Lynmouth is a lovely little seaside town with a tragic history: there are the usual stories of smugglers, Wordsworth and Coleridge ponked through, and in Victorian times the area became a popular holiday destination. Then in 1952 came the flood. It literally swept houses away. We're staying at Rock House, now alone on the seafront as the buildings beside it were destroyed by the weight of rubble and water that raced down the valley.
Today we walked upriver to the pretty National Trust property, Watersmeet. On the way we passed through what had been the village of Middleton. One house remains. The rest were swept towards the sea. You get the feeling that the area has never completely recovered. The site of one cottage is now a memorial garden.
The walk to Watersmeet wasn't long, but we frequently stopped to take photos so it took a good couple of hours. Watersmeet itself isn't one of those places you go around, it's more a stopping point at the heart of a web of country walks, with a cafe and a shop, but nothing to see inside. It was lovely sitting outside, sharing a cheese scone with the friendly birds.
After that we slogged up a steep hill to Countisbury - the longest half-mile of my life; no other walkers bothered with that bit of the route. I swear it was like Sam and Frodo slogging up Mount Doom. All the way up I was telling myself 'Buns of steel! Buns of steel!' which rapidly became 'Keep going, there's a pub at the top.' Wordsworth may be one of my least favourite poets, but the old bore deserves kudos for being serious about his hillwalking!
Anyway, it was all very hobbity, and we are having a great time.