Stories from the coast path...


The story behind this cairn of stones on a remote beach: a man buried his wife's ashes here, and asked each walker to add another stone.

Stories as told to me by Airbnb hosts, taxi drivers, people along the path...no more than 3 lines per story...no embellishment by me...no names...here we go...


There was a guy who was scattering his grandmother's ashes in the sea. Standing in the waves, waist high. You know about every 7th wave, don't you? Well, the seventh wave came, and he was gone. Couldn't swim, see. Next week they were scattering his ashes in the sea...


Our daughter went to the doctor when she was 20, asking for a cervical cancer test. The GP said he couldn't do it, the NHS only starts screening at 25. So we took out private health insurance. They found cancer. Intervened just in time. She's OK. She's 27 now.



One man's extraordinary kindness and faith in humanity: we came upon a stand of hot tea, cold drinks and snacks deep in the Exmoor part of the coastal path, all run on an honesty system. Apparently put out by a retired ranger from Exmoor. Nourishment for body and soul.

So there was a guy who moved into our village, from London. His neighbour was a farmer, whose family had lived there for several generations. After a few months, the new chap sued the farmer saying that his cockerel disturbed the peace! And he won!


Do you know why there's no bridge over the River Dart before you get all the way up the estuary to Totnes? Its because of Henry VIII. There was a repair yard for his fleet in the estuary. So he issued a decree saying that there couldn't be any bridges over the Dart.


St Nicholas Wayfarer's Church near Kilton in Somerset. Dating from 1100, it was decommissioned in 2004 and was set to become a ruin. But then the community stepped in and today it is a non-denominational Drop in Prayer and Daytime Retreat Centre. What a great thing to do. I went in for a rest during my walk and came out refreshed.

Did you hear about my niece? It was a famous case, with a petition. She went to her GP when she was about 17-18 and asked to be tested. He said that she'd had too much under-age sex and screening only starts at 25. She was dead from cervical cancer at 23.


So our first Airbnb guest was this lady from Indonesia. She went into her room and stayed there for a month, without coming out, apart from to collect food delivered to her room. We barely saw her. And when she went, she gave us a bad review. We still don't know why.


Built in the 1850s as an extension to the Great Western Railway, the West Somerset railway was closed in 1971, but re-opened as a "heritage railway" run by volunteers later in the 1970s. It is now the longest heritage railway in the country, with several steam engines. It was a magnificent experience to travel on this at the end of a day of walking.

Did you know that half of our house is made from an old railway carriage. And not just any old carriage, this one belonged to the Prince of Wales. Not this Prince of Wales, but Queen Victoria's son. He apparently used the carriage for entertaining his lady friends...


My boyfriend of 5 years left suddenly one night. We were going to get married. Turned out he'd taken 25k from my bank account. The police said, 'oh, relationship fraud, may not be able to get to that soon'. He's living in the next village, free as a magpie.


Sad-faced red light in Ilfracombe...

Online dating: I forgot to press the button about being in the neighbourhood. Got a match with a guy in Scotland. Flew up there. I like to do yoga and walk. I'm not being fattist, but his picture was 20 years out of date and he'd want to go to restaurants and me to yoga...


My daughter in law had a baby when she was 40. The grandchild I always wanted. Afterwards she went for her 18 month check-up, which included a pap smear. Found cervical cancer just in time. She's fine. Baby saved her life.


Newly planted "crops" for farmers include solar panels, as well as wind farms and large swathes of mobile homes.

Cancer Research UK
In aid of:

Cancer Research UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1089464), Scotland (SC041666) and the Isle of Man (1103). A company limited by guarantee. Registered company in England and Wales (4325234) and the Isle of Man (5713F). Registered address: Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London EC1V 4AD.

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