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]

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Day 13 - Tiverton to Sampford Peverell

27 April
Distance: 6.5 miles (plus about 0.5 around Tesco!)
Number of other walkers seen: Approx 125

It's amazing how fast the body recovers from a battering. After 3 consecutive 19 mile days, the bulk of which have been on hard surfaces, my feet were making their feelings known last night.

Throughout our Thai meal they protested. In bed they protested. Waking up this morning they vaguely grumbled. After a cooked breakfast they were, if not raring to go, then at least prepared to cover 6.5 miles.

With the lack of a small grocery store on our route through Tiverton we made for the big Tesco where we piled on the miles as we wandered rather aimlessly up and down its aisles.

With significantly heavier packs we found our way to a cycle route which follows the path of a disused railway before picking up the Grand Western Canal, which in turn would convey us to our destination.

Along the cycle route (paved at first, boo hiss!) we saw two women walking towards us wearing matching t-shirts. We rounded the next bend and all we could see were people walking towards us in those same t-shirts.

Eventually, after an awful lot of helloing, I had to stop someone to ask. It was a sponsored walk, 4 miles in length, in aid of Marie Curie. From what we saw they had a good turnout.

Passing a sign that informed us that it was an offence under the Public Health Act to exercise a donkey on that path, we left the disused railway and joined the canal.

A brief detour was made at Halberton, per my plotted route, to miss out a loop taken by the canal. Despite the short section of moderately busy road it was a good move as without it we would not have seen the old Priory, the owners of which have put a few information signs outside explaining the works that they are doing to restore it and, more particularly, its gardens.

We were nearly upon Sampford Peverell when our singing of rounds of 'row row row your boat' (caused by having seen a rowing boat, predictable enough) was interrupted by a voice behind us asking "are you really walking Britain?".

Without the chat that ensued, we likely would have wandered into the first pub we found in Sampford Peverell. As a result of that chat we followed the recommendation and headed to The Globe. It was the words 'good ale' that did it.

A pint of Otter Bitter (being the girly lightweight that I am these days my beer selection criterion is: the weakest ale available) is being supped as I type this. Our afternoon session will be just half a mile long and upon arriving at our destination it's fingers crossed that our supply parcel has arrived. Never mind the food, we need those ferrules...

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