Sunday, 3 December 2017

Bus to Bude.... a Pool... and the SWCP

A few weeks ago just before the weather started to turn more wintry Anne and I took a bus to Bude on the North Devon Coast.....
I hadn't been to Bude for a number of years...the last time was when I was backpacking along the South West Coast Path (SWCP) and that must be more than ten years ago....

Luckily Anne and I had some nice weather for our little day trip which meant that I was seeing it again in similar weather to my last visit.....

I like Bude.... 
It has some nice little independent shops and the town and the approach roads all seem to be kept neat and tidy as do the little parks and gardens and open areas.....
It doesn't have the tired and worn out look of so many of our small seaside towns and it seems a nice place to base yourself if you are keen on watersports or walking along the coast line and cliffs......

Talking about walking along the coast path.... I remember that when I completed the SWCP I always felt that most people missed the best and most dramatic scenery of the North Devon coast..... 
As I would approach a town like Bude I would meet day walkers about a mile or two from the town and again when I left the town day walkers would be around for a mile or two but then as the coastline became more dramatic and scenic I would find that I was in the most part walking on my own with just the occasional multi day walker or backpacker coming the other way.....

This always struck me as a great pity as I felt that the majority of people seemed to miss the best scenery that the coast had to offer......

Anyway...back to our little day trip to Bude....

We had decided to take the bus because it enables us both to enjoy the views as we travel through the countryside especially from the top deck.... It also makes life easier due to not having to find a parking space although I must say that would not be a problem in Bude as there appears to be lots of parking available....
Beach Huts at Bude..

Bude Coast and Beach...
 One of the things that has always attracted my interest at Bude is the Sea Pool.... 
This is a partially man-made tidal swimming pool or lido in the rocks at Summerleaze Beach....
It provides a haven for free and safe bathing and other water based activities and was built in 1930...
Although it costs over £40,000 every year to keep it open it remains free of any admission charge...... Over the course of a year over 60,000 people visit the pool and it seems to be a major visitor attraction for the town....

It is open every day, 24hrs a day although it is best to swim at low tide....
The pool is about 91m long and 45m wide and was created under the curve of the cliffs in a conservation area...
It provides the experience of being in or on the sea, close to the full force and ferocity of the Atlantic Ocean, but sheltered from it's extreme effects.....

There are a number of similar pools around the UK coast and I just love them...
On the left side of the image of the pool below you can just see a lone swimmer enjoying the experience.....
The Bude Sea Poole

A view along the coast path at Bude..
If you have never been to Bude it is certainly a nice little place to visit, but if you can, do it the proper way and make it one of the small towns that you drop into whilst walking the entire SWCP....

The full walk is 630 miles in total length and runs from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset which is the direction that I walked it as I was living near Poole at the time so it was 'just' walking back home for me...
It took me five weeks to complete it (avg 18 miles per day) so you will need to take a big chunk of your annual holiday allowance or be retired to have the time to give it a go in it's entirety......

It is not to be underestimated though....some of that glorious scenery along the north coast can be incredibly tough to walk with a backpack containing all your kit so ultralight is the way to travel...

The path keeps dropping from the top of the cliffs down to sea level and back up to the top of the cliffs continuously.....

Apparently the total elevation you will climb is 114,031ft (35,031m) and I know from first hand experience that your leg muscles will be reminding you of that fact  along every single mile....

6 comments:

Dave said...

Coastal walking and cycling is the hardest, there's so many up and downs. I rode from Plymouth back to Cardiff last year and the route from Ilfracombe to Minehead is a killer. Having done LE JOG the hardest part as you know is the West Country.
When we're away in the van we often use the bus...its just a shame that Welsh bus passes and vice virca dont work.

Trevor Woodford said...

@Dave
When I walked SWCP I thought at the time what a tough start to a walk that Minehead to Ilfracombe section was.... Mind you it never got any easier getting even tougher in places.... I've driven that road a number of times (never ridden it) but I can imagine what a killer it would be on a bike...I must give it a go.lol
I'm with you ref the bus pass point......

Gideon Howe said...

Walked a lot of the swcp in small sections must have seen quite a bit but have always wanted to do the lot on one go as you have. Remember the Dorset coast part. Scratchy bottom and the naturalist beach which we crossed on the only day it rained- typical!

Trevor Woodford said...

That was a good weeks walk we had along the Dorset Coast Path... I remember that Scratchy Bottom appealed to our sense of humour and I also remember trying to dry ourselves out in the public toilets at Sandbanks with the use of their hand blower....Good times matey...

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