Even though the weather was changeable that night with the blustery wind and rain, I slept reasonably well and woke refreshed ready for, as it turned out to be, the longest day of the trip.
It was a good start at 7am and I meandered my way along charming narrow paths, fascinating high walled tracks and through woodland to the outskirts of Chagford. I was going to head into the village for some breakfast, but then thought I needed to crack on to get on through this cultivated section as quickly as possible so continued along the track. As luck would have it I found myself wandering along a lovely riverside walk when I was sure I could smell bacon.
This started to play with my mind somewhat, however all was revealed when I came to cross the main road at the bridge and on the opposite side of the river was the very up market Mill End Hotel and Restaurant. It had just gone 10, but I thought ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ and so I stuck my head around the door and asked the lady ‘is it too late for breakfast?’ Sadly it was, however she ignored my clothes, invited me into the lounge, produced a cup of tea and then told me I could help myself to the breakfast buffet! Fresh fruit, yoghurt and muesli. Luxury, I had struck gold. I took the opportunity to charge the phone and use the facilities and almost an hour later I emerged, fully refreshed in every way. All for a few pounds. Brilliant.
The next charming surprise came when I arrived at the beautiful village of Drewsteignton. A cluster of thatched cottages, pubs, accommodation with the all important village shop and Post Office. Here I topped up with munchies, pasties and cake. Today was turning out to be a good day. There was also a beer festival looming this weekend which I’m sure would have been glorious, but time waits for no man.
From here the path became a typical cross country walk. Across field after field, over styles, through farmyards and down the occasional road. No one to speak to, even at the farms, and so I just continued on. Some the farms were obviously contract farmers. Huge operations, but once again no one in sight.
Finally the evening started to draw in and I was getting very tired. I have completed 34km or 21 miles as I crawled into Morchard Rd, desperately hoping to find somewhere to camp. The Devonshire Dumpling came to my rescue! A delightful cheery pub with a warm landlord, who within the hour had me fed, watered and pointed in the direction of the local basic campsite. A field with a portaloo and a tap, next to a coarse fishing pond. I didn’t care, to be honest.
It had been a great days walking. I had feasted like a king, been charmed by my surroundings and marveled at some of the properties and secret little green roads and paths I had been lucky enough to wander along.
The noisy traffic on the nearby crossroad was no competition for my tired limbs. Once again I slept well.