Thursday, 28 February 2013

#17 Minehead to Porlock

#17 Minehead to Porlock

Distance - 8.86 Miles
Ascent - 582 Metres

Well it had been a while since my last walk, I blamed the weather, everyone else blamed my laziness.  So what better than a stroll on the coast, something to ease back into it, fresh air, the sea, and a section of the coast path rated Challenging, say what?  Challenging?  Well that's a bit harsh!  So of I went to the coast to meet up with Nick, now a local to Exmoor.

The start of the SWCP
The first 3/4 mile is flat and mostly tarmac, this is to lull you into a false sense of security and is only just long enough to get the legs going.  The path soon starts climbing, with a short sharp section in the woods.  Despite the recent bad weather, the path is in pretty good nick, with only a few trees still blocking the path or muddy underfoot.
The path again flattens out allowing the less climb inclined to recover their breath.  The views are great I am sure but it was a bit of a grey day, so the Bristol channel blended into Wales quite easily, then into sky, with little in the way of contrast.
Up up and away!
The path climbs again through nice woods before breaking out onto moorland around North Hill.  The path is good and navigation is very easy, as the path is obvious and well marked.  We met some nice ponies on North Hill, wild Exmoor ponies happily munching away, they look slightly warmer than us!  The wind was a tad chilly.
Lasagne filling getting fattened up... 
At this point we had a choice, the 'normal' SWCP or a the 'rugged' alternative.  As hardcore hikers who live on the edge, we obviously took the rugged option, it is the coast path after all and this alternative kept closer to the sea.   It was along this section that we hid behind a wall and consumed our pre-warmed soup, perfect on a day like this. 
Lovely weather for the beach
The path has a bit of up and down as it follows the land round and along the coastal valleys.  Whilst it's only about 200m up, you do get a great view across to Wales (despite the greyness) and a feeling of height.  It is a good walk and worth the effort of a few hills. 
Porlock Weir in the distance
The path rejoins the 'normal' SWCP just after a section that had been newly repaired.  This path had been widened and I'm sure will be fine after a bit of rain and a few pairs of boots.  As it was, it was a bit soft and ankle turning.  The drop from Bossington Hill is steep and could be fun on a wet day.  It drops about 200m in half a mile, so is steep and pretty much straight down, no girly switchbacks here!

After a quick break at the picturesque Bossington (Cadburys Caramel egg hit the spot with a good sugar rush!) we quickly finished the last mile or so into Porlock.  The finish line was the Ship Inn (Upper Ship) where a much needed drink was consumed next to the strangest pub 'exhibit' I have seen.


  1. Hi Andy
    So sorry for contacting you on this post but I couldn't think of any other way of letting you know about our new forum, so I understand you deleting it. We set walkers forum up last July and many from WF have joined us. Feel free to bob in and say hello, be great to see your adventures on there, especially the SWCP :)

  2. Hi Rich, no worries. I'll pop in and check it out. Thanks.