Category Archives: South West Coast Path

4 years ago…

4 years ago today I posed for this photo at Land’s End, almost half way through my 630-mile journey along the South West Coast Path. Amazing how time flies!

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A reminder from a forgotten fritillary

Looking back through some of my South West Coast Path photos recently, I came across this shaky shot of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly, hidden amidst the thousands of photos (a colossal 8,323 in total) that I took during my time walking the trail.

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I had forgotten about this particular encounter. Coming across the picture again, I flashed back in my mind. For a second or two, I went back in time, memories flowing back. An orange flash by the side of the path, lifting my gaze from my boots. The butterfly lifting too, sailing adrift, gliding ahead. To my right; the ever boundless sea. Salty air in my lungs, the sun high in the sky, the seabird choristers sounding out their waves against the background din of surf and spray. The butterfly eventually dropped from view, anchoring in the vegetation beside the path. I remember catching sight of it again as I continued on my way. Wings open, it glistened, golden in the sun. I took out my camera and snapped the shutter. And then, as if acknowledging my presence, it shot back into the air, sweeping away on the sea breeze.

I know at the time that I would have had no idea what species it was. It’s interesting, because if I were to see this same butterfly now I would react very differently – likely splurting out a muffled and excitable yelp, before instantly dropping into butterfly-observing stealth mode (something I am trying to perfect as almost all butterflies still catch on to my clumsy, blundering approaches). Nonetheless, I still reacted to what I saw, the butterfly capturing my attention and provoking my interest.

During those 61 days that I spent walking the trail, I had countless other encounters similar to those brief moments with the fritillary. The majority of the wildlife that I saw, I had never seen before (!) – or maybe more accurately, I had never paid attention to before. But now I was paying attention. Whether it was a Robin perched close in front of me while I took a quick break, a Kestrel hovering impressively above my head while I walked, an Adder curled up by the side of the path. I remember seeing a Fox with its latest catch in its mouth from the window of a hostel and tasting a type of wild garlic (Three-cornered Leek) for the first time after a fellow walker offered me some to try. All new experiences at the time, and all fascinating.

 

The pictures demonstrate me connecting with nature in a way I had never previously done before. They represent the very beginning of a spark, a flicker of appreciation. Over the course of the trail’s 630-miles I began to discover just how special the natural world really is; encountering it and enjoying it for the first time.

Finding the forgotten fritillary has served to remind me of just how much the South West Coast Path has changed my life…

End of the trail

I finished walking the entire 630 mile South West Coast National Trail yesterday on the 3rd of June, 2010. I managed to raise £3,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support (triple my original target!). Thank you to EVERYONE who donated and helped me complete this challenge – I couldn’t have done it without you…

CLICK HERE for my first post and more information on the walk.

Itinerary

Week 1
Day 1 – Hartlepool to Minehead
Day 2 – Minehead to Porlock Weir (10 miles)
Day 3 – Porlock Weir to Lynmouth/Lynton (12 miles)
Day 4 – Lynmouth/Lynton to Combe Martin (13 miles)
Day 5 – Combe Martin to Ilracombe (5 miles)
Day 6 – Exploring Lundy Island
Day 7 – Ilfracombe to Woolacombe (8 miles)

Week 2
Day 8 – Woolacombe to Braunton (16 miles)
Day 9 – Braunton to Instow (12 miles)
Day 10 – Instow to Westward Ho! (11 miles)
Day 11 – Westward Ho! to Clovelly (11 miles)
Day 12 – Clovelly to Hartland Quay (10 miles)
Day 13 – Hartland Quay to Morwenstow (9 miles)
Day 14 – Morwenstow to Bude (7 miles)

Week 3
Day 15 – Bude to Crackington Haven (10 miles)
Day 16 – Crackington Haven to Boscastle (7 miles)
Day 17 – Boscastle to Tintagel (4 miles)
Day 18 – Tintagel to Port Isaac (9 miles)
Day 19 – Port Isaac to Padstow (12 miles)
Day 20 – Padstow to Porthcothan (14 miles)
Day 21 – Porthcothan to Newquay (11 miles)

Week 4
Day 22 – Newquay
Day 23 – Newquay to Perranporth (11 miles)
Day 24 – Perranporth to Portreath (12 miles)
Day 25 – Portreath to Hayle (12 miles)
Day 26 – Hayle to St Ives (6 miles)
Day 27 – St. Ives
Day 28 – St. Ives to Zennor (7 miles)

Week 5
Day 29 – Zennor to St. Just (11.2 miles)
Day 30 – St.Just to Porthcurno (11 miles)
Day 31 – Porthcurno to Penzance (10 miles)
Day 32 – Exploring the Isles of Scilly
Day 33 – Penzance to Porthleven (14 miles)
Day 34 – Porthleven to Mullion Cove
Day 35 – Mullion Cove to Lizard Town

Week 6
Day 36 – Lizard Town to Coverack
Day 37 – Coverack to Helford
Day 38 – Helford to Falmouth (10 miles)
Day 39 – Falmouth to Portloe (14 miles)
Day 40 – The Eden Project
Day 41 – Portloe to Mevagissey (12 miles)
Day 42 – Mevagissey to Fowey (14 miles)

Week 7
Day 43 – Fowey to Polperro (7 miles)
Day 44 – Polperro to Downderry
Day 45 – Downderry to Plymouth
Day 46 – Plymouth
Day 47 – Plymouth to Wembury (15 miles)
Day 48 – Wembury to Bantham
Day 49 – Bantham to Salcombe (14 miles)

Week 8
Day 50 – Salcombe to Torcross (13 miles)
Day 51 – Torcross to Dartmouth (10 miles)
Day 52 – Dartmouth to Brixham (11 miles)
Day 53 – Brixham to Torquay (13 miles)
Day 54 – Torquay to Exmouth (15 miles)
Day 55 – Exmouth to Sidmouth (13 miles)
Day 56 – Sidmouth to Axmouth (11 miles)

Week 9
Day 57 – Axmouth to West Bay (16 miles)
Day 58 – West Bay to Abbotsbury (9 miles)
Day 59 – Abbotsbury to Osmington (14 miles)
Day 60 – Osmington to Lulworth
Day 61 – Lulworth to Worth Matravers (14 miles)
Day 62 – Worth Matravers to Poole Harbour (14 miles)
Day 63 – Poole Harbour to Hartlepool


Days 36-63

Unfortunately, during the period above I fell behind with the written part of my blog and only managed to upload photographs of my journey with no text.

See days 1-35 & 43 for my daily walking diary with accompanying pictures…

SWCP – Osmington to Lulworth (Day 60)

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