Tuesday, 10 February 2009

South West Coast Path Day 7 Bideford - Westward Ho!

Atlantic Highway Bridge
The weather forecast was dire but had suggested a short window of opportunity if I got up really early. A weather front was due to track over from mid morning, bringing plenty of heavy rain with it. I deliberately chose a short section of the walk, which I felt confident of completing before the rain came. I got up while it was still dark and headed down to Bideford, easily the furthest point away from the cottage where I was staying. I got there at first light and although it was a bit grey, it was quite still and so far there was no sign of the impending storm.

The path left Bideford along the banks of the River Torridge, and under the impressive Atlantic Highway bridge carrying the A39 past Bideford. From here the path weaved its way around the riverbank through the trees until eventually it opened out to a shipyard, which looked like it was more in the business of breaking up ships rather than building them. There were a couple of pretty rusty looking vessels in the river that looked like they had seen better days. Just past here I reached the pretty village of Appledore, which had a rather homespun looking sign announcing itself. The riverfront was quite pleasant and there were good views across to Instow, to where there is a ferry service during the summer months. By now the day had really begun and there were people about heading off towards work. Oddly the weather had improved too, with a hint of sunshine, although this didn’t last too long.

Ship Graveyard
The path wound its way through the narrow streets of Appledore before reaching Northam Burrows. This was effectively an extension of Braunton Burrows, where I had already walked a couple of days previously. By now the wind had got up and when I turned around the headland to make my way down the home stretch towards Westward Ho! I really noticed how much the wind had increased. The last stretch down the beach was very bracing for any time of day, but it helped me stay awake after my very early morning. It seemed like ages before I finally made it to the rather gloomy resort of Westward Ho! Luckily I made it before the rain, which arrived just before the bus. It felt good to complete my day by 10am, leaving me the rest of the day to shelter from what turned out to be very heavy rain for most of the rest of the day.


No comments:

Post a Comment