Sunday, 5 June 2011

Westward? No!

I realise that seaside towns are best viewed in the sun and that it's largely unfair to judge them on their appearance after it's been raining, but dear Lord, this is an ugly place isn't it? Seagulls fought with obese children over chips, arcades spat out offensively loud monotone dross and old people sat in covered alcoves, waiting for either the rain or themselves to die - whichever came first.

I didn't take a lot of photos, as you can imagine, but here's one that sums the place up nicely.

But still, the walk here had left me tired and my knee sore, so I wondered up to Braddicks Holiday Centre and spoke to the girl at reception.

'Hello there, I've just come in off the coast path, I'm looking for a place for the night?'
'Are you staying in one of our hideously ugly camper vans?' (I'm paraphrasing a little.)
'Err no, no I've got a tent. See?' I turn to better let her see the pack on my back which is as large as I am.
'Sorry, we've got no space.'
'Oh. Um, really?'
'Yes. No space.'
'But my girlfriend phoned up a couple hours ago, she was told you had plenty?'
'We're full.'
'But you weren't full then.'
'We are now.'
I wonder to the door and brandish my stick at the swathes of gazebo sized space outside. 'What about all that?'
'That's not for camping. Not today.'
'No? Right. Well, thankyou for your help.'
'No problem, Sir. Have a good day.'


I didn't say it, I was brought up to respect the opposite sex, even if they're horrendous, inbred Devonions.

So I set off to find somewhere else in town but find nowhere - my book, misleading as I've found it has the potential to be, tells me that there's a campsite called the Steart Farm touring park in Bideford. I ask around, take a look at my map and find out that it's, infact, a lot closer to Clovelly. As in, right next to it. And this is a problem I've been discovering throughout the book - they expect you to have a car, or a support van or a jet pack. Or loads of money. But for the solo hiker on a budget, they offer precious little and I've heard the same from other people I've met on the path. Several towns and villages with campsites have those campsites ignored, in favour of expensive B&B's in the town and that's just no good - this path wasn't solely designed to be enjoyed by wealthy hikers was it?

Having spoken to the people back home, I decide to set off for Clovelly and do another double day's walking, at this rate I'll at Lands End by Friday...

The walk out from Westward Ho! starts nicely enough and I enjoyed watching the sea, punishing the cliffs with some impressive waves and daring surfers to have a go, if they think they're hard enough. None of them did.

I stopped just after a new development of luxury flats and set my bag down to take a breather - today wouldn't be so bad after all, I'd end up in Clovelly! Even if I would be knackered, I'd wanted to see Clovelly for months and I'd be on about the 100 mile mark to boot. Sorted! Wonderful! Great! Leaning on my stick, I straighten up, my mind full of what the book calls 'One of the prettiest villages in Britain' and then?


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