Author Topic: SWCP for the over 60's  (Read 20845 times)

johhnyp

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SWCP for the over 60's
« on: 23:46:32, 24/02/16 »
So this years plan is set; or partly so. The mighty south west coast path; or partly so.
The plan is to do it all in 2016; in two bits. Whilst it means that this is just a section walk :-[; I have the comfort of knowing that each section is longer than the PW O0.
Just couldn't find a way of being away from home/business for the necessary 34 days or so to do the lot in one go.
So the train is booked for Minehead (well Taunton and then a bus) on 30th April. 15 days to do the job and the train back from Penzance on the 16th May.
Looks like a lot of ascent/descent so I am not sure exactly how each day will pan out. Have booked in at 5 Youth Hostels along the way, including Lands End and Penzance. As for the rest; I think I will take a chance of turning up at the end of each day, wherever I end up and seek a bed then.
The only issue is whether I carry a tent and a bag all the way to cover the event that I don't get a bed?
As always, now the travel is booked, the anticipation starts to mount.
If all goes well, back to Penzance in September to finish the job off

John


Cnicht

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #1 on: 07:33:11, 25/02/16 »
Hi John,


The longest part I have walked was St Ives to Penzance in 3 days, it was very hard in places you'll need lots of energy.  Lots of ups and downs and beautiful views to be had.  I carried my home on my back well most of it my friend had the other half of the camping equipment.  Your going to do a lot more than I did, take some compeed plasters with you just in case you get blisters.   


Hope you enjoy it I did :)

johhnyp

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #2 on: 10:01:56, 25/02/16 »
The guide books reckon 53,000 feet ascent which is a lot; but broken up into lots of smaller climbs ( or worse, drops) may make it a bit more manageable!
I have read various trip reports and views seem to vary as to how tough it is. Depends on what you are used to I guess. Some people on here would do it in 7/8 days and others 3 weeks plus. I have tried to work out a schedule that is fairly challenging but which I think I can do on my own without too much risk of mishap. Actually I found it quite hard to schedule especially in the middle section where I may have some shortish days with the longer stuff at each end ( thinking of St Ives to Penzance in 2 days stopping at Lands End YHA).
The compeed will definitely be there although I am lucky with blisters usually. My main concern is actually all the downslopes as one knee in particular is beginning to fail a bit and I do have to take it fairly carefully downhill with judicious use of poles.
Very different I imagine to last years PW

John

ps if anyone fancies the odd days walking in company, they are more than welcome

Slogger

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #3 on: 17:17:12, 25/02/16 »
I wish you all the best John, something to really look forward to.
Dave.

Stube

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #4 on: 17:44:25, 25/02/16 »
I camped the Exmouth to Poole section a few years ago when I was 62. The ups & downs are often vicious with footplus risers on the irregular staircases - no handrails. Sticks would be essential for safety in the wet. I've holidayed all round the Devon/Cornwall coast and day walked a lot of it. On the whole I think the south coast is harder than the North.

The SWCP is definitely harder than the PW (which I did in 2014), but there are lots of little villages with pubs and cafes!

One thing to bear in mind is the wind and rain - I've done a lot of coastal walking - and there is usually little shelter on the cilff tops.  Oh - and the wind changes direction by 180 deg most nights in the summer.

youradvocate

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #5 on: 18:04:55, 25/02/16 »
Hi Stube. I've never fancied a coastal walk, I hike to get away from it.. I see the sea almost everyday of my life so it has no appeal to me.

I like your description, very informative so even if I was ever tempted, I'm not now! ;D

johhnyp

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #6 on: 21:20:34, 25/02/16 »
Some interesting comments guys.
Firstly Dave; thanks for the good wishes. I did agonise a bit about doing this or a N-S PW this year in about 13 days. Having finally decided to do the SWCP and having got the transport and at least some of the accommodation at a good price, I am now really looking forward to getting started. The first two days are on the early May Bank Holiday so a bed at Minehead and Lynmouth could theoretically be awkward; hence the musings about the tent. Equally however having to lug it nearly 300 miles and not use it grates a bit.
Stube/Your advocate: This could be my first and last coastal walk by the sound of it! You are the first person to say the southern half is harder then the north coast Stube which is interesting. I had assumed it was the other way about from reports read etc. Hence my plan of getting the hard ( and slightly shorter bit out of the way first). However I had looked at the ascent figures which indicate the southern section has more ascent and that had got me thinking already. Those awkward big downhill steps are a killer and I seem to suffer more than most (so jealous of folk who still seem to have springs in their knees). I had a problem on last years PW and consequently two poles seems now to be the rule for me now.
Is the wind onshore or offshore on a night? Another camping consideration ( I am a hostel softy as a rule).
I saw a You Tube diary by a guy called Darrell Grundy which was a good watch but illustrated the coastal wind and rain issue quite well. Although it would have to go some to top my Cross Fell experience I have to say
What do you reckon about getting a bed on spec at the end of a walking day at that time of year?
John

Stube

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #7 on: 21:13:34, 26/02/16 »
Johnny The change in wind direction is due to the temperature difference between the land and the sea - hence it's landward during the day and towards the sea at night. (Obviously modified by the prevailing wind direction (usually from the SW)). This overnight wind change puzzled me until I remembered my O Level geography!

The PW tends towards a big gentle climb every other day, by comparison the SWCP often has several short sharp climbs (and descents) most days - when you're on your fourth or fifth such on a given day it gets wearisome! Starting at Minehead you're immediately faced with Porlock Hill just to "encourage" you - the SWCP's equivalent to the PW's Jacob's Ladder.  Like you I use twin poles and find them useful / reassuring on the descents and I'm fortunate in that my knees are in good nick.

If you're mainly hostelling, then you could post your tent up-trail between accommodation problem areas using the Post Office's Poste Restaunte service  - cheaper than using a baggage handler  I used it on the PW to send food and maps on ahead - very well it worked too.

Outside the BHs, I don't think you'll have too many accommodation problems in May - it all depends on how deep your pockets are. My fantasy SWCP would involve staying in the many 4* hotels along the route - but you do need a jacket and tie to dine in many of them!!

Good luck with your walk - if you have reasonable weather (quite likely in May) you'll have wonderful views and masses of wildflowers - very different to the PW.


 

johhnyp

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #8 on: 21:44:53, 28/02/16 »
Evening Stube,
I do seem to recall quite a few short sharp pulls on the PW; and not just between Greenhead and Rapishaw Gap! Nonetheless I take your point entirely on board; especially as my first two walks of the year across a few selected short sharp slopes in the Yorkshire Wolds have revealed that some more practise is in order! In truth I don't worry too much on the fitness front; nine or ten hilly 11-12 milers in four hours or so before the day and I can usually step up to the big walks ok, walking for longer but a wee bit slower.
This tent thing is something of a new world to me though. I liked the imagery of the 4* hotel after the 20 mile day and admit to liking a warm bed and shower at days end; but as they say , you never stop learning so if Minehead is full when I turn up at teatime on a BH Saturday, the a night under canvas on top of Porlock Hill might be educational (as long as the low end is facing inland!). Still a few weeks to mull this issue over.
The alarmist arctic weather forecast for Easter and beyond notwithstanding, I am increasingly anticipating the off. I hoped it would be a different type of walk and so you guys seem to be saying. Even the ground is drying up a bit
Happy Days

John

vinny

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #9 on: 17:08:37, 05/03/16 »
Johnyp,
Another year and another long distance walk planned. Luck you. Never done any coastal walking apart from on the beach with the wife. Look forward to a TR from you. For me this year all walking is on hold untill I get this AF sorted out, got to see a Cardiologist Consultant next week. Got a phone call on Friday afternoon,  been a cancellation can you come on Tuesday morning. I said yes, otherwise it would have been end of April. Chuffed.


Vinny

sussamb

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #10 on: 19:17:41, 05/03/16 »
Great news, hope it all goes well Vinny  O0
Where there's a will ...

johhnyp

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #11 on: 22:57:26, 05/03/16 »
Me neither Vinny; and I do feel lucky to feel up to doing it. These days I get increasingly grateful for being relatively hale and hearty and see every walk as a bonus. Got my plans for 2017 ( another PW) and 2018 ( I think I will try a back to back C2C)... as long as the body holds up.
Best of luck getting your issues sorted and make plans for your next walk. I am sure it is therapeutic to look ahead. Let us know how you get on.
Thanks for the best wishes. I will definitely write it up.
Being a control freak; I am quite excited at having not booked the bulk of my accommodation. Turning up and finding somewhere will need quite a mindset change from me. New challenges eh?

altirando

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #12 on: 23:59:18, 05/03/16 »
Stay optimistic Vinny.  I had several stents shoved in an artery a couple of years ago.  Walking is the best exercise.  I certainly hope to be getting out to the alps this summer again.

Slogger

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #13 on: 14:38:20, 06/03/16 »
Three guys from our running club have suffered AF in recent years, and all are back running again, one of them seems better than before!

JaneSarah

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Re: SWCP for the over 60's
« Reply #14 on: 23:18:38, 26/03/16 »
Hi John
I walked the SWCP, but over a few years  - couldn't get away for more than a few days at a time - and completed the final section in 2013, when I was just over 60.  I usually tried to organise the next day's accommodation the night before or sometimes in the morning, and never landed up without anywhere to stay. I did occasionally need to get a bus (eg back to Penzance where I'd stayed the previous night already) and it's useful to pick up bus timetables. Also, I was never walking in peak holiday times and made more of an effort to book ahead for Friday/Saturday nights. I camped a couple of times towards the end, by which time I'd bought a lightweight tent weighing less than a kilo. But that was more to try out the tent before a longer hike.  I don't think there's really a need to carry a tent unless you want to.


It's a fantastic walk and the flowers are especially good in May.  Look out for the seals, too.  Once or twice it was very windy and I actually had to detour inland as it was dangerous near the cliff edge.That was on the North coast, maybe not such a problem in the South. Yes, there's a lot of up and down, but no problem if you take it slowly and have a walking pole.


I made a point of trying all the local ice cream - there are a good few small producers. 


Have a good time


Jane



Jane Sarah
Do check out our walk through Greece from the northern border to southern tip at www.greekhiking.com. What next?