• Abbi

Walking the SW Coast Path - Holywell Bay to Crantock - 4 miles

This was one of the walks as part of my coast path challenge that I was most excited about doing. Holywell Bay is a place that I spent many happy times with family and friends as a child. I have such clear memories of playing in the stream, building sandcastles and making roads in the sand to play with my toy cars in. One of my most vivid memories was on one sunny august day, when I was in the sea, and a freak wave came over me and swept me out to sea. That day, my dad was my hero and he swam out and rescued me. It was a terrifying experience as I was only 5 at the time. Fortunately, the experience didn't put me off the sea, however it has helped me to respect the ocean and made me realise its power and the dangers of what can happen.

For this walk, I parked in Crantock at the National Trust car park. I then walked up from here into the village centre to catch the bus to Holywell Bay. It was a short 15 minute journey.

After getting off the bus, I followed the coast path signs which cut through to the beach at the back of the dunes.

I love the wild expanse of dunes here at Holywell, even if they are a killer to climb! I did get a bit lost in them trying to find the yellow arrows for the coast path but I was soon back on track once I could see the kissing gate at the top of the dunes where they meet the cliff tops.

Once I was through the gate, the coast path opens out to a beautiful green open space, which was lovely to walk on after struggling up the dunes. One of the main problems I have because of my fibromyalgia, is how tired, tense and tight my muscles get, which can mean needing to pause frequently for them to relax a bit before continuing.

The other challenge on this walk for me was the wind! It was so stormy and windy on this day but it created the most incredible exhilarating atmosphere. The only thing was that I was walking into the wind for the most part.

One thing I love about the coast path is how there is always a surprise around the corner. Tucked between Holywell Bay and Crantock is another cove called Porth Joke (or otherwise known as Polly Joke.) I reached here and had a rest eating my pasty enjoying the sound of the sea and sheltering from the wind.

We then continued after our refreshments climbing gently out of the cove back onto the cliff path following it towards Crantock. Again the path was easy underfoot and wide and spacious. After passing C-Bay Cafe, there were some steps going down and a little up and down in places before joining back up with the dunes above Crantock.

I was so happy when I got back to Crantock. This walk may be a short daily walk to some people, but to me, I felt such a sense of achievement when I completed it. I hadn't done any coast path walking since before I became ill. I couldn't quite believe that I had done it. When I got back I felt overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions but the one that was over riding the others was about my Dad.

He loved the outdoors and I have him to thank for my love and appreciation for the outdoors. All our holidays were spent camping and walking in our beautiful country. We used to spend a lot of time walking the coast path in North Devon and I couldn't help but feel that he would've been so proud of me for doing this. My dad passed away very suddenly from a pulmonary embolism 10 years ago at the age of 64. Since he's been gone I have felt a sadness that he can't see his favourite places anymore. When I visit those places, I feel I do it for him.

Finishing this walk meant that the only way was up and I couldn't wait to start my next walk!