Gary’s South West Coast Path Adventure
The South West Coast Path has some of the most dramatic and stunning coastline in the country. Spanning 4 counties and 630 miles it is the longest waymarked long distance footpath in England. Starting in Minehead, Somerset and along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall the path finishes in Poole, Dorset. It is one of the most challenging walks due to the rise and fall around river mouths and the total height climbed has been calculated at 114, 931ft, almost 4 times the height of mount Everest. Gary has walked the entire 630 miles over 2 years. Here we have a question and answer with Gary to find out more about his South West Coast Path adventure.
What made you decide to walk the entire South West Coast Path?
Moving from London to Cornwall in 1980, 3 years before buying Treverbyn House I found the coast path on my doorstep. It soon became a thing to do which I really enjoyed. After doing my first main walk, Padstow to Newquay in 2015 I had the bug for it!
How did you manage it whilst running a busy B&B?
My wonderful staff gave me the opportunity to tackle 3 sections in a week whenever we had good weather forecasts. I would always plan ahead and research places to stay and bus routes back.
What was your favourite section of the Coast Path?
My favourite walk is on the north coast, Tintagel to Port Isaac. Tintagel now has a glass bottomed bridge that I will visit next season! This section is extremely challenging with amazing views with a dramatic coastline, rated as severe but can be walked in 5 hours.
What was the hardest section of the walk?
The hardest section has to be also on our north coast, St.Ives to Pendeen watch. Although the walk can be remote with stark cliffs & is graded severe the scenic views are breath-taking. This walk can take up to 7 hours.
What advice would you give to anyone planning to complete the South West Coast Path?
You need good weather to enjoy the views & avoid muddy conditions for safety, not too hot especially if you are walking into the sun. It’s better to change your direction if possible, starting from your destination. Make sure you have the right kit, comfortable walking boots are a must and waterproof trousers and always carry plenty of water especially on a hot day.
Do you have any future walking plans?
In January 2020 I walked the Norfolk coast path Hunstanton to Hopton in remarkably good weather. I’m planning to walk the Suffolk coast path next spring, Hopton to Felixstowe. It’s not as challenging as the South West but very beautiful & calming.
Thank you Gary for sharing your walking expertise with us! For those of you coming to stay at Treverbyn Gary is always happy to chat walking and recommend his favourite local walks! For more information about specific parts of the South West Coast Path Org is a great resource.