The last few days have been a combination of trying not to fall in the mud whilst picking wild camping spots with enough cover to keep the Vango out of the worst of the wind. Getting in 3 wild camps with the weather as it is has left me very dirty and I’ve broke off the path today for a clean up at an all year round campsite in Hartland.
The last 3 Days
The route from Appledore to Westwood Ho! would have been easy if I wasn’t forced to walk directly into the wind the whole way. This took up way too much of my time although had a good laugh along the way, especially at the golfers using the course on the Northam Burrows where even though it was a virtual white out from the rain they were still out there in force attempting to get those golf balls flying in a straight line 🙂
Wild Camp Westwood Ho! (Almost RIP Tent)
My initial thoughts of camping on Northam Burrows was short lived after walking across it and realizing it was just way too exposed for any winter camping attempt (don’t really want to be buying Vango Tent this early into the trip).
After a quick pit stop in Westwood Ho!, I quickly got back on the coast path in search of somewhere to lay my bones for the night. The forecast was set for heavy winds and with the few places available I choose what seemed like the best chance of having a least a couple of hours sleep (oh yeah!).
Being not far off the coast path itself was always going to be a problem without the fact that wind direction randomly changed throughout the night along with rising to speeds of over 40Mph.
Having a tent rocking about like crazy is never fun and the only other time I can remember that was worst is a trip out to Risca in Wales where the tent I was using collapsed after the main pole broke and I was sandwiched till the morning.
I know double pegging the tents main points this time round was the only thing that kept it upright along with adding my weight to the big pole. Got to admit it was one of the few terrifying experiences I’ve had wild camping made even worst be the knowledge that I couldn’t get out to check pegs because without my weight the tent was probably going to fly away and I just had to hold on tight 🙂
Wild Camp Peppercombe
Its always nice how helpful other walkers can be and after a lengthy talk with 2 women I met just outside Westwood Ho! headed for a woodland spot in Peppercombe that was OK(ish) for wild camping.
Pretty sure I sailed right past the exact spot they were talking about but just finding a site out of the way (and wind) was enough to keep me happy. The sign of a comfortable camp spot for me is when I feel able to chill out and my take boots off before going to sleep.
The tent ended up on a slight downward slant but happily took that just for the secluded location and the relaxing nights sleep that gave.
Wild Camp Brownsham
There were a number of great deserted buildings on the route out of Peppercombe (around Buck Mills) and I’d have giving them a blast in the summer, but to be honest the Vango was probably going to be warmer.
Just in time before the foretasted rain started I found an almost flat spot in the woods amongst trees that had a touch of shelter from the wind. It pissed it down during the night and I delayed getting out of a warm sleeping bag until the wind picked up and the tent started doing the crazy wind dance that said it was time to take the thing down before the wind made a quicker job of it than I ever could.
Today has been a blissful rest day where I wiped the wild camping muck off myself (plus laundry) meaning that I’m now clean, well fed and can tab it for the next few days. Did pick up a problem with my right foot (face sized blister) after trashing a pair of boots on the Tarka Trail but thankfully that’s almost gone now.
There’s still some rain forecast over the next few days but is going to be nothing like the last 3 and I’ll be happily moving into Cornwall be this time tomorrow (I imagine Newquay is going to warrant a few ‘rest’ days!).
Things I’ve Learned So Far
Mud comes in hundreds of different flavors (all bad)
People on the coast path are mostly helpful
Talking to yourself is actually OK 🙂
Clean socks are everything!