Happy Walks in Devon

Son announced that Boris was going to make a speech, so we all sat in front of the television and waited. We (like much of the English population) waited for quite a long time because either someone was stuck in the washroom or they were discussing what to say, or the presentation wasn’t ready. Eventually Boris and his backup crew appeared, and another Lockdown was announced, beginning on Wednesday at midnight. Did that mean we had to go home early?

We pondered the ethics of pretending we hadn’t seen the news bulletin, whilst searching online for further details. Eventually we found details on the government website, which stated that people already on holiday did not have to return home early, but they did have to obey local lockdown rules wherever they were living. Phew! Holiday of basically enjoying the cottage with views and walks along the cliffs could continue.

I didn’t much enjoy one walk, which involved scrabbling up the side of a mountain/hill. It was very steep, and as I struggled to follow Husband (who always strides ahead and forgets he has a wife at times like this) I knew that I would never be able to walk down the same way. Walking down is much harder, because my knees hurt, and my eyes see the sheer slope before me and tell my brain that I am about to fall to my death, at which point dodgy knees give up completely and I am unable to move. But we were going up, so that wasn’t so bad.

Unfortunately, when we got to the top of the mountain/hill, there did not appear to be an easy route down the other side. The way forward was just as sheer. I considered sliding down on my bottom. Then I noticed tyre tracks. There was no way a vehicle could have driven down those slopes, so even though the tracks went up, I followed them. The tracks led up the mountain, then curved back towards the town. We found an easier way down, and a curved round seat for wives with didgy knees to rest on.

My feet are not really this big!

One lovely walk was to Morte Point. We left old dog at home (because her poor legs wouldn’t make it) and son at home (because he had to work) and set off along the coastal path. The first thing of interest we saw was a waterfall which should have been plummeting down the rockface, but due to the wind it was flowing up into the air and falling onto the cliff. It looked like very localised rain. There were also cows, the bovine equivalent of Shetland ponies as they had shaggy coats and they were short. I went and told them about my latest Greek lesson (because my family have refused to listen to any more interesting Greek facts).

Cow enjoying facts about Greek. It stayed for a remarkably long time before pooping and walking away. I think the breed is Belted Galloway. They all had a white ‘saddle’ and a shaggy coat.

The walk to Morte Point was fairly easy, and although there were areas that the path went very near the cliff edge, it was possible to walk very fast and not look down, so even someone who doesn’t like heights managed it. I had read that there are often seals and cormorants on this bit of coast, but we didn’t see any on our first trip. Later in the week we returned with son, and there was a seal bobbing near the rocks, peering up at us, like a nosey Labrador puppy! We sat on rocks smoothed by waves, and looked out to sea. As we left, we saw two cormorants, drying their wings in the sunshine and ignoring us. They are quite big, black-winged birds, and I don’t think I have ever seen them in England before.

Further along the coast we saw foam drifting up from the beach. When I peered over the edge of the cliff, the sea was covered in bubbles of creamy foam, and when the wind caught it the foam floated up like bubble bath, to coat the cliffs above. There was a cove—Gunta Beach—that we could climb down to. We sat for a while, listening to the tiny waterfalls running down the cliff, and the sea whooshing over the rocks, and it was perfect.

Our last walk was to the lighthouse at Bull Point. It’s not possible to go into the lighthouse, but we could stand and look at it and imagine all the ships in times gone by that have crashed on the rocks below. It was built in 1879 and is one of those lighthouses that are very disappointing as a child, because all their height comes from the cliff, and they are squat buildings with a light rather than a tall slim structure like the ones in picture books.

On Saturday, we came home. The drive was very smooth because all the traffic was safely locked down at home. We will continue the lockdown safely at our own house. I hope you are safe too.

Take care, and thank you for reading.

Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson
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