Today we plan on doing another hike on the south west coast path going from our Airbnb barn to Lynmouth, but this time Sandy is smart and buys maps of the route from the tourist information shop in Porlock. Unfortunately Jim leaves the best map behind when we set out from our barn on this trek.
Our first destination is the remains of the footprint of a Roman Fort. We were proud to find this with only one missed turn.
From here we tried to follow the map and signs to the south west coast path that would take us to Lynmouth. We went through fields of sheep and cows. The path was nondescript, very faint and the map was hard to follow.
Needless to say we found ourselves hopelessly lost in a thick forest with absolutely no trail markers and no one in sight and spotty weak cellular coverage. Sandy was convinced that we would be spending the night in the woods. Jim on the other hand remained confident and calm, knowing that heading downhill towards the ocean we would have to hit the coastal trail. He spied one yellow marking on a tree and convinced Sandy that we were in fact on a trail. After about one hour of wading through the forest with Sandy constantly cursing we came across the coastal trail much to her delight. There are no pictures to document this beautiful remote part of the hike as our official photographer was in a state of apopoplectic terror.
About two miles before reaching Lynmouth another hiker overtook us from behind and we continued on together with wonderful conversation about hiking, travel and life. Our new friend Tom Hunter is a serious hiker who has hiked much of the south west coast path. He lives in North Devon and has his wife drop him off somewhere and he will walk for a few days along the coast before she picks him up again. He has done a house exchange with an NYU professor and lived in Greenwich Village for a few weeks. At some point Sandy realized that we have run marathons faster than we hiked these 8 miles. Tom then told us that hikers on this trail usually cover only two miles per hour when hiking without rest stops. This information made Sandy feel much better.
The following day, road trip day #26 we drive back to London and stay in the home of our friends Sigi and Paul in Richmond. They are away traveling in Scotland but insisted that we spend our last night in their home before flying out to Berlin.
We arrived early afternoon in Richmond and reorganized our luggage before going out for a great appetizers only meal at a local pub.
So we have spent 26 days traveling England by car. It has been very different from our usual MO of settling in a city for 2-3 months. We have seen a lot of new sites, beautiful countryside, innumerable cathedrals and taken some interesting hikes. It has been very enjoyable but is much more tiring than having a permanent home for months at a time. We are very happy that we did this trip but we have learned a lot about ourselves and our travel preferences. We will probably not take on another road trip of this duration. We are now off to Berlin, Boston and Melbourne.