Walk from Bolberry Cross to Hope Cove
Our walk this afternoon from Bolberry Cross to Hope Cove is part of the South West Coast Path, which is Britain's longest National Trail. It stretches for 630 miles/ over 960 km in total and is a long-distance footpath. It runs from Minehead in Somerset, along the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, to Poole Harbour in Dorset.
Over the centuries fishermen, coastguards and smugglers have helped to create this historic path and there are many stories attached to different parts of it.
There are various ships that have been wrecked on this part of the coast- particularly around the Bolt Tail area.
One such wreck, which still remains off Bolt Tail, is the wreck of the Jebba- pictured left near Bolt Tail- photograph by Pauline Lane and detail from Submerged.
The Jebba was a cargo ship, originally built in 1896, and was sailing from Sierra Leone to Plymouth with a cargo of rubber, ivory and fresh fruit, as well as post for the Royal Mail. She was also carrying 155 passengers and crew members.
Early in the morning of 18 March 1907, the Jebba missed the warning of the Eddystone Lighthouse because of dense fog. This is a lighthouse which warns ships about the Eddystone Rocks, which are an extensive reef about 12 miles (19km) south of Plymouth Sound, the harbour at Plymouth. These rocks are covered by water a high tide and have been feared for centuries by ships entering the English Channel. The Jebba hit the rocks off the coast at Bolt Tail and immediately started taking in water. The Captain sent up distress rockets and put out all the boiler fires to prevent the risk of an explosion and the Hope Cove Lifeboat was quickly dispatched to the area.
However, the lifeboat couldn't reach the Jebba because of the way the Jebba had run aground- facing longways onto the shore- and the lifeboat crew realised it was too dangerous to transfer 115 people over the sea with ropes- a process known as cragging- to get to the lifeboat.
So, instead, two very brave men from the lifeboat crew- Issac Jarvis and John Argeat (pictured left)- climbed down the dangerous 200 foot sheer cliffs in total darkness with a bosun's chair - see picture right.
In the course of the night, they managed to save all 155 people and were awarded the Board of Trade Bronze Meda by King Edward VII. They were also awarded the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society
This walk is also a wonderful way to see birds and in the spring, wild flowers and plants.
Some of the birds- often migratory- to look out for include:
the rare Dartford Warbler
Cirl Buntings which hide in the heather and scrub.
or even the majestic Peregrine Falcon.