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Pretty and pleasant

We took a short trip to Devon over the weekend.

We left London just before six on Friday evening and arrived just after eleven in the village of Sticklepath in Dartmoor.

We had planned that Saturday would be for hiking and Sunday would be spent on the beach.

That we did and it was perfect.

Ignacio and his friend are quite the outdoors type. So between them, they directed the way on this hike around North Bovey. It turns out that our host works with the search and rescue team in Dartmoor, so it was nice to get her approval for the hike that Ignacio had planned. She had initially worried that we were going to walk on the more wild and barren part of Dartmoor. She told us that there had already been three deaths this year on the moors, due to exposure and people being out unprepared. However, no fear, we were going on a pleasant and pretty little hike.

It was pleasant and pretty.

I developed some pain in my right hip halfway through the hike. Maybe I pulled a muscle. It was very uncomfortable. I’m quite stubborn though so I insisted on carrying on. Maybe I was foolish, but with the help of a walking pole, and Ignacio carrying my backpack for parts of the journey, I made it. I found the pain completely disappeared when I stopped walking or when I was walking downhill or curiously when our friend’s new partner was talking to me. Maybe she had a soothing voice, I don’t know, but it helped. It also helped to sing, there were times when the pain felt so bad I almost cried but I found that singing to myself helped. I mean, perhaps being placed on a stretcher and being carried back to the house might have been a better idea but I was adamant that I ‘didn’t want to cause a fuss’. Seems foolish now.

After the trip, I looked up – Wikipedia, what these structures, tors were A tor, which is also known by geomorphologists as either a castle koppie or kopje, is a large, free-standing rockoutcrop that rises abruptly from the surrounding smooth and gentle slopes of a rounded hill summit or ridge crest. In the South West of England, the term is commonly also used for the hills themselves – particularly the high points of Dartmoor in Devon and Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. Yes…

So, my watch ran out of power partway through the hike. I think by this point we had completed just under seven miles.

When we returned back to the comfy place we were staying at, we all took much needed showers and got ready to go out for an evening meal. We had, as advised booked ahead at a local pub, the Kings Arms. It seemed nice and friendly enough. We took the option to sit inside and then spent the next few hours eating and chatting away about all things from the sublime to the ridiculous. I ordered a gammon steak for the first time in my life. I was told by my companions that it was just like a big piece of bacon. Maybe, in terms of the saltiness! It was accompanied by a fried egg, chips and peas. I was happy with my choice and there was for once , no food envy. I was the only one who ordered dessert but I had a craving for something hot and sweet and the apple and cinnamon crumble met that need perfectly.

When we got back ‘home’ I was exhausted but happy. I slept well for the first time in a long time.

The next morning we were up early again. We took advice from our host on which beaches to explore. Because two of our group wanted to go surfing she suggested we headed to the north of Devon. The options were Saunton , likely to be busy, Croyde less busy and a third option that I cannot recall now. Saunton was indeed busy, we could not stop to park. The next stop Croyde was just starting to fill up but there was space for us

The view from the carpark

The plan for the beach for Ignacio and I was pretty simple. Lie in the sun, snooze, daydream and perhaps do some reading. We aced these goals. When we first arrived. I took a short walk to the water’s edge. I just wanted to revel in feel of the sand beneath my toes and the cold water running over my feet. I was very nice and I was very happy.

I spend the rest of the time intermittently staring at the sky, marvelling at the scenary or lost in the pages of my current book.

Then all too soon it was over. We started our journey back to London just after three pm and after a few stops, something eat, dropping off our companions, we arrived at our home just after nine pm.

I feel rather contented. It was such a lovely weekend. I have not laughed so much and had such fun for some time.

This year has been challenging, for all. Slowly, slowly were are able to meet with family and friends in a planned and considered manner and it is worth it. This weekend has restored my soul a little, that has, like that of many others, become a bit weary, tired and jaded this year.

We do not have any firm plans for the next two weeks. Depends on what the latest round of restrictions brings but, watch this space!

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