Wednesday, May 23, 2012

South Zeal

I started the day on a full English breakfast that I couldn't finish. In spite of that I felt my load lighter today but realised it was me getting lighterand not the pack!

As I set off I noticed the Post Office open opposite and considered posting my camping gear back to base camp since I had the next three days B&B accommodation locked. I also gained confidence that I'd always find an Inn somewhere along the way with a rooms available, given the number I'd spotted, that clearly don't advertise online.

My path took me up through a magnificent stone railway viaduct to the  cycle path along the old Dartmoor Railway where I stopped and chatted with Dave walking from Barnstable to Bodmin.

I came into Okehampton to discover the Olympic Torch bearer had passed through just earlier.

I took the opportunity of visiting the old Railway Station and Okehamton Castle before resuming my path up to Dartmoor along a pretty raging stream where higher up my inattention to a navigation later had me climb a steep hill I needn't have.

I came down off Dartmoor to the pretty small town of Belstone - the location on which the children's book 'The Belstone Fox' was based, a favorite of mine and the children thanks to a gift from my mother.

I then walked the last few weary miles into the town of Sticklepath where I had a B&B booked. Alas there are two towns by that name (the other in Barnstable) and I'd booked the wrong one. The one in Barnstable was very understanding.

With no other accommodation available in town I finally got to use the tent - on the lawn behind the King Arms Pub with the pub's kind permission and at no cost once I'd explained my predicament.

As luck had it the pub was hosting a local folk night to help cheer my otherwise trouble day.

Bill, who plays the English concertina, introduced himself to me and invited me to try his instrument after a quick lesson. Bill tells me area is a hotbed of accordian, concertina and smallpipes players going back several generations. As small as South Zeal is it hosts a 4 day folk festival every August.