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]

Friday, 25 April 2008

Day 11 - Sourton Downs to Yeoford

25 April
Distance: 18.5ish miles
No. of vaguely killeresque dogs: 1

Our campsite last night was situated within 100yds of the A30. For the purposes of traffic noise we may just as well have pitched the tent on the central reservation.

Perhaps it was surprising, given those circumstances, that the noise didn't bother me at all. I was asleep within thirty seconds of turning on my audio book (I did briefly wake to turn it off some time later) and was dead to the world until the alarm woke me at 6am.

I was one tired girl, and I set out this morning with heavy legs and many a yawn. It felt distinctly like a 'day 3' sort of a day, which was a bit unexpected on Day 11.

The first 3.5 miles of our day were not worthy of note. A traffic free ex-rly route was better than a road, and the flatness meant that we made good inroads into our mileage, but the tarmac was less than welcome. A slate shingle surface would have been a much happier situation.

At Okehampton we finally got some mud under our feet on woodland tracks, and a while later we started skirting the edge of Dartmoor on a very picturesque (and very muddy) riverside path. It was the most tenuous of tasters of Dartmoor but I liked what I saw. We must return and indulge in the rarity of lawful English wild-camping.

Leaving Dartmoor a quick detour was made to Sticklepath to remedy Husband's omission to put any water in his bladder before we left Sourton and whilst we were there we had tea and elevenses to supplement our first and second breakfasts.

More paths and tracks and plenty of ooohworthy houses (they like their thatch in these parts, don't they?) brought us to Spreyton where a lack of food in our packs made us happy to find that the pub marked on the map not only existed but was open. By how busy it was on a Friday lunchtime it seemed that we had fallen on our feet.

Talking of our feet, having walked over 12 miles before lunch with only a few brief stops (none of the shoe-off variety) our feet were feeling pounded and were protesting at the news that they still had 6 miles to go.

Beer, and sandwiches containing a good pound of cheese (in my case) and a pound of ham (in Mick's), plus the sit down revived us greatly and we continued on our way (all on lanes this afternoon) almost with a spring in our step.

The view down to Yeoford made 'last half mile syndrome' kick in good and proper and it was a relief to be able to sink into a comfy chair at our destination.

Without wanting to make it sound like we're now in pub-crawl mode, we're now sitting in another very fine pub (the Mare & Foal, I do believe it's called), supping yet more real ale.

("Do you have any vegetarian meals" I asked. "I'll ask the chef" replied the bar person. Next we hear the cry "Vegetarian? Vegetarian? Who would want something vegetarian?". The serving wench tried to have the chef lower his voice and pointed out that
there was a veggie in their midst. The locals are still talking loudly about the phenomenon although I note that I've started a rush on the hastily thought up veggie option.)

Thanks to the miracle of Gehrwol(sp?) Foot Cream, we're even feeling like we can tackle tomorrow's 19 miles.

(BTW: regarding my earlier post and just for the avoidance of doubt (mainly for the benefit of PT who will think that my standards have slipped), I do know that there is not a second 'e' in Messrs. Unfortunately using the method of blogging that I am I can't correct typos once I've made them.)

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