Raining again and I would easily be persuaded to stay in the van. Chris however is cracking the whip and we set off in the car for Blackpool Sands. It turns out that this is the right choice as, despite thick mist on our drive, we accomplish most of our walk before the drizzle begins and at last we have reached the River Dart. This is a very pleasant stretch and we chat to a man erecting signposts to help us on our way. When the rain starts there is the usual dilemma – when to put on the plastic coat that normally results in one being wetter inside than out. The possible drawback with today’s plan is that we have decided to get a bus back to the car at the end of the walk. The 93 bus only runs once an hour. As we approach Dartmouth we have twenty minutes to cover the last mile and find the bus stop. At this stage in the walk, this is pushing it. The alternative to is wait in the rain for an hour. After a morning’s walk we are not in a fit state to mingle too closely with the public, so don’t relish an hour of being outside in a rainy Dartmouth. The 93 bus leaves at 12.20. At 12.19 and 50 seconds I spot the 93 bus in the distance. I can confirm that I am still capable of running for a bus at the end of a 5 mile walk. Chris, who has done something dire to his hip whilst crossing a stile, has more of a problem. I am all set to refuse to leave the bus until Chris arrives. As I have no money on me, I am banking on the row about my non-payment of the fare lasting long enough for him to reach the bus. In the event, this is unnecessary as the driver is bent on finishing his coffee before departing.
The combination of the sat-nav and a diversion takes us back to the site on a series of single lane roads. As we wend our way up and down, the car makes a strange noise. Chris is of the opinion that this has something to do with the brakes. I am no mechanic but surely brakes are pretty vital, especially in the hills of the South Hams. I hardly dare ask if we do still have any brakes. Fortunately we are nearly back at the van and there is a garage just up the road. I am deposited at the site to shower and eat chocolate (what else does one do after what for us is a reasonably long walk?) whilst Chris goes to chat brakes, or the lack of the same, at the garage.
Chris is soon back in a courtesy car and the brakes are fixed overnight. Today is another day when ‘occasional showers’ are forecast. Not that occasional I am afraid. We begin the day by visiting Colyton Fishacre. An arts and crafts house designed by Oswald Milne in the 1920s, after the style of Lutyens. The original owners were the D’Oyley Carte family, of opera and hotel chain fame. They seem to have led rather unhappy lives amongst the bright young things. When the National Trust took over the house it was almost empty and they have gone to an enormous amount of trouble to recreate the interior as it would have been. I was impressed with the light fittings and the Sylvac flower vases in the flower room. Oh to have a house big enough for a flower room!
We begin our walk from Colyton Fishacre, having cleared it with the parking man that it is ok to leave the car there. Ten minutes later it starts to rain. We wait five minutes to see if it might be a passing shower, by which time I am soaked to the skin and in no mood for the next five miles. We paddle back to the car park and attempt to sneak past the car park attendant, so we don’t lose face. Fortunately he seems to have gone for his lunch. I then have to strip off rather more of my clothes than is decent in the car park to minimise the impact of my rain soaked attire on the car seat. I am already sitting on the cover that is supposed to keep the rucksack dry. Not actually sure I am the same size as a rucksack.
If this is ‘occasional showers’ what on earth will ‘torrential rain and severe storms’ be like to tomorrow. We know when we are beaten and head home to catch up on all the historical excitements that have been building up in my inbox whilst I have been away.