At 8.00 am Monday 19 November I breakfasted at Captain Morgan's café on Salcombe seafront. The weather forecast did not look good. The ferry was running (hey, that's a first!) — it was a small dinghy with an outboard motor — and I was soon safely across the river. I was the only passenger. The short trip to East Portlemouth had been choppy and I was glad to disembark.
The path to the coastguard lookout at Prawle Point and the lighthouse at Start Point was long, rugged and arduous.
I'm not good with too much exposure and at times felt giddy with vertigo.
Despite the lashing wind and rain I felt I had a duty to my blog readers to record the day.
The trail clung obstinately to the rim of the cliff tops, winding up, down and around, then up, down and around again. Then again.
And always the sound of roaring waves crashing against the rocky shoreline. And sometimes the sight of floating spume flung up from below, then flecking the path like soapsuds.
There was so little colour on this grey and stormy day that these remnants of yellow gorse flowers were a brief and pathetic source of consolation.
The photograph below is my favourite, and I think it captures everything about this challenging stage of the walk. I'm calling it 'The Devil's Cauldron'.
Can you spot the remote coastguard lookout at Prawle Point? It was at this point I put my camera away. It was just too difficult synchronising brain and freezing fingers to a backdrop of face-whipping winds, rain squalls and soaking spray.
But not before I'd managed to shoot a green field full of sheep from behind this stone wall — a temporary haven of tranquillity.
Eventually the gradients lessened and I dipped down to Hallsands, Beesands and Torcross. (In Beesands I had a late lunch at the Cricket Inn and ate one of the best sandwiches of the trek — thick slices of locally-sourced ham wedged in a huge floury cob with homemade coleslaw. Washed down with a pint of regional bitter. Naturally.)
Then it was a late-afternoon slog to Slapton with the road on my left and the restless sea on my right. The rain still poured. My spirits sank again. I passed Slapton Ley Nature Reserve and Slapton Ley Field Centre and finally located the spooky, secluded Tower Inn just as dusk was falling...