Westward Ho! – Clovelly (11.2 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 98.7 miles / Distance toPoole– 534.2 miles
Generally the South West Coast Path is inconvenient. It is made up of linear walks which means you have to spend a lot of time working out how to get back to the car – not always a top priority when you’ve walked a long and strenuous route and all you want to do is sit in a hot bath or with a cold pint!
Today has been a day of inconveniences. It all started with trying to find the public toilets in Westward Ho! – vital as there are no more toilets until Clovelly, 11.2 miles and 5 ½ hours later. We found the new block of public conveniences (or PC as they are now written on maps – forget looking for WC’s as they no longer exist!) which are the pride of the town, only to find them locked. The man who opens them at 6.30am obviously had a lie-in and forgot to open them. It turns out, after traipsing around town to find the old toilet block, that he had forgotten to open those too and we were left with nowhere to wee! It was rather an inconvenience. (a big thanks go to the lovely café lady who let us use her toilets)
Then came the next inconvenience – the rain. And the wind. And the more rain. Rain gets you wet and causes all your clothes to become heavy and soggy and it’s harder to walk. The rain causes the ground underfoot to become muddy and slippery and it’s harder to walk. The rain causes the scenery to become lost in the midst of the raincloud and without the glorious scenery to spur you on it’s harder to walk. It was rather an inconvenience.
Then came the thunder and lightning.
This happened when we found ourselves on top of an exposed section of cliff top with nothing but our walking poles to help us not be blown off the cliff by the gale force winds. Our metal walking poles! In a lightning and thunder storm! Getting struck by lightning would have been rather inconvenient.
These things, all of which seemed to conspire against us to make life more difficult and inconvenient, can be frustrating. But then I think of why I am doing this walk, and I think about the lives of those I met in India who have heartbreaking life stories all because of leprosy. Their lives, their stories can be an inconvenience to us and being reminded of our Christian duty towards them can be really inconvenient in our busy lives.
But maybe these inconveniences which interrupt our lives and our plans are in fact an opportunity from God to challenge the way we think, the way we pray, the way we give and the way we live…..just not sure how that works with the horizontal rain though!