Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Day 13 - Holne to Widdecombe - Monday 15th Sept.

First of all I forgot to mention yesterday that all morning and early afternoon the walk across the moor was in cloud/mist/fog or whatever you want to call it and visibility ranged between half a mile and fifty yards which better explains my travails with navigation.

I re-read the TMW guide and interestingly I quote, "...the open moorland of Dartmoor and Exmoor is NOT signposted or way marked. Not only is marking alien to wild landscape, but it destroys the experience of being in remote country". I am all for that but wish I had read that bit before embarking on day one of the TMW.

The Shepherd's Hut was ok but without mains electric pretty basic, and if it had been much colder that could have been a problem. Anyway it was better than the tent.

When I re-conceived this walk for now, i.e. later in the year, I had visions of huge expanses of purple heather on Dartmoor, and purple heather for me is like listening to a world class soprano having a memorable performance for others, although the latter wouldn't go amiss anyway.

Well, the heather has gone over, but some of it remains, but glory of glories a fiendishly deep yellow gorse over massive expanses has taken over and bits of the heather remain intermingled. It would be worth anybody's effort to get out and have a look.

Today I have walked through enchanting old deciduous woodland, often accompanied by the River Dart, which has water coloured like a good bitter, but so clear you can see to the bottom even at surprising depths, and offering the greatest temptation to taking dip one is ever likely to encounter, and I actually observed a couple doing just that.

After that the path climbed through jungle bracken to a grey stark tor and then developed into a high level track constructed for a conceited aristocrat to entertain his guests with dramatic views looking a long way down into heavily wooded valleys, which hinted at some secret river running through.

The village of Ponsworthy, enchanting as it was, offered no refreshment, but I chatted with a gent who had lived there since 1949 and we recalled bad winters of 1947 and nineteen sixty something and his running of a café on the south coast for eighteen years. The next village of Jordan had nothing to offer other than its unusual name.

Widdecombe is a thriving tourist centre with the National Trust running a shop and TI centre rolled into one. They found me a B and B about half a mile from the village, but with the Rugglestone Inn half way. I left my sack at the B and B and wandered back to the village for tea in the café booking a table for 6:30 on the way, and here I am now after meeting the challenge of a superb steak and Stilton pie. I enquired if they had wi-fi and the reply, " sorry, no, we try to keep as much in the past as possible".

By the way, I'm being haunted by a guy on this walk with a funny hat.

Could not post last night. Can't reply to comments easily. Will catch up later. This coming from Hameldown Beacon (517m) in the mist if it goes - 10.00 am Tuesday.




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