Coastal path left Hartland Quay & Spekes Mill Waterfall

After the monumental fry up we got ourselves ready for the walk. I was still a bit delicate from the night before and was hoping the fresh air would make me feel better. I wanted Marie to come with us which meant that I had to have Ashleigh on my back. I did buy a special rucksack for this very reason but the coastline seemed quite hilly. I hoped that I could make it round and not spoil the walk for the others. The lads offered to help should I struggle so the rucksack went on and away we went.

The farms' golden retriever decided that it wanted to come with us and followed us right to the boundary of the farm. We approached the first style and the famer came thundering down in his 4x4 to get the dog, apparently it wasn't the first time he had to collect it. The weather was lovely and we were all enjoying the views and sea air.

The path zig zagged for a while before turning into steps for the rest of way. Other walkers coming the other way said hi and giggled back at Ashleigh who was bobbing up and down keeping me company. We reached the bottom and noticed that the tide was out revealing the unique geology of these shores. The rock formations were in lines, parallel lines all jutting out to sea. We walked down to some railings that allowed us to get a better view. It was very tempting to go in search of wildlife as there were plenty of rock pools.

We all took on some water as it was quite warm and if anybody felt like I did they needed rehydration whilst our livers removed what remained of the alcohol from our systems. The track in true coastal path fashion went straight up the other side. We could not believe how nice the weather was it was a great day for walking, especially by the sea that reflected the blue sky making the water very welcoming.

We got to the top and although the views were good we were soon on our way back down the other side into another valley. There was an old cottage, perhaps an old mill of sorts that was tucked up behind us.

Our route took us round behind the cottage which was a relief from the huge hills that we had climbed. Ashleigh was enjoying her ride and I was coping a lot better than I had anticipated. I kept imagining the marines or SAS carrying their gear which would be three maybe four times as heavy.

We crossed a bridge and went up a slight but long incline on to a grass plain. In the centre of the grassland was an old structure a ruin of something. We let Ash run free for while which she thoroughly enjoyed. The building could be seen from the cottage so we were quite intrigued to know what it was.

The Hartland Quay hotel was just up ahead, I think we were all looking forward to a nice sit down and I was ready for a cool glass of lemonade... yes lemonade.

At the top of the road that led down to the hotel a man was collecting £2 from every car. Nigel pretended to drive up with Rich in the passenger seat but he did not see the funny side. The road was quite steep as it descended towards a row of buildings separated by a narrow thoroughfare. The pub was on the right opposite the public loos which was giving off quite unpleasant smells. I think Cornish Rattler was the preferred choice of refreshment that went down a little too well I was told. I enjoyed my lemonade as I could not face alcohol just yet. Marie showed the lads up as she had drunk hers before she had planted her behind on the bench.

Where we were sat on a bench outside the pub, a window was open and a lady had her meal brought to the table on the inside. Mark acted out a scene that made me laugh. He pretended to ask if he could have one of her fishcakes (in a funny voice) "Scuuze me, can I have one them fishcakes?" .... She says no and slams the window down shut ... Mark knocks again and she puts down her knife and fork to open the window again, Mark replies "fucking rude" if you are not laughing I apologise it may have been one of those moments where you had to be there but it was very funny.

The band had reformed - Lost Direction

Rich had forgotten his bikini but he was happy to do some calendar shots in what he was wearing this was Septembers. That old ruined building that we passed on top of the hill was a pleasure house folly but was originally used as a look out. These shores were often used by smugglers especially when boats beached on the rocky coastline. I explored the area as the rest went into the souvenir shop and tried on some novelty hats.

Once we had refuelled and rested it was time to head back up the hill but thankfully we weren't going all the way up. We picked up the coastal path again and headed along a stoney path to another valley between two cliffs. It was a really strange coastline because what we saw close to the cottage on that first evening we saw a replica here. It looked like an identical copy. Part of the cliff had slipped away leaving a deep grassed valley between the two sides with a stream running through it. This section had a name unlike the one close to the cottage - St Catherines Tor It must have something to do with the water carving a gap over millions of years. The stream fell off the side of the cliff and hit the rocks below and disappeared, all that water and it just vanished under the rocks.

We were on our way to Spekes mill mouth which was one of the most famous waterfalls in north Devon. Before we reached it we had to go through a meadow crossing over a small stream and make it up a long and quite steep incline. All that separated us from a sheer drop to the rocks below was a rusty barbed wire fence. I did not take many photos along this section because all I wanted to do was get up the hill. Ashleigh had gone to sleep on my back, I am not sure how because her head was flopping all over the place but she was. We finally made it up the hill, it was the worst yet but we did it and guess what? no sooner had we reached the top we were on our way back down the other side. It wasn't so bad because we could see the waterfall ahead of us.

Around the top of the waterfall a pool formed and the shallow stream flowed straight into it before going over the edge. I wanted to get my feet wet and I was relieved when the other lads were already removing their boots. I removed Ashleigh from my back and got stuck in. The water was refreshingly freezing, even Lynn got in too - fair play to her.

This was the furthest we got along the coastal path it was time to head inland and back to the cottage. The sun was at its hottest and Ashleigh had no hat so Marie improvised and put a nappy-pull up on her head. As daft as it may sound it kept the sun off her and absorbed any sweat but we did chuckle.

Stoke was our next location though it was not a flat ride we still had plenty of hills to climb with very few descents. We arrived at Stoke and had a toilet break before heading back to Blegberry. We went down into a scenic area that had a nice little stone bridge over a rushing stream passing Hartland Abbey on our right. Supposedly the place where Prince William had his stag doo. Much to my dismay we had yet another long hill to climb, I just put my head down and marched up it talking gibberish to my co pilot. I did not take any photos on the walk back because it was not that pretty. All I had on my mind was that hot tub and a cold thatchers.

We made it back and the sun was still shining it had been a glorious day. The trek was surprisingly only 6.5 miles - it certainly felt more like eight.

Created By
Stewart Scott

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