Walk completed August 28, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 15. Wednesday, June 15, 2011 -- Westward Ho! to Barnstaple

Today’s walk followed some country roads to join the SWCP north of Bideford. At Bideford, the SWCP joined the Tarka Trail – a former railroad bed turned into a cycle way. The Tarka Trail is a monotonous trudge on a paved surface. Were it not for the people I met along the trail, boring would have been the word for the day.

Anne and John
On the way to Bideford, I encountered Ann and John on the trail. They are from Nottingham, but I resisted making comments about the sheriff and Robin Hood, as I’m sure they’ve heard them all.

Sandra and John
From Bideford to Instow I walked with Sandra and John, presently from Gloucestershire. They used to run a B&B in the Cotswolds. That seems to be the destination for American tour groups, so of course I barraged them with questions about their experiences. The time went fast for me, though Sandra and John were probably relieved when we arrived in Instow and they could duck into a restaurant.

Footbridge at Rock Park, Barnstaple
I arrived in Barnstaple at 6:00. Barnstaple is a surprisingly large city, with a few high-rise buildings. The B&B I’m staying in is a lovely restored home, in an area surrounded by large estates. That being the case, the nearest commercial area for dinner was about a mile walk away, and the one establishment other than take-away was closed. Fortunately, I had a big lunch in Instow, so didn’t miss not having dinner. I’ve found that two meals a day is fully adequate, even with all the walking.

The Tarka Trail marked the end of the SWCP for me, and I will be getting a change of scenery. For those who keep track of such things, in two weeks of walking, I’ve covered about 195 miles with about 33,000 feet of total elevation gain. There’s still a long way to go.

© 2011 Ken Klug

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