Thursday 16th February 2016
|Plaques outside Henry's Former|
Home in Ilfracombe
|Part of the Tarka Trail|
So to say the least, we were starving - and the chip shop had just shut 😭, but maybe that was a good thing because we'd got no other choice than to make do with what we'd got! Anyway, by the time we'd eaten it was well after 3pm , and we still needed to stop off at Asda for a few supper essentials (🍕🍺), so we didn't really have any spare time to stop and look around, however we've promised ourselves that we'll stay for a couple of nights around here when T4rdis2 moves to her next destination in early March 😁.
And then once we got going again I had a little 'incident' 😮 - I fell off - ouch! We'd been quickly tazzing along the trail with John in front and me trailing slightly behind when we came to one of the road crossings which happened to be on a blind bend. He nipped across but just as I was going to leave the kerb a car came around the corner - so my anchors went on a little too hard causing my back end to skid round, and as I was unable to get my foot to the floor quickly enough - down I went. Luckily, my bike was unharmed and other than a squashed pizza and a bruised hip and chest no harm was done, but I did feel a bit sorry for myself, especially as we still had nearly 10 miles to go and the night was closing in.
We finally arrived home about 6.30pm in the pitch dark with 49.5 miles on our clocks, and by then I felt even sorrier for myself, but after scoffing my pizza and indulging in a little beverage my spirits were soon restored - and John even promised me an easy day tomorrow😀 .....but that didn't quite work out as planned!
Friday 17th February 2017
So today our EASY DAY plan was to walk to Lee Bay, and then return to Woolacombe via the coastal path taking in Bull Point Lighthouse and Morte Point on the way. John had very carefully researched our outing and identified paths to use, and all in all he thought the distance would be about 8 miles - easy peasy - NOT!! We left T4rdis2 and headed down the Tarka trail towards Ilfracombe until we got to Lee Bridge, and then for a short while we followed a dead end lane that
We found the start of the footpath at a farm, and even though we had to wade through some horrible muddy patches across a field we thought all was good - until the path vanished on our side of a fence. However, we could see another path on the opposite side of the fence so thinking that this would solve the problem - over we went. We then continued to follow a track of sorts though ancient woodland which we later learnt was Borough Woods, but the further we went, the rougher and muddier it became, but by now it was too far to go back, and as we knew we were going in roughly the right direction we had little choice but to persevere.
And then, happily we were on the proper path so it didn't take us much longer to get Lee Bay were we stopped for a very well earned coffee break - however, the arduousness of our walk was far from over.
From Lee Bay it was up a very steep incline and out onto the coastal path, and from there it was a mere 5 miles of highly undulating terrain with continuous stunning views over jagged cliffs.
|And a Down|
Initially, we were aiming for Bull Point Light House where we planned to stop for lunch, and once we got there we learnt that the original lighthouse had been built in 1879 following more than a dozen wrecks in the preceding 20 years, but in 1972 it was moved further inland following a rock fall. We also found out that at low tide on Rockham Beach you can see the remains of the SS Collier which sank there in 1914, but we couldn't quite make that out.
|John and Val, do you remember this|
Then, when lunch was finished it was onto Morte Point, a place we'd visited previously with John's sister Val and her husband John back in September 2015, but even though we'd seen it before the vista was still quite breathtaking.
|The jagged rocks right on Morte Point|
By the time we got home our feet were dragging, and it certainly hadn't been the EASY day we'd planned - but apart from The Deep Dark Woods of the first bit it had been a fantastic walk.
Saturday 18th February 2017
Well, after nearly 50 miles 🚴 on Thursday and 11 miles 🚶yesterday, we were determined to take it easy today, and initially we'd decided we wouldn't leave the camp site at all. However, with the warm 🌞 making it feel like a summers day we couldn't resist a little visit to the beach - but only in a very leisurely fashion. We packed our lunch then zoomed down the hill on our bikes to the sea front, and once there we sat for a couple of hours watching the world go by while overlooking what must be one of the most amazing beaches in the world.
Sunday 19th February 2017
Well, when we woke up this morning we were very glad we'd taken advantage of the lovely weather yesterday because right from the start the view from our windows was almost totally obscured by mist and mizzling rain, and that really set the scene for all day. Therefore, the most interesting thing I can think of to tell you about is the fact that our garage door fell off😱
Therefore, there was no choice other than to remove the door altogether, and then John was able to take the hinge off. But even that didn't provide the leverage he needed to free it off. 'He twisted it, hammered it, and swore at it' but it wasn't budging, so then I suggested warming it up! So our next action was to dunk it into a pan of boiling water - and little by little this allowed it to be twisted free. Then, after the hinge pin had been filed down and very well greased John was able to reassemble hinge but we still had the problem of how we were going to rehang the door because it looked as if the only way would be to re-rivet it.
However, John eventually came up with the cunning plan of using butterfly cavity screws which we should be able to obtain from a nearby B & Q! At the mo it's still a work in progress but we'll let you know if Grandad managed to fix it again!
Monday 20th February 2017
Sadly, this morning the weather was as grim as yesterday with visibility down to about 10 metres. Therefore, there really didn't seem much point to going out, because not only would we be unable to see much further than the end of our 👃👃 in the dense foggy murk, we'd also have got cold and wet for our trouble. So we whiled away the morning by not doing much at all, but in the afternoon we decided to nip down to Ilfracombe on our 🚴to do a bit of restocking at Lidl - we didn't really get wet but we did get very mud splattered! Then when we got home we watched the weather forecast and unfortunately, if the weather man is to be believed, we may still have a couple more similar days to come ☂🌁⛈⛆☂!
Tuesday 21st February 2017
Well sadly, the weather man was right, and if anything the murk was worse than yesterday! So there was nothing for it other than to have another 'duvet day' and to stay safe snug and warm, however, if we thought the elements had been against us in the day - the night got quite a bit worse! T4rdis2 definitely ROCKED in the almost continuous gale force winds overnight - but having said that, we both slept quite like babies - so maybe we're just getting used to our big cradle.
Wednesday 22nd February 2017
|A Misty Spot by a Reservoir on our|
walk down to Ilfracombe
And in the end our outing turned out to be quite interesting, and additionally, it also contained lots of ooohs and aaahs as we paused to watch the gigantic wind swept waves crashing up onto the jagged rocks.
One of the things that I would really liked to have seen while we were in Ilfracombe were the Victorian network of hand carved tunnels that date back to the 1820's and that lead to a sheltered bay with bathing pools. However, these days you have to pay (£2.50) to enter and they didn't open until March!
Next we found a trail that runs all the way along the sea front to the Harbour, and that has lots of features marked along it's way. One of them was The Runnymede Gardens that are full of sub tropical plants, and even at this time of year there was colourful plants to see.
Then came the Landmark Theatre with it's distinctive conical turrets each measuring 22.5 metres and clad with white Belgian Bricks. It opened it's doors in 1997, but we were quite saddened to learn it went into receivership in January this year and is therefore closed for the foreseeable future.
A little way further along the trail we passed the ancient smugglers cove of Wildersmouth Beach with it's grey sand - a feature that is related to the vast amount of slate in this area.
Next it was The Triple Jump mosaic! It challenges you to test your skills and see if you can beat Britain's best jumper - Jonathan Edwards - a chap who lived in Ilfracombe and who holds the record for jumping 18.29 metres in 1995!
|The Admiral Collingwood Weatherspoons|
|Kate - The Statue who|
stands at the top of
Now, we did wonder weather to stop at the top of the hill for coffee but the howling gale deterred us, so instead we trekked down to the harbour and paused there beside the numerous lobster pots and other fishing paraphernalia.
However our break was short because it was cold and we soon found ourselves wending our way along one of Ilfracombe's most famous streets - Fore Street where myriads of quaint pubs and restaurants (many of which were closed) are found. One of them turned out to be the oldest pub in the town - The George and Dragon which first opened it's doors in 1360, and we did consider stopping to dine there, but as we'd already decided on our lunch destination we stuck with our plan - and very nice it turned out to be. Then once fed and 'watered' we set off for the Old Market Hall where we'd heard an organist plays to entertain the customers.
When we arrived there were several people milling about and chatting but they were all stall holders, and really the place was like nothing we'd ever seen before - it was absolutely full of colourful rammal - and nobody was buying!
By now the time was getting on for 4ish and we still had a long walk home, but before we left the town we did find another shop that seemed to sell loads of 'stuff', and amongst it John managed to find the drills and screws he need to fix T4rdis2's garage door - so hopefully 'the work in progress' will be completed soon.
By the time we got home the 'murk' had thickened again and the rain was just starting, so after our 10 mile or so little jaunt we were quite happy to sit back and relax - but I'm not sure how restful our night will be because the wind is picking up again and the van is ROCKING once more!
Thursday 23rd February 2017
Well, it truly was a dreadful night, and one where the Rocking turned to Shaking in the wrath of Storm Doris. Neither of us slept much, and at times we feared that the violent assault of the winds might cause T4rdis2 to tipple over altogether - and that's to say nothing of the deafening clatter of the rain that torrented down onto our roof. I think the only other times we've experienced anything so tempestuous were on the Isle of White when the wind managed to rip our tent to bits, and when we were pitched on a 'wild camp' spot in Portugal at Cape St Vincent.
Throughout the day the violent winds have continued and others 'campers' on the site are nipping around taking down awnings and securing belonging. Therefore, for safety's sake we've decided to stay at home, because you never quite know what might come flying through the air, however, better weather is forecast for tomorrow so we're keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be able to resume our explorations then - that's if we don't get blown away before!
Anyway, Bye for now and wherever you are keep safe in this horrible storm xx
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