LETJOG – Day 7: Monday 24 May – HORNS CROSS to BARNSTAPLE (18 miles)
I’m not normally one to complain, but I mean really, come on!!
Granted, the Atlantic’s a big ocean, but there must surely be some limit as to the amount of water that can be wrought upon these southwest counties by the prevailing westerlies! Us walkers are used to rain, and a little precipitation here and there can bring cool refreshment and some sort of welcome tonic through renewed connection with the outdoors. But none of that ‘back to nature’ business really cuts the mustard after the best part of a week of getting soaked! My main gripe though is that ‘they’ promised me an end to the rain on Sunday evening, and some sun today. But it was not to be!
So, to complete my first week, a slightly shorter, and flatter, walk than the other sections of recent days, punctuated throughout by numerous rain showers of varying intensity and trajectory. Whilst the waterproofs never came off, today was genuinely a lovely walking day – first on country lanes down the Yeo valley, shrouded in the verdant and glistening light greens of abundant spring growth, before a dozen or so miles on the Tarka Trail, first over the estuarine Torridge, then past Bideford and Instow, before arcing eastwards along the tidal reaches of the River Taw and into Barnstaple. Some wonderful, if wet, views throughout.
The breweries, once more today, must have seen me coming. No reply from Clearwater Brewery in East-The-Water, so I decided not to deviate off the path on the off-chance, whilst Barum Brewery in Barnstaple was closed when I visited at the end of the walking day. I contented myself instead with an evening visit to the excellent Latitude 48 ‘Alehouse and Eatery’ for a beef chilli nachos supper, cooled by a Neckstamper’s ‘Little Mizzle’ IPA, all the way from Walthamstow. (NB latitude 48, is heralded here as the perfect parallel for growing hops, though Kent growers, at around 51 degrees north, may not concur)!
And finally for today, a shout-out to Mark at The Rolle Quay Inn, where I am staying tonight, for supporting LETJOG, and Mind in particular. Much appreciated my friend, thank you!