Friday, 21 June 2013

Week 7: Plymouth to Brixham - Day 47

Dartmouth to Brixham
11 miles (walked 5)
Word of the day: Sea-mist

An early morning ferry crossing of the River Dart on the lower ferry and we were disappointed to find the cafe did not open until 10am. So we walked out to the old gun emplacement at Froward Point for home made mint tea.

We met Arthur Metcalfe from Yorkshire who was walking the path for the sixteenth time, just for a change he started this time at John O'Groats in mid March!

Sea-mist got even thicker this afternoon, but at least the rain stopped. Called it a day at Ivy Cove and walked up to Coleton Camp so that my Dad could pick us up and take us home. I will return in a few days time when the visibility improves. 

I have had a really good week. It has made me look at and appreciate my local beaches and cliff-walks in the context of the whole coastline. I will never look at them in the same way again. 

Week 7: Plymouth to Brixham - Day 46

Start Point to Dartmouth
13 miles
Word of the day: Clammy
Walked down to the beautiful Start Point lighthouse and sat on top of the ridge, enjoying the sun and sketching. The sea was calm and flat, beautiful sunshine - diamonds on the water. No other people around except for a couple of fishermen checking their pots. I could hear seals calling, birds flying close to the water, fishing made easier with the sea clear and still. A totally perfect day!

Stopped on Hallsands Beach for a paddle before walking on to Beesands for a cup of tea at the Britannia Shellfish cafe. Very hot today and initially windless, but the sea breeze came in at lunchtime for a while and helped to keep us cool. 

Had fish and chips at the Start Bay Inn at Torcross. Then called in on another artist friend Alan Jones in Stoke Fleming as the coast path runs just near his house. Rejoined the coast at Little Dartmouth and stopped on the ledges below Blackstone Point to sketch the offshore Blackstone Rocks covered in Shags. Finally made it to Dartmouth for a night with friend Vicky Maxwell in whose garret I used to paint!

Today was an odd day - the first on which we knew every part of the path well, very difficult to concentrate (not helped by the heat). 

Week 7: Plymouth to Brixham - Day 45

Salcombe to Start Point
12 Miles
Word of the day: Friends

We walked, accompanied by Doug, to Gara Rock in very poor visibility but stopped to sketch anyway just east of the beach. Moved on via Gammon Head and Elender Cove to a point just short of Prawle Point - the most southerly point in Devon. 

Stopped to sketch the ancient field boundary stones known as Dragons Teeth - and Maggie Smith (printmaker) joined us for lunch.

As the day got warmer we headed along the raised beach below the old cliffs at East Prawle to within a few hundred metres of Lannacombe. We were then diverted 2 miles inland to avoid a major land slip.

Met up with poet Jenny Osborne and her partner Kevin and went for a paddle to cool our feet after the steep hills on the diversion. Walked with them to Mattiscombe and then headed inland for a night with artists Ysabel Winzar and Tony Watson.

Week 7: Plymouth to Brixham - Day 44

Hope Cove to Salcombe
8 miles
Word of the day: Loss

Another dodgy forecast but no rain this morning. We were joined by fellow artist and walker Amanda Pellatt for the first section to Soar Mill Cove. 

Stopped for a breezy sketching session on Bolberry Down above Fernyhole Point. Then escaped the wind for a while on the beach before heading up to sketch the rocky coastline to the west of Soar Mill Cove (in the sunshine). 

As we were about to leave Tim stood up and his insulated seat (a swimming float) blew away down the cliff. After 7 weeks and nearly 500 miles it will be sadly missed.

More windy cliff-top walking and some very jagged rock formations brought us to Bolt Head and the final sketching stop of the day. Strolled into Salcombe along the spectacularly rocky path below Sharpitor. Tim found 30 Namibian Dollars on the path - dreaming of great riches we discovered they were worth £1.89!

Just as we were leaving South Sands the weather changed very suddenly, a warm wind bearing a few heavy spots of rain brought high humidity and a very sticky walk up the hill to Martine & Doug O'Malleys house. 

Week 7: Plymouth to Brixham - Day 43

Wonwell Beach to Hope Cove
9 miles
Word of the day: Forecast

Despite a dire forecast we set out hopefully and, in the end, were amply rewarded. The dramatic cliffs and coves between Wonwell and Bigbury were even more atmospheric in the wet and misty conditions. We passed a rock stack that looked just like a seal pup!

Took some shots of multi-coloured slate cliffs at Hoist Point and had tea in Ayrmer Cove. Other hopeful people were preparing for a soapbox derby in Challaborough and by the time we reached Bigbury it was warm and almost dry. 

The Avon ferry doesn't run on a Sunday so we were very grateful when fellow printmaker Diana Miller drove us round to Bantham - saving us an 8 mile walk to Aveton Gifford and back. My boots leaked badly today! Stopped at Warren Point near Thurlestone to sketch the rocks and flowers but the unseasonably cold weather got the better of me and we had to repair to the Beachhouse at South Milton for more tea.

A 2 mile diversion brought us to Hope Cove and a comfy nights stay with our friend Mary Northcott.

Week 7: Plymouth to Brixham - Day 42

Noss Mayo to Wonwell Beach
10 miles
Word of the day: Foxgloves

Blustery walk from Cellars out to the Warren where I tried to sketch the foxgloves and burnt gorse but the wind and rain conspired against me, even using the camera was difficult. 

On to Stoke Point where we went down to sea level for some energetic sketching and photos. Then into Revelstoke and a quick visit to the atmospheric church of St Peter the Poor Fisherman - half the roof missing but retaining a great acoustic.
After Lunch in a ruined tea room on Beacon Hill we covered some rougher ground and had to air our feet at Butchers Cove. Eventually arrived at the river Erme and waded across to Wonwell Beach for a well-earned hot chocolate.

I was worried that walking the home stretch would feel odd and that I would not be able to concentrate.  In reality it has felt just like the rest of the path - in fact walking to places that we normally drive to has made me look at them in a new light and allowed me to relate them to other sections of the path.

Spent the night in Kingston with artist Anne Scarratt and her husband Bill - another lovely meal and relaxing bath!

Week 7: Plymouth to Brixham - Day 41

Plymouth to Noss Mayo
8 miles
Word of the day: Oysters

We started this week with a bus ride, just a 5 minute walk to Shinners Bridge and an hour later we were sipping mugs of tea and munching bacon butties at Cap'n Jaspers on the Barbican in Plymouth. After a short ferry ride we arrived at Mountbatten and donned full waterproofs and rucksack covers, only to remove it all again half an hour later when the sun came out. The grumpiness engendered by yesterday's frantic preparations, a late night and an early start were soon banished by the warming rays! First wet and warm, now dry and warm!

Stopped to sketch the greenfinches on Staddon Heights, just below the huge wall built to distract German bombers during the war. It didn't work - Plymouth city centre was flattened to such an extent that the whole lot was demolished and replaced in the 50's.

The quiet was broken by the disembodied pipes (tannoy announcements) drifting across the water from the type 23 frigate anchored nearby - a steely grey war canoe reminding us of Plymouth's primary role as the biggest Naval Base in Western Europe.
Stopped for a lovely cup of Owen's coffee at Wembury Beach, served by Steve. After a lunch of lentils and ham amongst the rockpools we stopped at Season Point to sketch the foxgloves with the Yealm Estuary and Mouthstone Point in the background.


We took the ferry from Warren Point to Noss Mayo and sat on the foreshore admiring the oysters that had taken up residence in every crevice, even amongst old lengths of chain piled on the beach. A short walk through lush woodland and up Revelstoke Drive brought us to Cellars, the home of Sue Spooner and her sister Penny. We spent a very comfy night in the garden room, admiring Sue's colourful textiles.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Week 6: Falmouth to Plymouth 'In the Studio'

It has been a busy time in the studio, with Totnes & Dartington Open Studios at the end of May and an exhibition starting in the National Trust Gallery at Cotehele in Cornwall (see below). 

I am still enjoying the process of plate making and editioning, even on such a large scale.  I am finding new ways of using carborundum and collagraph in conjunction with the drypoints. The materials chosen for each plate are determined by the subject and how it should be expressed, this leads to me finding new methods which in turn maintains my interest.

right - Day 31 "Hawthorn in Bloom at Nare Point"
below - Day 34 "Wild Garlic at Gerrans Bay"


The exhibition at Cotehele is on until late July - for further details click on this link

I am a member of Press Gang, a group of printmakers who work together in Salcombe. The Press Gang annual exhibition is at Harbour House in Kingsbridge from 2 - 14 July, more details here.

Finally, there is a printmaking exhibition called "The Working Landscape" at the Birdwood Gallery in Totnes from 17 - 22 June. More details here.

On the left are some of my plates under production.

Week 7 Itinerary
Fri 14th      Plymouth to Noss Mayo
Sat 15th     Noss Mayo to Wonwell
Sun 16th    Wonwell to Hope Cove
Mon 17th    Hope Cove to Salcombe
Tue 18th    Salcombe to Beesands
Wed 19th   Beesands to Dartmouth
Thu 20th   Dartmouth to Brixham

I must stress that the itinerary is only a plan, and is therefore subject to change - usually due to inclement weather.  

If you wish to join us for part of the walk, or just meet us at a particular place then e-mail me at: so that we can make arrangements.

We have a few tidal issues this week - fording the River Erme at Wonwell on Saturday afternoon should be OK, but there is no ferry across the Avon from Bigbury to Bantham on Sunday. If anyone happens to be on the Avon estuary with a boat around Sunday lunchtime please get in touch!

Thanks in advance to all the lovely people who are giving us places to stay this week - six nights without the tent will be bliss!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Week 6: Falmouth to Plymouth - Day 40

Tregonhawke to Plymouth
9 miles
Word of the day: Sails

After the heat of yesterday we started a bit earlier and had plenty of breaks to air my feet. Stopped to sketch Rame Head from Queener Point. I was hampered slightly by some very inquisitive, but friendly, ponies.

Then went up to St Michael's Chapel on top of Rame Head and spent an hour in the sunshine watching the ships and boats go by. 

Stopped for our last Cornish Pasty in Cawsand and then walked on into Mount Edgecombe Country Park - a place we last visited in the early eighties when we were both students in Plymouth. 

Said farewell to Cornwall - after four and a half very enjoyable weeks. Caught a very crowded Cremyll Ferry before walking through Plymouth City Centre feeling like aliens - two hot, sweaty and rather dishevelled rambling hikers amongst the Saturday shoppers. Back to reality!

Week 6: Falmouth to Plymouth - Day 39

Looe to Tregonhawke
11 miles
Word of the day: Diversions

Started the day with a lengthy stretch away from the sea -  initially around the private houses of Millendreath and then along the lanes to Seaton avoiding multiple land slips on Bodigga Cliff and above Keveral Beach. 
Hot again so we stopped in Seaton for a well deserved ice cream and a few quick sketches of characters on the beach. Walked along the sea wall and beach to Downderry before hiding from the sun for an hour under a palm tree in the memorial garden. 

After Portwrinkle the permissive path past Tregangtle Fort was closed due to firing so we had a dreary walk alongside a busy road for 2 miles. Many people enjoying the hottest day on the path so far. Got a bit overheated and ended up with prickly heat on the tops of my feet. Spent the night in a gun emplacement at Whitesand Bay Battery.

Week 6: Falmouth to Plymouth - Day 38

Lansallos to Looe
9 miles
Word of the day: Sunshine

Straight onto a strenuous section between Lansallos and Polperro - the hardest since we left the north coast. Stopped to sketch a natural rock arch at Colors Cove, just west of Polperro. 

Very hot today (not that we're complaining you understand!) so we had to stop for tea and a cool down at Talland Bay. Also, my knee has started to play up again - first time this year. 

Easier going after Talland brought us to a headland above the Hore Stone with a great view of St George's Island.

Stopped to sketch the multi-coloured rocks. It was at this point that I wished I had more colours in my kit. I had to record the colours by describing them in words in my sketch book - hopefully this will be enough to jog my memory.

Got to Looe and decided to call it a day (the choice was a 2 mile walk uphill to a remote campsite or staying here for cold beer and hot food - a no brainer really).

Week 6: Falmouth to Plymouth - Day 37

Par to Lansallos
11 miles
Word of the day: Buttercups

Back on the path and, on a promise of good weather, we are camping!

Walked from Par station towards Polkerris but were diverted inland by a large land slip - had to cross two barbed wire fences and negotiate a very slippery woodland slope to regain the path. Visited a lovely gallery in the old reading room and then walked up through woodland brimming with wild garlic before stopping to sketch buttercups near Little Gribbin Head. 

Having rounded Gribbin Head, with its enormous daymark, we stopped for a paddle at Polridmouth and then crossed the ferry at Fowey. We picked up supplies in Polruan and headed out onto the remote path towards Polperro, stopping to sketch near Lantic Bay. Spent the night at the NT campsite at Higher Town Farm in Lansallos, where we feasted on tinned mince and new potatoes washed down with a nice cup of tea supplied by a lovely family from Andover. 

Week 6: Falmouth to Plymouth - Day 36

Mevagissey to Par
10 miles (2 walked)
Word of the day: Caravans

Woke to a really bad forecast but no rain at 0700. Walked to Pentewan, which seems to be just a giant caravan park, in increasingly heavy rain and muddy conditions. Caught a very busy bus (there had been a fire at the bus depot the previous night) to St Austell. We decided to go home for a few days to wait for better weather.