Day 281 Starting the South West Coast Path

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Minehead to Porlock

8 miles

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!

eerie stillness at the quayside in Minehead
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. 

the official start of the South West Coast Path (seems like I’m doing this one in the right direction)
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. 

beautiful big trees heading up North Hill
walking up the hill through the trees
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. 

great views from the top!
at the top of the hill
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. 

looking down on Porlock Bay
It was a steep walk down to Porlock Bay. The villages of Bossington and Porlock seemed quiet and quaint; I spotted several thatched cottages. 

the hills I walked over
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’s quaint high street
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. 

2 thoughts on “Day 281 Starting the South West Coast Path

  1. Chris F May 11, 2016 / 4:35 am

    The path is now positively congested.

    I would caution against drinking from cattle troughs and other sites, if water is accessible to you it is also accessible to all manner of creatures……including rats, which carry Weil’s Disease!!!!! FYI – Weil’s disease is a form of a bacterial infection also known as Leptospirosis that is carried by animals, most commonly in rats and cattle. It can be caught by humans through contact with rat or cattle urine, most commonly occurring through contaminated fresh water. If you have to drink water from such vessels double boil it.

    On on Juicy Lucy can’t wait to hear who you bump into next………Polperro Pete, Appledore Angus, Port Isaac Patricia…….they are all out there you know.

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  2. jstumm May 11, 2016 / 7:05 pm

    Weil’s Disease – also contractible from swimming in rat infested water (probably by inadvertantly swallowing the water) – a worry I had whilst swimming in the Royal Albert Docks in London! But there are plenty of open water swims in devon and cornwall over the summer… I did the Solent one, but you would probably enjoy The Scilly Challenge, consisting of swimming and walking around the Isle – maybe something for next year?!

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