I need to occupy myself during what is meant to be my holiday, whilst hsf is performing. The production team are scoring highly for food provision but low on verisimilitude. Hsf is a little disgruntled because the characters are wearing modern clothes but nineteenth century cork lifejackets. There is a Devon History Forum meeting in Exeter – mmm Exeter – takes some organising this. Plan B was put in to place, which involved me driving to Tavistock and scrounging a lift to Exeter from there. It also meant that I had to leave home very early, before daylight. I haven’t driven the new-to-me car in the dark before. I manage to locate the lights. I have a little more trouble with the CD player, which worked last time I tried it. Once I’d actually turned it on it was fine. Great to have Fishemen’s Friends’ rousing sea shanties to accompany me across Dartmoor, just in time to see a glorious misty early autumn sunrise.
The History Forum included a presentation from graphic designers who create touch screen and static interpretation boards. We also heard about a great oral history project, centred on Dunkeswell memories from the Second World War. These networking sessions are always useful, just a shame that there weren’t more groups participating in the day. On the way home, sunset across Dartmoor this time, I discover that my new-to-me car appears to lack any reversing lights. On narrow Devon lanes, with a larger than usual number of people coming the other way who have no reverse gear at all, this is a touch problematical.
Two full days of filming for hsf over and at last, we can head for south Devon, to try and get a little further along to south-west coastal path. We leave late and encounter mist and diversions. One of these diversions takes us up a road that is narrower than the caravan. A bit of judicious reversing is required.
In the interests of global warming and my sanity, we have left my car at home. Owing to a distinct lack of public transport, trying to accomplish this week’s walks with just one car requires an unsatisfactory amount of having to walk stretches of the coastal path in both directions. Diversions seem to be somewhat of a theme, as our first walk consists entirely of a diversion, due to a cliff fall. The diversion takes us a very long way round, inland. Not only do we have much further to walk but there isn’t even any coast! Added to that, a farmer has, he claims legally, diverted a bridle way, meaning that what should have been a walk of a couple of hundred yards becomes at least three times that. After walking for seven miles we are now three miles nearer to final our destination in Poole.
The next day, we park at Hallsands to walk from Lannacombe to Hallsands. Another annoying stretch where we have to walk there in order to walk back. A stiff breeze as we walk along the rugged coastline. A few more fellow walkers on this stretch. Hallsands has an interesting history. The fishing village was sold off, primarily to the tenants, when the owner died in 1857. In the 1890s dredging for shingle commenced nearby, in order to provide raw materials for development at Devonport dockyard. Total disregard for the impact that this was having on the tides, meant that storms had a dire effect on the community at Hallsands, which was lost to the sea in 1917. Quite an achievement to think we have now covered 462 miles of this wonderful coast, in the right order, without missing any bits. It has taken us ten years though.