My Travel Guide to the South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path Scenery

They say that with all the cumulative elevation gain, walking the entire 630 miles of the South West Coast Path in England is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest four times! That’s approximately 115,000 feet elevation gain total! Earlier this year, my husband and I walked 100 of those miles. That’s a cumulative elevation gain of 19,000 feet!

Of course without the snow, ice, glaciers, crevasses, altitude, oxygen tanks, climbing ropes, cold, or Sherpas of Mount Everest, summarizing all the blogs I have written about our 19,000 feet of elevation gain, I present “My Travel Guide to the South West Coast Path,” including links to all my previous blogs.

South West Coast Path Scenery

The beautiful scenery. Each foot of the South West Coast Path alternates between the ups and downs of the high cliffs and low valleys, the quaint villages and relaxing beaches. You constantly view the vast sky and the Atlantic Ocean or English Channel, and the wildflowers, plants and farmland. Each and every foot of the scenery is beautiful.

South West Coast Path Fishing Villages

The fishing villages. Including the seas, the fish, the boats, the sailors, the fisherman, and the coastguards, the fishing villages are part of what the South West Coast Path is all about. According to the South West Coast Path Association, historically the Path was “originally created by coastguards, patrolling the south west peninsula looking for smugglers. The Path has also been used by fisherman looking for shoals of fish and checking the sea conditions.” Today you can eat fresh fish caught by the fisherman from some of these fishing villages.

St Anthonys Lighthouse South West Coast Path

The lighthouses. Also part of what the South West Coast Path is all about is the lighthouses, used to keep those at sea as safe as possible. In our 100 miles, we saw nine lighthouses, including a few harbour lights, sometimes from a distance, sometimes up close, other times through the fog, and even taking a tour. In the entire 630 miles, I believe that there are no less than 15 lighthouses, and perhaps even more.

St Winwaloe Church Gunwalloe South West Coast Path

The churches. Seeing nine historical, spiritual, peaceful churches along our 100 miles of the Path, I experienced a mix of emotions. One such emotion was feeling the significance of another part of what the South West Coast Path is all about as I read memorials to those who unfortunately lost their lives at sea. The older art and architecture of the interior and exterior of each church always fascinates me, as well as the modern embroidery of kneeling pillows, with images of the villages, lighthouses, and churches of the Path itself. And messages of world peace. There must be countless churches to see in all 630 miles of the South West Coast Path.

South West Coast Path

The senses. Listening to the sounds of the oceans and waves, the birds chirping, the whisper of the wind in trees. Seeing the vibrant colors of the wildflowers, the varying hues of blue skies and waters. Smelling the salty sea air, and even the fish. All these senses allowed me to experience a calming walking meditation along the South West Coast Path.

south west coast path welcome sign

Seeing and doing fun things. (Aside from walking all day every day.) Some random photos of our journey included when we needed to summon a ferry by changing a sign from blue to yellow. Seeing old sundial clocks from various churches. And feeling welcome with signs such as, “Walkers, Muddy Boots & Dogs Welcome.” (Even though we didn’t have a dog with us.)

South West Coast Path Lizard Point Most Southerly Gift Shop

Visiting landmarks. We were able to visit two landmarks that are not only significant on the Path, but also in all of England. The most westerly point in England, Land’s End. And the most southerly point in England, Lizard Point on the Lizard Peninsula. Even in the fog.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors. My favorite subject to photograph when I travel is windows and doors. Turns out I appropriately took pictures mostly of nautical themes in the windows and doors on our 100 miles – boats and ships, fishing and sailors, beaches and shells, toy pails and shovels, anchors and buoys, crab pots and lobsters and turtles, and lighthouses. All which are representative of what the South West Coast Path is all about. Even some humorous words of wisdom were displayed in some windows and doors such as, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend.”

South West Coast Path Scenery Sign

Directional acorns and arrows. Following various aids to navigation for walking the Path, the National Trail symbol of the acorn, and colored arrows, including the yellow arrow which indicates a path for use by walkers, helped us find our way. Of course, we also used guide books, booklets, and maps. But if there is a discrepancy, the “Complete Guide to the South West Coast Path” advises, “follow any such directions on the ground rather than relying on literature – things change over time, even including the route of the South West Coast Path, literature can become out-of-date.”

a brush with the coast sasha harding

Three inspiring books. Two humorous books by men, “The Man Who Hated Walking” by Overend Watts, and “500 Mile Walkies” by Mark Wallington (even though he probably actually did the entire 630 miles), were two of the three inspiring books about walking the entire 630-mile South West Coast Path that I read. The third and the most inspirational book was created by a woman who walked the entire path solo (well, with her dog). Sasha Harding’s book, “A Brush With The Coast,” is filled with her heart-felt writing and her adorable drawings.

I hope you enjoyed “My Travel Guide to the South West Coast Path,” including links to all my previous blogs, based on our 100 miles of walking and our 19,000 feet of elevation gain!

Sweet Travels!

Here are some links to more of “My Travel Guides”:
My Travel Guide to the Camino de Santiago
My Travel Guide to the Cotswolds
My Travel Guide to Île d’Orléans – Québec City

Three Inspiring Books about Walking the Entire 630-Mile South West Coast Path

a brush with the coast sasha harding

“After ten days of walking I could really feel the impact of what I was doing. Apart from the daily ups and downs of emotions there was an undercurrent of deep happiness. I felt that this was a natural thing for me to be doing: walking all day, every day. In fact, it felt more natural than sitting at an easel, or driving, or shopping or anything. The walk had become my be-all-and-end-all. My fitness was still questionable, and my big toe was still numb, but my mind had never felt clearer.” – Artist and Author Sasha Harding

a brush with the coast sasha hardingA Brush With The Coast, An Artist’s Search for Inspiration along the South West Coast Path” is my inspiration. Sasha Harding, the artist and author of this 220-page book with over 300 delightful drawings, is a woman who walked the entire 630-mile South West Coast Path in about 7 weeks – solo. Well, with her dog, Jess, actually. And once in a while with a friend, a family member, or someone she met along the way. But by-and-large, walking the majority of the Path by herself, (just with Jess)!

Not only is Sasha’s story, as a woman walking solo on the entire Path inspiring to me as a woman, her journey and experiences are written with heart-felt personal emotions, honesty, and humor. She shares the challenges and the triumphs she faces. She introduces the people she meets. She expresses her deepening friendship with her dog, and her lifetime love of the ocean, and even fishing. Her adjective-filled descriptions of the landscape, including the land and the seas, take you along the Path with her. And mostly, it is her adorable, playful, child-like, simple yet elegant drawings and illustrations that all paint an inspiring picture to me of the South West Coast Path.

a brush with the coast sasha harding

In preparation for the 100-mile walk that my husband I did on this Path back in May, I read three inspiring books about walking the entire 630-mile South West Coast Path. They are only three books I could find about walking the entire Path. While Sasha Harding’s was the most inspirational to me, two other books, written by men, were full of humor, great stories, and also painted a picture of what walking the entire Path is all about.

the man who hated walking overend watts south west coast pathThe Man Who Hated Walking,” (yes that is the title of the book), is written by Overend Watts, a founding member of the English rock band of the 1070’s, Mott the Hoople. Overend has a sarcastic, humorous way of describing his journey, as someone who never walked before and was out of shape, and basically complained just about the entire time. But after this walk, he was transformed into someone who has since then completed many other long-distance walks including, but not necessarily limited to, The Pembrokeshire Coast Path (186 miles), Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path (93 miles), Hadrian’s Wall three times (73 miles each), Wainright’s Coast to Coast Path (190 miles), and the 1,250 mile walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 63 days which covers the entire length of Great Britain from its southwest to its northeast corners. Now that is inspiring! And while Overend Watts did not walk with his dog, his Tilley hat became a favorite, and apparently he continued to walk with it.

500 mile walkies mark wallington south west coast path500 Mile Walkies” is written by a man who also walked with his dog. Well it actually wasn’t his dog, but a borrowed one from a friend. Yes, a borrowed dog. Reading Mark Wallington’s book actually inspired Sasha Harding to go on her journey. Mark writes with much humor as well, and apparently he originally did the walk “to impress a girl [he] met at a party.” Well, after he completed the walk, he realized what his motives really were: “…To know the name of the gulls with the black backs and the flower whose first two syllables were poly…to teach myself how to put up a YHA tent…to try all the flavours of Heinz soup except for Lentil…to write a top-ten-best-selling-hit-pop-song” (maybe he should talk to Overend Watts)…to see how long a pair of socks has to be worn before they take root (ewwww!)…[concluding that]…the walk had been a complete personal success.” Inspiring!?! Yes, in its own way.

I actually wondered though why Mark Wallington walked only 500 miles, so my curiosity led me to ask the SWCP Association who told me that he really must have walked the entire 630 miles. It was just that back when he did the walk, sometime in the 1980’s, they didn’t have modern GPS to really know how long the Path was, so there was a sign at the beginning of the walk indicating that it was…500 miles. (Now aren’t you singing the song, “But I will walk 500 miles, and I will walk 500 more…”?) (Not sung by Mott the Hoople, but by The Proclaimers. And probably not written about the South West Coast Path.) (And if you weren’t singing it before, you probably are singing it now.)

Anyway, here are a few more adorable inspiring drawings and another quote from Sasha Harding after one of her walking days.

a brush with the coast sasha harding

“This is what life is all about, and this is what makes this walk such an amazing experience. Here I am…having walked 10 miles. I am as chilled as I can be and feel incredibly lucky to be having this experience. I have no worries, no responsibilities, nothing but the now. This is food for the soul and I am a very, very lucky soul.” – Artist and Author Sasha Harding

a brush with the coast sasha hardingSweet Travels!

(Disclaimer: While I do know Sasha Harding, having met her during our walk, this blog is completely my own, including the opinions, and my choice of links to her website. I originally purchased her book, and I will not receive any compensation for the sale of her book from this blog.)

Kneeling Pillows from the Churches of the South West Coast Path

south west coast path kneeling pillowsOne of my favorite kneeling pillows from the churches of the South West Coast Path is embroidered with the great message above.

Other favorite keeling pillows reflect the small villages and their churches that you walk through and visit along the 630-mile path in the south west corner of England, like these of Zennor and St. Wynwallow.

south west coast path kneeling pillows

south west coast path kneeling pillows

Some kneeling pillows from the churches of the South West Coast Path represent what the Path is all about… the oceans and seas and water, beaches and waves and sand, cliffs and views and nature, boats and… lighthouses.

south west coast path kneeling pillows

south west coast path kneeling pillows

Sweet Travels!

Here is a link to another blog that I have done on the kneeling pillows in the churches of the Cotswolds area of England.

Random Photos from the South West Coast Path

south west coast path welcome sign
That was the best greeting as we walked into a small hotel that my husband and I encountered during our 100 mile walk along the South West Coast Path. While we didn’t have a dog with us, and I think that day was dry so our boots weren’t too muddy, I really appreciated the warm welcome.

south west coast path helford river ferry

There are many ferry crossings all along the South West Coast Path, and this was one we had fun doing as we crossed the Helford River. The blue sign tells you to “Open this sign to call the ferry. Please close again when ferry arrives. We will be with you as soon as possible.”

south west coast path helford river ferry

Once we opened it, it was bright yellow so that the ferry operator across the river could see someone needed a ride. In this case, the ferry was a small boat.

south west coast path helford river ferryHere are some pictures of old sundial clocks from various churches.

south west coast path sundial clock

south west coast path sundial clock

south west coast path sundial clockHope you enjoyed some random photos from the South West Coast Path!

Sweet Travels!

Windows and Doors of the South West Coast Path

“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend.”

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

These are just some words of wisdom displayed in this window from a store along the South West Coast Path. Other words of wisdom from the same window include, “Cherish your friends,” “Live well, love much, laugh often,” and “People who say money can’t buy happiness obviously don’t know where to shop.” Amen.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

In the doorway surrounded by beautiful pink flowers, the two signs hanging say, “An old fisherman and the catch of his life live here,” and “Me and my old crab live here.” I think the wife must have put both of these signs up.

Since the South West Coast Path is well, along the coast, the seas, and the oceans, it is only makes sense that many of the windows and doors that I photographed during a 100-mile walk contained a nautical theme: Boats, sailors, beaches, fishing, anchors, shells, buoys, crab pots, and lighthouses, as well as words of wisdom relating to the coast. My favorite subject to photograph when I travel is windows and doors. In fact, I have created six books to date of my windows and doors travel pictures. Therefore, when my husband and I walked the 100 miles, once again I focused on taking pictures of windows and doors of the South West Coast Path.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until I started organizing my windows and doors pictures for this blog that I discovered these nautical themes. The window above has two cute little sailor and coast guard dolls. It also includes miniatures of old tin mining buildings also found along the Path.

These two windows which were side by side on the same home contain a ship, puffins, and a miniature lighthouse in one window, and a sail boat and blue bottles in the other window. Both windows have sail boats on the window covering, and are surrounded by a blue wall.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

I believe this is a real anchor next to this window.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

This fun window included a collection of beach items – shells, toy pails and shovels, sail boats, a lobster, starfish, a turtle, and a prayer that says, “Lord, be good to me – thy sea is so wide, and my boat is so small.”

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

This window picture was taken in one of the many fishing villages found along the South West Coast Path. Buoys and crab pots were all around this house.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

Models of miniature lighthouses were displayed in these windows.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

And these windows are actually from a lighthouse, the Lizard Point Lighthouse.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

“On the boat” appeared in this window, along with various wood carvings, including one of a fisherman.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

The Old Bakehouse, a store dealing in collectibles, which we did not go inside, displayed a sail boat in its window.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

“Support our Lifeboats” is the sticker in the corner of this window.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

And the people who live here are telling you they went “To the Beach.”

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

But it wasn’t all nautical themes in my windows and doors photos. Here are a few of my favorite non-nautical windows and doors of the South West Coast Path, including this one with a row of very colorful paints in jars set out on the window ledge.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

I love the flowers in an old-looking jug displayed in this window.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

This cute scene of the Corner Cottage looks inviting to sit at its doorway.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

We did get a few sandwiches from the woman who lives behind this door. “Elizabeth’s – please ring bell and wait for service, take away only.”

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

And well, since my name is Debby, it was fun to see this door leading into Debs Cottage.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

Sweet Travels!

Hope you enjoyed my pictures of some windows and doors of the South West Coast Path. For information on my six Windows and Doors books from various countries, please click on my Windows and Doors Travel Photography Books page. Within this page are links to Amazon where you may purchase my books. Thank you!