Morecombelake to Seaton
I started the final day of my walk, fittingly, by getting lost one last time. You know, for old times’ sake.
I wanted to see the ruined St Gabriel’s Chapel (13th century, I believe?), which is pretty much due south from Morecombelake, and would take me for the most part back along the paths I’d used to get up to the village the day before. Easy. Except that I completely lost the path. Having startled a few cows, taken a stealthy pee in a wooded area when I realised I was still hours from finding the next WC, and pulled out my compass for the first time this trip, I finally stumbled upon the ruins in a little pasture. It was pretty neat; most of the structure is gone, leaving a crumbling shell, but you can still see some architectural features. If it weren’t for the cows, the place would be quite eerie.
Thence back down to the coast (skirting around the Golden Cap this time, thankyouverymuch), rejoining the path and carrying on to Charmouth.
There’s a butcher in Charmouth that sells Cornish pasties. If you do nothing else in your life, you must get a steak & stilton pasty from that butcher. I don’t care how you feel about steak, stilton, or pasties. If you eat it while sitting on the beach, watching ducks ride the current of a little stream down into the sea, so much the better.
West of Charmouth, the coast path takes you up over the cliffs in a rather circuitous route, and I’m told it’s a bore. Instead, I stayed below the cliffs and walked along the Spittles (the Spittles!!), a beach connecting Charmouth to Lyme Regis. The terrain isn’t too bad here; the rocks are a bit slippery, and you need to be aware of the tide, but there’s also a good deal of hard-packed sand that’s easier on the legs. The area was full of fossil-hunters, and I became jarringly aware that I was among tourists when everyone I passed refused to make eye contact or return my chipper ‘hiyas’. HOW RUDE.
Lyme Regis was the site of the only Jane Austen fangirling I allowed myself this whole trip, surprisingly. We all know the scenes on the Cobb in Persuasion. (If you don’t, drop everything and read the book, then watch the Ciarán Hinds adaptation, then watch the Rupert Penry-Jones adaptation. I’ll wait. Hell, move over, I’ll watch them with you.) It was pretty neat, sitting on a bench next to the Granny’s Teeth (as the steps of the Cobb are called), looking back at the town, and reflecting that Austen must have seen much of this with her own eyes. Siiiiiggghhhhhh…
Wait, crap. Suddenly I have 3.5 hours till sunset, and signs are telling me I’m at least 3.5 hours from Seaton.
I shook myself out of my stupor and struck out for the Undercliffs, a hell of a way to end my walk. This final stretch, bridging Dorset and Devon, is unlike anything else I’d encountered yet on the Jurassic Coast. In fact, it reminded me very much of hiking through the Canadian Shield back home; very up-and-down, heavily forested, full of tree roots and rocks. There’s also no way out along the way, so once you’re in the thick of it, you’re on your own. I loved it. I tore through it almost at a run (the advancing sun provided some motivation here), with a smile on my face and a song on my lips. I encountered only one other person along the way. Just wonderful.
I emerged breathless an hour-and-a-half later and made short work of the final mile or two down to Seaton. There’s quite a long lane you walk down at one point, lined with dense hedges on both sides, where I TOTALLY SAW A GHOST. So watch out for that.
I arrived in Seaton just as the first rain of my whole trip began, a good hour before sunset; that magically liminal time that’s too late for tea but too early for supper. Almost everything in town was closed, and the pub I eventually stumbled into didn’t even have their kitchen stuff turned on. I somehow convinced them to let me eat the extra pasty I’d thrown in my bag with a pint of cider. Not a bad way to end it all, really.
My kind, lovely AirBnB host picked me up in Seaton and drove me up to her place in Colyton, and thus ended my walk.
I estimate that I covered a respectable 85-90 miles (oh I don’t know – not quite 150 km?) in 6 walking days, lost a bit of girth along the way, unlocked a deep passion for cream tea, and gained one new friend in the Runner, plus a decent handful of friendly acquaintances. I wouldn’t change a single thing.