Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Crediton / Exeter

Fortunately it had been a warm dry night so I slept well in my tent. I also used my stove to make coffee but had no supplies for breakfast but found a shop open in the next village and started off the dat with a Devon? pastie under my belt. So now I've used everything in my backpack.
Before I left South Zeal I decided to do a brief recce of any accommodation nearby that I had missed to find a B&B I'd overlooked but now closed down. Another Inn nearby had also closed down. So had yet another lovely Tudor Inn further into my walk.

All the villages around South Zeal were lovely and inhabited apparently only by young women with thier young children, being start of school hour. Not a man in sight. But given the number of children I suppose they must be around somewhere or all at work in nearby Okehampton.

By mid day I'd reached the village of Speyton with it's pub the Tom Cobbly Tavern from which Uncle Tom Cobbly 'and all' had set of for Widdicombe Fair in 1802.

I stopped to chat to some men rethatching a wall (yes odd - I suppose they knew what they were doing). Once done they said by farm labourers but now by them - eco roofing technicians.

I made two changes today to my routine.
(a) Wearing my trekking sandals so as to let my blisters dry in the warm sun. Alas all they just gave me new blisters elsewhere on my feet.

(b) My other change was to use paper strip map and compass with occasional GPS fixes (and not let the blue dot follow the red GPC track on my iPhone map). It was more successful because I paid more attention at intersections. So today I only had one minor navigational mishap.

I reached the town of Crediton to find it had a rail connection to nearby Exeter. Crediton being fairly dull I decided to ring the B&B I'd booked there to cancel (they kindly said no problem) and just then the hourly train to Exeter pulled in.

Exeter I knew had a Backpackers Hostel and a YHA, alas I chose the Backpackers Hostel in town because the YHA was too far out of town. I probably missed a gem. The Backpackers Hostel was crowded and 'basic' and I thought perhaps I should have stuck withe the luxury of the Farm B&B near Crediton. But they did tumble dry my stinky hand wahed two day old clothes for free God bless 'em.

But Exeter proved worth the detour with a lovely cathedral and pretty Tudor houses nearby. It also had some lovely pubs including one claimed to be Sir Francis Drake's favorite.

So I've been lucky with the weather with only light rain the morning I had a rest day in Truro.

I'm also making good progress and now ahead of the schedule I'm following. I didn't notice earlier that it had included four rest days that I haven't taken because I didn't need the rest and otherwise nowhere I had any reason to linger.