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Dreaming Of: Walking England’s South West Coast Path

I like to call this trip My English Walk or ….. “Is That a Pasty in Your Pocket?”

Sometimes I find travel inspiration in the most unlikely places. This trip is a case in point. During Covid, when I couldn’t travel, I joined a Facebook hiking group and “friended” an Englishman. He too wasn’t able to leave his country, but boy oh boy did he make the best out of being “stuck in England.” His posts and photos of his “local” hikes really inspired me to explore an area of England long overlooked by me.

So with great admiration and thanks to David – I will be following in his footsteps – with a twist.

I’ve booked a month-long walking tour along England’s famed, South West Coast Path for August/September 2022.

I’ll be walking in Devon and Cornwall chasing the sun, surf, and scones. I was supposed to do this trip in 2021, but COVID. Now that the Brits have opened up – I’m going to boot up!

I’m excited to see some of the most stunning landscapes in the country but this won’t be a walk in the park.

Here’s a map of the entire SWCP trail – 630 of brilliant coastal views

Clinging close to England’s southwest coastline the SWCP takes a rollercoaster route, rearing up and over imposing peaks and then plunging right down to sea level. Those who tackle it entirely schlep some 115,000ft of ascent and descent between the two trailheads —- that’s the equivalent of walking up and down Mount Everest four times!!!!!

Not the England you normally think of, huh?


I won’t be doing the entire 630 miles – I’ll only tackle about 350 …. So let’s say I’m doing Everest twice.

But it’s not just the scenery and the physical challenge I’m thrilled about – I’m so excited to be walking a route that is known for its gourmet offerings. (Again, not the England you normally think of?!) I hope to visit at least three Michelin star restaurants during my jaunt. I’m a huge fan of British star chef Rick Stein and plan to eat at least two of his restaurants.

My research for this trip consists of bingeing on Rick Stein’s TV shows, “Poldark,” and “Doc Martin.”

Question: Can I wear my Doc Martens to visit the land that made Doc Martin famous?

Bookings:

I’ve booked my walking holiday through Absolute Escapes out of Edinburgh. They’ve taken care of all the inns (mostly B&Bs) and will provide logistic back-up, and a sherpa service.

Budget

I’m hoping to bring this in between $10-$12,000 – including air from Denver to London. That’s about $285/day – I think that’s a fair budget considering I’m doing all the legwork.

Big Splurges:

The trip itself is the “splurge.” All the lodging and breakfasts along the walk are paid for. I’ll only have to pay for lunch and dinners, and, ummm wine.

I’ve tagged on some sightseeing in London, and I got tickets to see one of my favorite groups, “Simply Red,” who are performing in concert two days before my walk begins … Hey, no judgment, I’ll be “Holding Back the Years.”

I guess the three dinner reservations I’ve made at famed restaurants also count as “splurges” – but I consider them quality calories!

Packing:

Luckily, I still have a lot of my hiking gear from when I walked 500 miles doing the Camino de Santiago (2017). I did recently buy a new backpack (Osprey TEMPEST PRO 28) and new boots (La Sportiva) for my trip to Iceland (2021). So I’m pretty much set on gear. Plus, who am I kidding, I’m hiking inn to inn and there’s a sherpa service that will be taking care of my luggage.

Despite the luxury of having someone handle my luggage between inns, I won’t be packing a heavy load, but I will have a load of stuff.

Here’s My Packing List:

Essentials:

Clothing:

Toiletries:

Extras:

On the Trail and in my Day Pack

INSIDE FANNY PACK

Pre-Trip Bookings:

I’m flying in a couple of days before my walk and will be seeing some sights in London. I’ve booked a tour of Buckingham Palace and the National Gallery. I’ve also booked a ticket to see “Simply Red” who are performing in Taunton.

I’ll be using England’s fantastic and super-efficient train service to get to and from London.

My tour operator has taken care of all my lodgings.

Here’s my walking itinerary

For my post-walk, I want to spend more time in Cornwall exploring sites like St. Michael’s Mount and I hope to be able to spend some time with my English relatives.

So this trip, delayed by Covid is, pending any global crisis, ON!

Have you walked or visited the South West Coast Path? If so, please share your comments and advice.

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