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    • Day 6

      Day 6 Westward Ho!

      June 5, 2022 in England ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

      Länge: 33 km
      Gesamt-Strecke: 137/1.014 km
      Dauer: 8 Stunden
      Höhenmeter: ca. 50 m
      Wetter: regnerisch und leichter Wind
      Über Nacht regnet es wieder, dieses Mal aber ohne viel Wind. Also muss das Zelt halt wieder nass in den Rucksack, hilft alles nichts. Immerhin bekomme ich den Rest trocken rein. Dann beginnt diese lange Etappe, die die bisher langweiligste sein sollte: Endlos lang auf geteerten Wegen, die schnurstracks gerade aus (ehemalige Bahnlinien) führen und gefühlt nicht vorbei gehen wollen. Das Wetter trägt seinen Teil dazu bei: Es ist stark bewölkt und immer wieder regnet es. Noch dazu bekomme ich größere Probleme mit meinem Bewegungsapparat. Dass ich mal eine Blase bekomme, damit habe ich gerechnet, ich habe eine fiese zwischen den Zehen. Aber dass auch eine Wade schmerzt und das linke Sprunggelenk, das ist neu. Es ist wohl zu viel Belastung in zu kurzer Zeit. Ich bringe diese Etappe zu Ende und bin froh als ich angekommen bin. Mal schauen, ob ich die geplanten Etappen weiterhin schaffe, oder ob ich kürzer treten muss.Read more

    • Day 56

      All Roads Lead to Chickerell

      October 19, 2016 in England ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

      Wednesday October 19th
      In Which all Roads Lead to Chickerell

      It should have been an easy drive. Our plan certainly sounded simple. We were going to leave our B & B in Chickerell and then follow the famous Jurassic Coast through Lyme Regis and Sidmouth to Exmouth, before turning north and driving up to Horns Cross (near Bideford). The total distance was estimated to be around 140 km. In Australia we would not think twice about driving that far in a couple of hours, so it shouldn't be much different in the UK. Or so we thought.

      The first few km were achieved without incident, although the narrowness of the roads was quite disconcerting at times, especially when you had to face huge semi trailers, farm tractors and suicidal locals all racing towards you without slowing down and with only a few inches of clearance on each side.

      We got to within a few km of Lyme Regis and looked forward to a pleasant break by the seashore.

      "It will be a good stop for morning tea, or maybe we will wait and have it at Sidmouth instead", I told Maggie. It never turned out that way.

      Just when Lyme Regis was almost within reach, our way was blocked by a complete barrier over the road. ROAD CLOSED. What did they mean, Road Closed ? Surely there must be a short detour around the obstruction ? We drove back a few km to the first village we encountered. Maggie went into a shop to ask directions. She came back looking confused. "I couldn't understand a word he said", she explained. We had no choice but to keep going back, and back, and back. There was just no way to get in the direction we wanted. About an hour later we found ourselves driving back past the actual place we had spent the previous night in. Yes, we were right back where we had started, and still going even further backwards ! It was a navigational nightmare of the first order.

      We finally reached the end of the "DIVERSION" and estimated that it had added at least 2 hours to our journey. At least we were heading in the right direction again and we did eventually reach Lyme Regis and we did stop for something to eat, but it wasn't morning tea. It was lunch, and a late lunch at that. The town was a classic English seaside town with narrow and very steep streets

      We managed to find a parking place on the outskirts and then walked (climbed) down the steep cliffside into the township itself. It was a pleasant place, but by now we were well behind schedule, so could not stop for long.

      We resumed our westerly travels to the beautiful Sidmouth. This is a larger town with a delightful atmosphere. We would have liked to have spent more time but the clock was ticking and we did not know what other challenges might be lying in wait for us further on. We decided to skirt Exmouth and start our journey north to Bidewell by well of Chulmleigh and Barnstaple. Although the countryside was pleasant, it was not possible to see a lot of it due to high hedges on the sides of the narrow roads. The succession of towns we passed through were also rather drab and a little disappointing. It was also starting to get dark, so we kept pressing on trying to reach our destination before nightfall.

      We also had a problem that we did not have an actual address for the B&B. The voucher we had printed off from Booking.com just described its location as somewhere called "Horns Cross, near Bideford". While we could find Bideford on the map, we could not find anything called Horns Cross, so we knew we could be in for a spot of bother. I did have the latitude and longitude of the place, so decided to feed that data into the GPS and hope for the best

      Like a dog with a new scent, the GPS started spitting out instructions - TURN LEFT in 250 Metres, turn right in 500 metres, etc and so on. The only problem was that the already narrow road we had been on suddenly became a dog track. It was barely wide enough for us to squeeze through and seemed to be getting narrower. With the high hedges on both sides we could not see a thing. Every time we changed direction (which was often) we felt that we were in imminent danger of being wiped out by an approaching vehicle.

      At one particularly narrow and scary part Maggie asked "What if we meet a truck now?" A second later her question was answered when a monster truck appeared out of the darkness. I slammed on the brakes with my heart palpitating wildly. He was much bigger than me so I tried to find reverse gear. Damn these manual transmissions. I struggled to reverse back and immediately went back into the nearest hedge. The amused truck driver then took pity on the couple of elderly dimwits, flashed his headlights and started to reverse back for us. A few minutes later we had edged our way past and our near death experience had been survived.

      My patience was finally starting to snap.

      "I hate these stupid, idiotic, ridiculous roads", I yelled at Maggie. "Why can't they build proper ones ?" She told me to calm down and keep driving. Easy for her to say, I thought, she wasn't sweating all over the steering wheel.

      Somehow we finally found Horns Cross, found a small notice with the name of the B&B on it and miraculously drove into the driveway. My nerves were shot, I was tired and cranky and just wanted somewhere to rest. The friendly proprietor directed us which steep staircase to drag our suitcases up and finally we collapsed on the bed. It had been an interesting day.
      Read more

    • Day 7

      Barnstaple to westward Ho

      September 6, 2021 in England ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      After my breakfast was delivered to outside of my room I left the hotel and made my way to the bridge then crossed the river. I then walked along the the Tarkha trail and on the the way passed many cyclists as I headed for Instow. As it wasn't high tide there was no boat to Appledore. I walked along the river until I got to the Bideford bridge on the way noticed lots of oldish boats along the river. crossed to the other side and walked to Appledore. I then walked along the beach round until I eventually got into Westward Ho. I found my hotel a good modern hotel with a swimming pool.Read more

    • Day 11

      Instow to West Ward Ho!

      June 23, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      The last leg of our first walk, which took us about 6 hours to do 20 km. Very level terrain so we were able to wear joggers instead of walking boots, which was a relief.
      Westward Ho! Is not the most salubrious of of places but nevertheless a quaint seaside resort. We went to three supermarkets to find the best value gin, tonic and whatever we needed for our picnic in our room. We will not pay over the odds for our evening meal! Picnic in our room is the way to go!

      Some rain tonight which is lovely to listen to.

      Although the Waterfront Inn whee we are staying is fairly dated, the four B & B rooms are new and very comfortable. Great bathroom!
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    • Day 10

      Braunton to Instow

      June 22, 2022 in England ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      22 km in 5 hours, very different landscape from yesterday. The terrain was quite flat which allowed us to make good time.

      We are staying at the Commodore Hotel, quite upmarket, which is why we ate at the
      Wayfarer Inn, a pub just a 5 mins walk away.

      Instow is a holiday place and our hotel looks over the river Torridge which flows into the end of the Bristol Channel (nearly at the end) into the Irish Sea.

      Perfect weather! the English cannot believe their luck! we are. Grateful that it is not raining. Claire keeps assuring me that the weather is not normally like this!

      My ankle is really giving me trouble, I have blisters on both feet, but I am having a wonderful time!
      Read more

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