DAY 62: Bideford to A39 (Taylor’s Cross) – 20.40 miles
With a bacon butty for breakfast, a sandwich made up for lunch, not having to take all my things with me, John able to drop me where he collected me yesterday, and pick me up from where ever I walked to today – the scene was set for me to cover some serious mileage today. Again not really sure which way I was walking, the network of side roads south and west towards the coast were vast enough that I figured I could work it out as I went along. All roads to lead to Bude… or something like that.
As soon as I was dropped back in Bideford town centre however I was able to get straight back on the flat and easy to follow Tarka Trail. It has been raining all morning but not long after I started walking the rain suddenly stopped, and though the sky remained grey for most of the day, thankfully it stayed dry. I would have prefered to stay on this trail all the way, but an hour or so later, I reluctantly had to start making my way more west. Which of course meant I would have to be prepared for hills. There really is no such thing as a flat road in this part of the world and you can pretty much guarantee if you’re off the main A road and/or not following a river, then there will be steep ups followed not longer after by a steep down (or visa versa). So after walking uphill to the small village of Buckland Brewer I was relieved to see the welcome letters PH on my ordnance survey map.
Remembering this was a Monday and this village was particularly small, I didn’t want to get my hopes up as often pubs can be closed early in the week, especially at lunchtime. But thankfully the Coach and Horses was open, quite busy too, so I ordered both a lime & soda and a coffee. And whilst chatting to the landlord Oliver, it turns out his daughter was in Nepal during the Earthquake so he obviously took a keen interest in what I was doing, and shared a local news piece online which had been written by his daughter after her return from Kathmandu. Such a random connection in such a small tucked away place… and thank you Oliver for the drinks on the house 👍
With one more stop at a local village store to grab some snacks, the rest of the day I continued to zig zag my way further south and west through the lovely English countryside. I only stepped back onto the A39 just shy of Kilkhampton in order for John to pick me up. A good days walking was then topped off with a home cooked meal in the Peel family kitchen.