Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Saturday September 13th - we slacked off

The screaming seagulls woke me up in time for sunrise on Thursday morning and I had a bit of a wander down to the beautiful sandstone cliffs on the campsite's private beach.

We were quite tired and the site was well equipped and not too expensive so we decided to stay on a bit and give ourselves a chance to actually be on holiday. Ice creams were eaten, beaches were walked upon and legs were allowed to recover a little. We had a pleasant stay at Ladram Bay, despite being kept awake on the second night by a couple having a screaming unintelligible row in which the bloke kept threatening to leave, stomped off but never lived up to his promise and came back for another round when he realised he couldn't really get very far on foot.

We left early-ish (9am) on Saturday morning, Dgym being up at an unusually early hour, rolled down the hill and followed the river Otter as far as Ottery St. Mary. The valley was lovely and gently rolling, lots of pleasant ups and downs, and the sun wasn't too fierce.

Ottery St. Mary was pleasant, although not the most beautiful of towns. We parked up by the bakery and friendly locals stopped to enquire about our travels. One little old lady asked whether we'd been to Wales. We haven't (well, not properly anyway). She advised us to go, as it was lovely. "The people are very friendly there. Just like me!". She walked off. Later, as I was squatted by the roadside rummaging through my bar bag, she passed by once more and patted me on the head, wishing us good bye.

We spent quite a while in Ottery, munching on baked goods and plotting our route into, and out of, the Blackdown hills to avoid as many arrowed roads as possible. The arrows really do mean business in Devon.

We couldn't avoid all the big hills. There was another 20% coming out of Ottery which was tough, but didn't feel as bad as the Sidmouth one. I managed it without getting off and pushing, but we still had to stop a lot.

We stopped at a campsite just off the A30 near Chard, which was quite expensive at £11/night but had the loveliest ground I've ever pitched a tent onto, lovely soft springy grass.

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