As the weather was so good we decided to knock off another 8 miles before going on our 60 mile walk next week. Although the title indicates Teignmouth to Exmouth we actually parked the car at Starcross which is on the other side of the River Exe from Exmouth having decided there was no need to trouble ourselves with the ferry crossing! Being Sunday the car park was FREE (a rarity in the UK now!), and we had plenty of time to catch the Stagecoach #2 bus to Teignmouth where the morning was still very misty but pleasantly warm so, after a quick cup of coffee and teacake (again!), we set off ..
As we had arrived almost at low tide, most of this walk would be along the Teignmouth and Dawlish sea walls and so we joined the myriad of morning promenaders alongside the railway lines the but soon noted that there were a number a people with tripods and cameras patiently waiting for something to happen. It was then that I remembered that, as it was still September, there would be a steam train due soon and in fact we had indeed travelled on the Torbay Express some years ago from Weston-super-Mare to Dartmouth. Speaking to one of the cameramen we found out that there were 2 trains due, the first being the Royal Duchy from Bristol Temple Meads to Paa which today was pulled by SR Battle of Britain class 34067 “Tangmere” …
What a sight with the wonderful after smell of oily steam!! As it was a bit late we decided to press on and try and get over the hill at the end of the promenade and down the other side in time to see the next train which was the Torbay Express …
In between Teignmouth and Dawlish there are 5 tunnels and this would have been a terrific point to see the Torbay Express emerge but alas we were too late as a passerby told us that the second steam train had gone through whilst we were puffing up the hill. Never mind, we continued over the top of the four tunnels and then dropped down into Dawlish.
At this point we chatted to a local man who seemed as if he was waiting to photograph a train but in fact he confirmed what we already knew but said that he had come to see a new crane platform (in the far distance) that had arrived from Teignmouth the previous day to repair the sea wall before the winter …
When the storms washed away the train tracks a temporary repair was made to the sea wall using rock filled containers and the crane had been installed to enable these to be removed and the sea wall reinstated. Our local friend however was sceptical as to how long it would be before the whole line would have to be abandoned to the fury of the sea, which of course would be a major problem for the area as the inland railway route was abandoned some years ago.
On that cheery note we continued along the Dawlish sea wall as far as the point where the above picture was taken and from there we had to divert up to the main road and just before the drop down back to sea wall we sat overlooking the sea to have lunch.
The rest of the walk through Dawlish Warren (we didn’t feel like visiting the Nature Reserve) was a bit tedious with about 3 miles of walking on paths and roads through holiday parks back to Starcross. Fiona had had a problem with toe joints on her left foot since July and all the hard surface walking was causing her agonies by the time we got back to the car. Fortunately, the day after this walk she had an appointment with a podiatrist in Bristol so fingers and toes crossed that this goes well!
Back home by 16:00 and time to sit down with a cup of tea and watch Lewis Hamilton win the Italian Grand Prix – a very satisfying day but a worry about Fiona’s foot!
STOP PRESS – Fiona’s foot consultation highlighted a number of issues but in the short term she is having orthotic insoles made for her walking boots in time for our walking holiday next week – hopefully this will alleviate the immediate problem.