What a day, what a day. In the middle of the night I woke and thought no way can I walk again tomorrow. Every part of my legs hurt. In the morning though, we decide to go for it even though it's raining and promising to continue all day. After a huge breakfast, we take an early bus to Lynton thinking we can pick up sandwiches for lunch somewhere but nothing is open except a tiny grocery store. We buy bread and peanut butter. Nothing fancy today!
Our goal is to hitch a ride to the Blue Ball Inn, which is where we finished walking in 2019 (the only trip we've ever described as Holy Mother of God.) We’ve already done the walk to the inn and it was wretched. We are not walking wretched sections more than once. After picking up lunch, we stop to say hello to a man we met in 2019. He runs a tiny printing shop as well as the tiny local theatre and is full of fascinating local stories. As we leave we explain that we’re hitching a ride to the Blue Ball Inn and Bill suggests going down to Lynmouth to hitchhike so off we set down the hill to the lower town.
The hill is so steep (25% grade) it has cutoffs for runaway cars. It's wretched, it’s pouring, there are no sidewalks, and no one picks us up. At the bottom we decide to call Andy the private taxi guy to take us up the grueling hill we now need to go up. But then Bill appears and says his appointment canceled and he’ll run us up up to the inn. Nice!
It’s pouring and misty which is exactly what the weather was three years ago in this very spot. There’s no sign of the path but we head in the direction of the cliffs assuming we’ll have to hit it at some point. Except we don’t. Finally we decide we’re a bit lost. I assume we’re heading toward the sea and should keep going but Bob says the sea is now behind us. Just as we’re ready to acknowledge that we messed up, we meet a worker who knows the trail well. It turns out that last February a cliff fell off into the sea and the path has been diverted, exactly to where we are. Bob was right about where the sea is; I would have gone on walking forever and never found it until hitting the English channel.
Culbone church is the smallest complete parish in England. The internal length is 35 feet. The walls are two feet thick. A burial chamber of someone important from around 1800 B.C. was found on Culbone hill. That's B.C. not A.D. There's also a stone from the Bronze Age which they believes dates from when Celtic missionaries came from Wales and Ireland to spread Christianity.
We've been walking for about seven hours now and are BEAT by the time we finish. In Porlock Weir we stop for a cider while waiting for the bus up to Porlock. It's only a 20-minute walk but I am finished!
Porlock is a cute little village but we're too tired to explore even though we have an hour until the next bus. It doesn't help that the restaurants don't open until 5. So all we eat are chips, a tiny pork pie, and ice cream. Sadly, this bus is the second of three we need to take back to our B&B. The bus is an open top scenic one and we go through spectacular countryside.
While on the second bus we realize that we will have to walk back up that dang 25% grade hill again. Luckly, we only have to go halfway and someone picks us up and takes us to the next bus stop. We eat bread and peanut butter for dinner. Thank goodness there's a gigundo breakfast in the morning. What a day, what a day, what a day.