Walk completed August 28, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 18, Saturday, June 18, 2011 Simonsbath to Roadwater

Today was a long day – 19 miles, but it wasn’t the distance that made the day long. The route was very poorly signed. Often the way-marked route merged with sheep trails heading off in every direction. In order to stay on route, I had to constantly check the map, which for me involves not only stopping and scanning the horizon for landmarks (of which there are few in Exmoor), but also putting on my reading glasses to find those landmarks on the map. Occasionally I would double check my conclusions with the GPS, and I found I was off route only twice.

That, coupled with the cold, rainy weather, turned the walk into a 10½ hour ordeal. I left Simonsbath at 10:00 and didn’t arrive in Roadwater until 8:30. I wasn’t particularly tired, but my feet were feeling the effects of standing all day. At Roadwater, I had dinner in the pub, and then finally pulled into the B&B at 9:30.

In Exmoor I saw a herd of deer. (I think they are red deer, but I’ll have to ask a local to be sure.) Unfortunately, they also saw me, and ran before I dared take my camera out in the rain.

I was also harassed by a group of 20 cattle. When they saw me coming, they moved as a group to block the trail. I felt as if I were walking through a ghetto where I was not welcome. But I wasn’t to be intimidated. I gave my best cowboy “Ye-haw” while waving my arms, but they just stared back. I guess they knew I wasn’t a cowboy because my hat was in my pack (I had my hood up for the rain, and cowboys don’t wear hoods), and I wasn’t wearing a big, silver belt buckle. I needed another plan. Holding my hiking sticks like a picador, I approached them with an “Ole, toro.” I don’t think they were actually toros, but they probably liked the compliment, and parted from the trail as if I were Moses parting the sea. (Don’t you just love the mixed similes?)

Jane and John
Why is he smiling?
I didn’t see another creature the entire day until about 3:00 when I came upon an English couple preparing to go for a walk. Sure, the rain had finally stopped, but it was still an awful day. We took pictures of each other to prove that there were at least three crazy people out today.

Jenny on Ebony
Not 15 minutes later, I came upon Jenny and her pony Ebony. When I questioned the name, she told me that Ebony was born with black hair which later turned white. For some reason, I doubt that it was bleached by the sun.

© 2011 Ken Klug

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