On the morning after my arrival at Jamaica Inn, I realised that I needed medical advice as my big toe on my left foot was swollen and painful with an unpleasant looking discharge. Having sought advice, I spent three days in Launceston receiving treatment from the hospital for an infected toe. On the Tuesday, the fourth day since my arrival, I was returned to Jamaica Inn by John, proprietor of the beautiful St. Dominick Guesthouse in Launceston. I had stayed with him and his wife Suzanne for the three days and they couldn't have been more friendly and helpful. It was quite a wrench when it came time to say goodbye. After a short drive, I waved John off from outside of the Jamaica Inn and it wasn't long before I was swearing yet again at the Lands End Trail and regretting leaving the SWCP. I spent a frustrating hour losing the path and regaining it before eventually emerging onto open moorland and dropping downhill to join a narrow tarmac road. Once again, my lack of faith in the Lands End Trail caused me to stick with the lanes, some of which were no more than tracks with occasional paved sections. The day turned into a long hot slog and I arrived at the campsite at the unlikely named village of Chipshop. Despite being quite tired, I almost turned and left when receptionist asked for £27 for my tiny one man tent. 'All the pitches are the same size and they all have electricity' she explained. Reluctantly, I paid up and pitched my tiny one man pyramid tent among the "glampers' tents and motorhomes
Jamaica Inn to Chipshop 36k - Cumulative 241k
The following morning I was up early and away by 7am and walked the short three miles to Tavistock where I located a cafe for breakfast. After, I did some shopping for snacks before heading out of town to Mary Tavy as the scenery of the Dartmoor National Park opened up. The walking on moorland paths was really enjoyable with the prominent hill of Brent Tor, its top crowned with a church dominating the scene to my left. I followed the moors for some distance until returning to the roads once again into the charming village of Lydford with the ruins of it's castle situated next to the inviting and appropriately named Castle Inn village pub. I checked into the campsite and this time was charged a more realistic £7 for which I received not only a pitch on the campsite but a stunning view of Dartmoor tors as well. Later, I strolled to the Castle Inn for a few well earned beers
Chipshop to Lydford 24k - Cumulative 265k
|View from my tent at Lydford|
Conscious of the fact that I was now behind schedule after my lay off, I decided to follow the Granite Trail for nine miles to Okehampton. This was another former railway but had now taken on a new life as a cycling/walking trail. It was along here that I felt some discomfort on the toe next to my infected big toe. Removing my shoe, I realised the shoes I had purchased in Padstow were also causing me problems. Annoyed, I removed them and replaced them with the Merrell sandals once again and my foot problems vanished. Once in Oakhampton I found a cafe for a late breakfast and headed off following country lanes towards a campsite at Sampford Courtenay. Arriving in the village, I walked a few hundred metres on a busy main road to where the campsite was marked on my map but upon reaching the spot, was greeted by a sign advertising 'cut flowers for sale' Returning back uphill, I spotted a signpost showing a campsite in the opposite direction. Not wanting to walk on the dangerous road, I knocked at the door of a nearby house to ask the location of the campsite and was told that there hadn't been a campsite in the village for a number of years. This wasn't what I wanted to hear and as I headed off once again into the countryside, I consulted the map for possible locations to camp. I noticed the River Taw nearby which was crossed by the Tarka Trail. Reaching the river, I found a wooden bridge and crossed to the opposite bank and sat pondering my next move. I had water as I could filter it from the river, I just needed a spot to put the tent up. I wandered around the riverbank and spotted a narrow path heading into what looked like a flat grassy area and following it, was amazed to discover a concealed picnic area with mown grass and a picnic table. I sat by the river near the picnic area until around 7pm and pitched my tent. I had my campsite for the night.
Lydford to River Taw 33k - Cumulative 298k
|My Concealed Campsite|
River Taw to South Molton
They say that things come in threes and this was a day when three unexpected things happened. I awoke early to light drizzle and packed up early and was soon on my way. As I climbed back up the track I had descended the previous afternoon, I was quietly congratulating myself on the discovery of the concealed 'campsite' the previous evening and wondering what reaction I would have received had I been discovered by the locals when a cow in the field next to me let out a long, loud fart. 'Charming' I said out loud although I may have used slightly more industrial language. At least I knew what the cow thought! Later, as I walked along a narrow country lane, my attention was grabbed by a crashing sound in the trees above and with a thud, a pigeon fell dead at my feet! It showed no signs of being attacked, it had simply died and fallen out of the tree. 'Well, that's taking the saying 'falling off your perch' a bit literally' I thought. The third unexpected thing to happen was, it rained! Properly! It started as light drizzle before it began hosing down. For the first time since leaving Lands End, I needed my raincoat. At least it only lasted around twenty minutes and I plodded into South Molton where I had a room booked.
River Taw to South Molton 30k - Cumulative 328k
|Bridge over the River Taw|