As we had managed to cover around 20 miles yesterday we were now left with a comfortable five mile bimble down the Brendon Valley, so we had no intention of rushing out before the last piece of toast had been consumed and the coffee jug emptied to the last drop. But finally the time came - and by now the sun had come out - so we set off across the bridge and down the ineffably beautiful Brendon Valley.
|Somewhere en route to Watersmeet|
Although we had only walked a couple of miles since breakfast we were taking it easy today and so stopped for yet another cup of coffee. The small birds hereabouts know which side their bread, scones and cake is buttered and the garden was full of chaffinches, blue-tits and robins who variously took it in turns to work up the courage to land on the tables and collect the copious crumbs we put out for them.
|Checking the route|
|And a confident robin|
Thirty four people died and four hundred and twenty lost their homes that night. My parents, keen cyclists at the time, had stopped at Lynmouth the night before on their way down from Bristol to my grandparents house at Bideford and I can't help but wonder what might have happened to them had they happened to have set out a day later on their ride. It might have changed my history - perhaps I would not have been sitting here writing this now.
Emerging into Lynmouth it is easy to see how the village warned the epithet "The English Switzerland". The name was coined by Robert Southey who visited here in 1799. At the time Europe was out of bounds due to the Napoleonic Wars and so, deprived of the Grand Tour, people were forced to holiday at home. Lynmouth, to its credit, quickly caught on the economic potential and soon Swiss style hotels and villas were popping up all over the hills. It has been used in local marketing and tourist literature ever since. Well done Southey!
For us it was journey's end of our four day sojourn in the land of poets. Although we had maybe cheated a little at the end due to Mick's fear of heights, we reckoned we had done enough of the Coleridge Way to justify claiming our certificates and so we headed for the Exmoor Park Visitor centre . We proudly informed the nice woman at the desk that we had just completed the walk and she obligingly completed two certificates with our names to record the fact we had walked the route. We badgered another member of staff to take our picture before strolling back to the car, stopping on route for a celebratory bag of chips.
Four days, 51 miles (plus a couple of erroneous ones), three nights free accommodation, one B&B, a respectable number of pints of beer (c.15?) and a certificate! All-in-all a thoroughly enjoyable and successful Easter Weekend Jaunt.
|Collecting our certificates for completing the Coleridge Way|