Day 4 – SWCP (part 2) – Buck Mills to Titchberry

A group of us are completing the South West Coastal Path Trail in a series of section hikes, wild camping as we go. This is part two of our journey which was during late November / early December 2021. Yep, it was rather cold and extremely windy!

The one with the blow downs, flapping ponchos and sleeping in a cow shed!  

WEATHER:  Bloody awful!

DISTANCE: Total: 12.67 miles 

HEALTH: Boy did I ache this morning! Those hills yesterday were a killer. I’ve also got a cold sore appearing on my top lip. Feet = good! 

Buck Mills to West Titchberry

Our most challenging day (I know I keep saying that!). I was fighting the grumps when I got lost. Clambering over endless blowdown trees and crossing streams. Lots of PUDS (Pointless ups and downs!). And ended up setting up camp in a cowshed.  


🛌 5.30 am – Groundhog day! I wake up. Write my blog. Make a coffee, go for a wee!

I stink! I can’t stand this anymore so I heat some water,

pull out the soap leaf things and give myself a full-on bed bath! The soap leaves are useless, but hey, I feel clean again! 

⛅️ 8 am – no sunrise. Packed up and off! Clovelly is calling! I leave camp first as the other two are still faffing around with gear. “We will catch you up” they sing! It’s wet already and the poncho is fully deployed. 

🍁 8.15 – I’m following the trail which seems to be getting thinner and thinner. I’m now clambering down a very steep forest trail and I lose my footing a few times. Eventually, I go arse over tit and I’m sitting on wet leaves thinking “this feels wrong”.  I should have listened to my gut, but I continue along the trail until it comes to an abrupt end, on a cliff edge. I’m lost! 

🗺 I’m not actually lost, I’m just off the trail. I open my phone and launch OS Maps. I now know that I’ve got to clamber all the way back up that hill. The grumps set in as I clamber over fallen trees and slip-on hidden rocks. This is not going well at all! 

8.40 am – I’ve no idea where Rebecca & Davina are. I’m on my own, in the woods and I’m calling out their names but there is no reply. I need to take five. I take off my poncho as I’m sweating my nuts off (if I had nuts!).  Right. That’s better. Let’s regroup, keep on moving and try to stay positive. 

🥾 8.50 am- what’s that? I recognise that dog poo bag! It’s full of trash. It’s Rebecca’s! I tie the bag to my waist belt (just call me the bag lady!). I know they are in front of me now. Time to put my foot down and catch them up! 

9.15 am – I’m back on the trail now and the woody trail turns into a track. This is more like it! There are some beautiful white benches overlooking the views of Clovelly. We had agreed to meet at The New Inn Pub in Clovelly, so I knew that’s where the two girls would be. I nod at two men with their springer spaniels. They are both dressed in weird-looking hunting gear (green tweed with brown bits on the elbows and flappy ears hats). My pace gets faster as I can hear the pub calling my name!! Oh, what’s that? It’s not the pub calling my name, it’s a familiar voice that is coming from behind me. It’s Davina! She was a welcome sight. 

🦅 9.55 – Davina and I were very confused by the long line of Range Rovers armed on this little track in the middle of nowhere.  One of the cars had its doors wide open, but we couldn’t see anyone nearby. There must have been around 20 cars there. Confused, we took photos and then carried on. “There are people down there,” says Davina. We then came across another two chaps dressed in similar attire to the previous guys and they explained that we were walking in the middle of a “shoot”. Some bloke up on the top of the woods was beating a big plastic pole/stick thing to trees. All the pheasants were running up the top. The guys down the bottom had to shoot the pheasants when they flew in the air. The springers would get dead birds. It’s obviously a popular sport, but all I could think of was the fate of those poor birds. I’ve heard enough and the pub is once again calling! 

☕️ 10.20 am – made it to Clovelly which is like walking back in time! We descend the cobbled road in search of coffee! We were welcomed with open arms at The New Inn. Coffee all around! They don’t open for food so we have packets of crisps and enjoy the warmth whilst we dry off and recharge our batteries. We found Rebecca sitting in the corner looking very comfortable.  “Hello stranger,” I said, then explained how she got here before me! 

🥾 11 am – Fully rested and after a little explore of this cute, quaint and quirky village, we hit the road again. 

👼 12.15 – All three of us are now keeping pace together. We soon stumble upon a rather unusual monument that looks like it should be in China, not Devon. It’s called Angel’s Wings and we pose for photos. 

🌳 2 pm – Today has felt like an assault course with all the blown down trees but we are now faced with a huge tree that has fallen across the bridge that we need to cross. Rebecca goes first and her legs are slipping all over the place. “There’s no way through” she shouts. “We need to get off the bridge, go under the tree and cross that stream”. We were all wet anyway and we can’t go back, so we follow her lead. Rebecca takes her pack off and throws it under the tree. She wades through the stream, cursing as she goes. That doesn’t look fun! My turn! I try and go up to the bank, but it’s slippery and I’m struggling to stand up. I make it, eventually. 

Davina throws herself into the task. With her pack still on and her poncho flapping around she goes down on her hands and knees to tackle the tree and then wades through the stream. We all start laughing as we spot another fallen tree on the other side of the bridge. It’s slow going! 

More PUDS! My legs are now getting tired and the wind has picked up. 

🚶‍♀️ 3.30 pm – The rain is now coming down quite heavily and we urgently need to find somewhere sheltered to set up camp. The wind is blowing a hooley and I really don’t want to be out on Hartland Point in this.  We venture off-trail and into a small hamlet called East Titchberry.  There was one farmhouse that had a small field around the back but there was no answer at the door. We continued on to the next village feeling like Mary & Joseph looking for somewhere to stay.  

🏕 3.40 pm – 10 mins later we were in West Tichberry and a lady was standing on the roadside waiting for her kids to be dropped off by the school bus. We asked her if she knew anywhere to camp and that same “you are bonkers” look was plastered all over her face. The kind lady took us to two fields that were not bad and not too exposed, then she said “or you can go in the shed?” We followed her direction and she showed us this huge old barn that is scattered with old machinery, and a trailer full of logs. The floor is covered in hay and lots of dried up sheep’s shit all over the place. Davina and I are up for it, but Rebecca needs convincing! “We are a bit early for nativity”, says Rebecca. “It’s not December until tomorrow. I’ve got my Christmas muff with me” she said with a wink! I knew that she meant “buff” not muff.  

“Let’s try and set up our tents and see how we get on. At least we are out of the wind and our tents can dry off as they are still wet from this morning. Agreed?”.  Rebecca reluctantly nodded in agreement, although pitching her brand new tent on dried sheep poo was probably not how she was expecting to spend the night! 

4.30pm – The kind lady from the farm brings us a big flask of hot tea. How lovely is that? We are all set up and have created a little communal area with our chairs and stoves.  We sit together, laugh, cook, eat and then tiredness overtakes me. 

💤 7.30pm – I’m a lightweight and tell the girls I need to lie down. I watch the rest of the film 2012, and then fall asleep listening to the clatter of the corrugated roof taking a pounding with the wind. I’m so thankful that we are not camping out in a field in this weather!  

Night night. See you tomorrow. 

Until next time…. Thank you for reading the blog.