Sea views and scary seagulls

Keen to make the most of my day in Devon I ventured out bright and early to embark on a hike.

I decided to follow the South West Coastal Route from Ilfracombe (where I am staying) to Woolacombe. Approximately 8 miles.

The trail began behind Ilfracombe’s village museum and theatre.

From there it was extremely easy to follow the well signposted trail. You don’t need a map.

The majority of the path was traffic free. Walking along designated footpaths was delightful. There was not a car in sight and only a few people.

The views were outstanding. Dramatic cliffs jutted out into the sea, as ferocious waves hit them.

I overtook two French ladies, who were to be my saviours.

Getting into the rhythm of walking, I was suddenly forced to stop.

A dozen cows and ominous looking bulls completely blocked the path. I had images of the horrific bullfights in Spain. I didn’t want the livestock to run at me. Looking at them, they could have easily flattened me. They were humongous.

I hesitated, feeling uneasy. They didn’t have any young around. So at least that was something.

After some time the feisty retired French ladies caught up and bounded to my rescue.

‘No problem, go, go,’ They said as I sandwiched in between them both and we maneuvered our way around the animals. One of the ladies confidently opened the gate nudging a cow. This did the trick as it strolled away.

It turned out the two ladies were on a 40 day trek along the coastal path. How incredible.

We chatted a little before we said farewell.

‘See you at the next cow,’ one lady remarked.

We laughed as I sped on past.

Panting at the top of hills, I looked out across the sea. The views were gorgeous. I was so lucky with the weather. It appeared to be raining in the near distance but not where I was.

My legs were feeling the burn from the biking the day before so when I could see Woolacombe I was very pleased.

On arrival, I went into the tourist office to ask about buses and see if there was any useful information. The lady working there begrudgingly showed me the bus timetable.

I wandered onto the sandy beach very ready to tuck into my packed lunch. I found the perfect rock to sit on.

Then I took the first bite of my jam sandwich. Perfection. The sweet sugary jam was just what I needed.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a swarm of seagulls started diving at me. I stood up in a hurry. Stuffed my sandwich in my pocket and walked away. They were squawking above my head. More and more surrounded me. I thought they were going to attack. They were frightfully close to my head. As I walked / ran towards the sea they eventually dispersed – thank goodness.

Plan B – I still needed to eat. My sandwich would have to wait. Instead I went into a delightful cafe overlooking the sea. This was a much better option. The Beachcomber cafe had a wonderful view and was sheltered from the wind and scavenger seagulls.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the cafe had a brilliant vegan menu. I enjoyed a delicious, avocado, mushroom, spinach and tomato breakfast.

I roamed back to the town, mooched around and waited for a bus back to Ilfracombe. Unfortunately, being a Sunday, the service was somewhat limited. I ended up waiting an hour for a delayed bus. I didn’t mind as there was a bench to sit on. Plus it was beginning to rain, so I was happy to be dry under the bus stop.

Back at the hostel I appreciated a warm shower. I really enjoyed my adventure hike along the South West Coast Path. I would definitely recommend it. One day I may return and do the entire trek like me friends I made today.

Anyone else walked the South West Coastal path in Devon?

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