The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Day 10 - Launceston to Sourton Downs

24 April
Distance: about 18 miles
No. of killer dogs: 1 (although Husband claims it was friendly)

What a good day of walking!

It started on lanes, which led us to the River Tamar which was significant as it marks the boundary between Cornwall and Devon. A photo was duly taken (I'm sure we won't be so enthusiastic about other county borders) then we struck out across fields.

The morning was all fields and lanes as we followed the Two Castles Way, which thankfully turned out to be reasonably well waymarked. Waymarking hasn't been an issue until now (and shouldn't be from now either) as everywhere we find ourselves crossing farmland I have 1:25k maps which clearly show us where to go. For reasons unknown I omitted to print any for today.

Now, as many of you will already know, there's a chap called Daryl May who last year walked LEJOG and is currently walking JOGLE. You'll find his account over at mylongwalk.com. I really wanted to catch up with Daryl as he passed by the Midlands and having missed him there really wanted to pass him on route. Today was the day when our paths crossed. Unfortunately, whereas we were on the Two Castles Trail, Daryl was on West Devon Drive and I wanted to walk along a road about as much as Daryl wanted to yomp across muddy fields.

There was just one point in the day when our paths could cross and it was a bit of a long-shot as it was about half way through our day but much earlier in Daryl's. Just as a heavy shower hit us (it was a day of sunshine and showers and at one point even hail) I spoke to Daryl briefly and learned that we had missed him by some margin. That was a real shame and made me think we should have taken the foot punishment of the road route (it would have been a lot shorter than our meandering route too).

As the day wore on we yearned for a pub, but luck was not with us. Both of those we passed (the first having the appearance of a real dive, the second being a glorious example of a thatched inn) were closed.

Variations to our planned route have become common as when we look at the route on paper (rather than on the computer screen on which I plotted it) better routes become obvious. So far those routes have been either the same distance as the original or longer, but definitely nicer. Today a far more sensible route jumped off the page at us that was not only shorter but also very pleasant indeed, including lots of nice paths and tracks through bird filled woodland and alongside babbling streams.

As we reached the edge of Dartmoor we took to the disused rly line, which involved crossing an impressive viaduct of which I would have taken a photo a mile previous had I realised we were to cross it.

The cycle route along the former rly line was a lovely setting. It was just a shame about the tarmac surface.

It led us to our campsite for the night where we were met with the nighmare scenario of the words 'fully booked for a caravan rally'. I duly batted my eyelids, smiled winsomely and said that we only needed a very small patch of grass whereupon we were offered the owner's front lawn or the grass in front of the 'campers BBQ area'. We chose the latter.

Even better our pitch is about 20 paces from a pub (another pub stuck in the 1970s) which has not only provided a passable glass of wine but also a table on which to type.

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