Tuesday 10 May 2016
Minehead to Porlock
Overstream Guest House
The prolonged rain that was promised hadn’t materialised so the air felt even heavier this morning. It was misty, still, hot and very close. Perfect weather for climbing a steep hill!
Expecting it to rain later I decided on another night in a B&B, and Carl from the Old Ship Aground Inn recommended one in Porlock. He even phoned and booked while I ate a very nice breakfast.
This morning I started walking the South West Coast Path. The start point was right by the Quay and yesterday some fellow walkers had taken my photo in front of it. They were walking to Newquay over 2 weeks and were seasoned long distance walkers.
Today I met Tanya from Germany (walking to St Ives) and a man who was just finishing the whole path on his 2nd visit. He was walking for charity and wild camping the whole way; just like Seaside Steve he had lots of tips for getting water. I wondered if this was a sign of things to come and I will bump into lots of people “on the trail”? The people I’ve met so far have asked me lots of questions and, unlike them, I haven’t even thought about walking the SW Coast Path because it hasn’t been my focus. Luckily there’s a website to help with my planning.
Porlock is the first stop listed on the walk planning part of the SW Coast Path website, and it’s only 8 miles from Minehead. A sign of the steepness of the hills in between perhaps? I thought I might as well stop there as Lynmouth seemed too far and besides, the rain must arrive soon.
I set off from Minehead, crossed into the Exmoor National Park, and immediately climbed up North Hill through some lovely woodland. It was steep. The path was over the moorland hill tops to Porlock. It was misty all the way so there were no views.
It did rain a bit and I did put on my waterproof, for about 5 minutes before I realised I was wetter inside than out.
It was a steep walk down to Porlock Bay. The villages of Bossington and Porlock seemed quiet and quaint; I spotted several thatched cottages.
I arrived at Overstream Guest House, in a drizzle, at midday, after 3 hours of leisurely walking. Luckily the owners let me in and fed me tea and homemade cake.
Porlock is nestled at the bottom of Porlock Hill, which has a 25% gradient road out of it. Naturally I walked up part of it and wished I had a bike to give it a go. There were plenty of signs advising caravans to take the woodland toll road instead.