Lynton – Combe Martin (13.3 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 35.1 miles / Distance from Poole – 598.3 miles
What a difference a day makes! Today was set to be ‘strenuous’ and longer than yesterday by a mile and yet I had a great day and even finished ¾ hour earlier than expected!
Despite this speedy finish when it comes to going up hills I am quite a slow walker. On steep climbs I find myself picking a point in the near distance and challenging myself to walk to it. Then I breathe / admire the view! When my legs feel less like jelly and my breathing sounds less like a steam train, I set off again, picking a tree, rock, gorse bush in the distance (by distance I mean 10-15 paces!). By the time I reach the summit I am red faced and breathless.
Today’s stage included the Great Hangman which is the highest point on the entire South West Coast Path and one of the highest coastal locations in the country. Needless to say it took me ages to get to the top, but when I did I was overjoyed! I could see for miles around and knew that I had achieved something I was proud of….plus it was pretty much all downhill after that!
This morning I was lucky enough to have some companions with me, two of which, Tony & Joan Wragg, have previously walked the entire South West Coast Path. It took them 6 years – they didn’t do it all in one go of course (they would have to be really slow walkers for that!), but over weekends and holidays around Devon, Cornwall & Dorset. It was great to be able to listen to their experience and to take some much needed advice from them about certain stages. But it took them years to do the whole thing. They didn’t rush but took their time when they were able. But Joan said she had tears of joy when she finished her last stage last summer, such was her sense of achievement and pride in what she had accomplished.
So as I continue on this walk I need to remember that it is the journey that is important and not the speed at which the destination is reached. This walk is full of hills and by the end of it I will have climbed nearly 4 times the height of Everest. I may not have run up them – more like crawled, but what a sense of achievement it will be, and what a vast array of views I get to see from the tops. Plus as I walk 10 paces and then stop to breathe, I am seeing so much more than if I powered on up. So here’s so slow ascents and breathtaking views!