May 2014.

I've bought a campervan as a 60th birthday present to myself, made some curtains and a patchwork quilt, waved goodbye to my family, and set off. My aim is to explore the coastline of Britain, anti clockwise, starting in Kent. I have no idea what will happen.

Monday, 17 November 2014

South Devon

I have been off air because I have had a spell at home. The weather has turned and the clocks gone back and I have been moving along the south coast in fits and starts. I had great weather along the Devon coast: it was so beautiful, the sun shining and the horizon indiscernible between the blue of the sky and the sea. The village of Aveton Gifford, close to where I met the swan man, is charmingly Devonian – I half expected to see Miss Marple come strutting round the corner.
From there the road to Hope Cove leads down to a sweet narrow bay with two beaches protected by a headland called Bolt Tail. In the village shop I bumped into the people from Poole I'd had coffee with at Burgh Island who, like me, felt the urge for an icecream. (This is an urge I have had for too often as I have driven around Britain – it has become a problem!)
The Kingsbridge estuary, Salcombe
There is a carpark above Salcombe but I had been advised that I would probably be able to get into the small one in the centre of town and that it was opposite a pub with wifi. That was all true, it's right by the water, and I had to shoe-horn Baa into a tiny space next to another campervan. I walked around the town which is lovely and has a large water frontage up the west side of the large Kingsbridge estuary. I just caught the end of the holiday season – mainly 'seniors' and young couples with toddlers.
Salcombe is very middle class - women with loud voices talking to men in shorts the colour of bricks - and shops like the Salcombe Coffee Co, White Stuff, Fat Face, Jack Wills - they're all there!
When I came back to collect my laptop from Baa I was alarmed to see that the camper I had hemmed in had a disabled badge in the windscreen, but by then Baa was hemmed in on the other side. I went to have tea in the pub and use the wifi... and when I came back an hour later, the camper next to Baa had gone. I did some nifty reversing in order to extricate myself and a woman waiting for the space (at a safe distance) congratulated me on my efforts!
Blackpool Sands, South Devon
I was heading for Dartmouth and had a wonderful drive alongside Slapton Sands. It's a stunning stretch of coast – apricot sand with clefts in the cliffside dropping down to sandy coves - a lovely beach called Blackpool and the prettiest Devon village called Stoke Fleming.

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