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  • Writer's picturePenny

And so it begins!

Having traveled down to Minehead the night before we were raring to get on the trail early in the morning. We left our Inn accommodation and headed West to catch the trail and start our adventure!

We were met immediately by a climb- Welcome to the South West Coast Path! Once we had gained some elevation we were treated to clear views of the coast and the sea.

Managing Penny's walking time is our main concern for this trek, so we are using the first week or so to take things slowly and learn to read when she is tired, hot, or still excited for the trail! One of the sweetest things we have seen so far is just how excited she is to put on her harness or to continue after a rest even though she must be exhausted. Our current strategy is to get onto the trail early and walk until about 1 or 2pm, then rest until just after 5pm before finishing off the leg but we will continue to monitor and adjust depending on her reaction. We visited a lovely tea garden in Bossington Hill during our rest time and had our first cream tea of the trek. As you can was exactly what we needed to ail our tired legs.

After lunch we continued on and eventually made it into Porlock Weir around 5pm before relaxing in a pub to wait for sunset. We plan to wild camp most evenings and all of the advice is to arrive late and leave early. We eyed a spot next to a carpark behind some vans only to realize after pitching the tent that we were downwind from a dog poo bin...specifically Vladimir Poo Tin.

The next morning we awoke to a fantastic sunrise and some sore calves and feet.

Penny appeared to be bursting with energy and when we grabbed her harness she nearly broke in half from excitement. We packed up and headed out to pickup the path toward Lynmouth. This day was mostly spent going up and down through a forest. Once we started to notice the ferns and bracken along the route we realized that we were in tick country and immediately checked Penny out. She had at least 10 crawling on her! Every time we rested we would spend a few minutes thoroughly de-ticking her. Towards the end of the walk she was starting to complain about her backside and we quickly found out that there was an area that we had failed to check (we now have designated "Penny" tweezers)! This day's walk seemed to drag on and on and we finally made it into Lynmouth around 530pm. Having missed an opportunity to resupply Penny's food at a local pet store we caught a bus to Lynton and visited some grocery stores. While we were sprawled out outside a church a lovely lady gave us some sandwiches...a much needed pick me up! We finally decided that we would continue along the path to look for our next campsite. With the sun slowly dipping we worked our way past the Valley of Rocks and a possibly feral tribe of goats toward an outcrop that we had our eye on. Having climbed to the top we were so grateful to have found this fantastic site and just as the sun was setting too! The sky was full of lovely pinks and blues as we settled in to the tent.

We awoke to fantastic weather and took our time packing away, leaving for the trail at 8am. We walked for about 90 minutes before stopping for a tea and nap (Penny) break.

We set back off and met some locals that recommended we visit Heddon's Mouth Beach. We added it to our journey and Hannah went for a swim while Jess was on de-ticking duty. We later went for lunch at a pub and took our rest period there before continuing on with multiple steep climbs in our future. After slogging through the ups and downs we finally reached the foot of the last climb of our day. The Great Hangman sits at 318m a.s.l. and is the highest point on the whole of the SWCP. With our heads down for about 15min we made it to the summit. Penny took a much needed rest while us super fit mummies waited around for her to be ready to go again...

Downhill from there we trekked into Combe Martin absolutely shattered from the day. We had organized to stay in a campsite that night and were so much looking forward to an actual shower!! We arrived at camp, had dinner, showered and then passed out, excited for our rest day tomorrow in Ilfracombe. Penny's first three days on the trail went perfectly. She told us when she was tired or when she was ready to go, she learned to rest when we rested, drink from streams and look like we never feed her to strangers bearing treats. From our perspective it looks like she has had a blast and is looking forward to her next leg of the adventure!

Thanks for tuning in everybody. We are adding up to date shenanigans on Penny's instagram account if you want to give us a follow! And check out our donation page here if you can spare a few pence.

Lots of love,

The three best friends that anybody ever had (Hannah, Jess, and Penny).


Leg Summary:

Minehead to Porlock Weir: 16km, 620m elevation gained.

Porlock Weir to Lynmouth: 18km, 1200m elevation gained.

Lynmouth to Combe Martin: 21.5km, 1330 elevation gained.

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