Day 6 - A much needed rest day in Barnstaple ahead of 10 straight days of walking. 

Day 7 - Barnsatple to Wetward Ho! Full English breakfasts are already beginning to lose their appeal but I polished off another one before heading off just before 9am. It was another long stretch of surfaced tarmac leading out of Barnstaple. Very flat and so unlike most of the rest of the path. The route went several miles down one side of the river Torridge to Bideford, acrosss the ancient bridge there and back up the other side to Appledore. Ideal walking for listening to music, not the miserable stuff I often listen to but Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison playlists today. Unfortunately I didn't hear a group of cyclists passing me so they were treated to me belting out Bruce's 'Thunder Road'. After day 5's feeble pace I cruised past an elderely couple out for a stroll and then 3 mothers with their push chairs, my first overtaking manouvres of the walk. The tarmac eventually gave way to a poorly marked sandy track across the incredibly windswept Northam Burrows nature reserve. As I approaced Wetward Ho! beach it was like being sandblasted, there wasn't a crevice in my rucksack or me that did not end up with sand inside it. There was nowhere to rest and certainly no cafes so I pushed on to the lovely Waterfront Inn at Westward Ho! Almost 20 miles today and so much tarmac but I only realised how much my feet were aching when I took my shoes off. Good job I was the only one in the room !

Day 8 - Westward Ho! to Clovelly. For the first time since I have been walking it was overcast but still warm. Still no mud anywhere to be seen either and even some cracks appearing in the baked earth in places. It was a gentle climb out of Westward Ho! initially along the cliffs with views of the fairly dull looking grey beaches of North Devon. Give me Cornwall any day ! Then into the woods with plenty of ups, downs and obstacles like fallen trees to contend with. I tend to get fat fingers on some days because the blood drains down into them while they are by my side so I have taken to occasionally holding my arms up from the elbow. Unfortunately more than once I forgot to lower them so approaching walkers seemed to think I was prematurely greeting them ! As ever the path is quiet away from the car parks and I went about 3 hours at one point without seeing anyone else, perhaps not surprising as the hills were very challenging. I arrived at my BnB at about 4.30 after what felt like a slow day, even by my standards, nearly 8 hours to cover only 13 miles !

Day 9 - Clovelly to Hartland Quay.    The warm sunshine was back and I seemed to have more energy again. Initially the path went through thick woods but during the course of the day the woods gradually gave way to open fields and by the time I got to Hartland Point it was open cliff top walking which is so much more enjoyable. First blister of the trip developed today on my left heel so I’ll need to sort that out. About 11 miles today, got to my accommodation by mid-afternoon, plenty of time to shower, eat and prepare for the mighty Seagulls v Manchester City. Sadly Jack Grealish didn't play, I had been hoping to compare calf muscles ! Still, what a season its been for Brighton, the best ever !

Day 10 - Hartland Quay to Morwenstow. Last time I did this walk the stretch from Hartland to Bude nearly killed me, it was the toughest of all becaue of the continuous steep drops into deep valleys followed by the climb back up on the other side. Being older and wiser, this time I broke it into two shorter sections meaning today was only about 9 miles to Morewnstow. Having said that, after 3 or 4 miles on the level, the rest of the day consisted solely of those ups and downs ! Most of my accommodation is very close to the path but the pub I was heading for today was about a mile inland but I received a lovely warm welcome when I arrived and met another couple walking the whole path. 

Day 11 - Morwenstow to Widemouth Bay. I couldn't face another cooked breakfast and decided to push off early so I was walking by 7.30am and going up the first hill by 8am !  It was another morning of ups and downs but the ground gradually flattened out towards Bude. The grey stony beaches also slowly gave way to golden sand and I spent a lovely hour sitting in the warm sunshine on Summerleaze beach at Bude. Because of the early start I arrived at my accommodation at Widemouth Bay by 3.30pm but my shoulders were really aching. I've got to lose something from my rucksack, tearing the pages out of my guidebook each day just isn't enough !

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