Crediton to Tiverton
The Taw Vale B & B was a lovely place, set in a grandiose building with nice high ceilings and a lot of the original features still in place, including the bell rings in the rooms. I never tried them though.
Once I’d had a bit of a rest and phoned the girls I thought I’d better catch up with a bit of washing up and it was then that I realised that I’d left the antibacterial soap I’d been using to wash my clothes in two stops back…doh! Not good. With nothing else to hand I had to use the Pearl soap bar supplied at the B & B which did an ok job but I must remember to pick up a new bar of the antibacterial stuff at the next big shop I come across.
Hungry and exhausted I put my boots back on and dragged myself up the hill to the Chinese restaurant for some dinner, and very nice it was too.
Stomach full and feeling quite tired I made my way back to my room. Half way down the hill I felt a little strange so I picked up the pace to get back and rushed to the toilet. I won’t go in to the details but let’s just say it wasn’t very pleasant!
I’d been feeling a bit off all day and wondered if I was really ok or not. Maybe that’s what made the walk extra hard yesterday? Fortunately I had some tablets in my first aid kit so I took a couple hoping they’d kick in quickly. A few hours, and a few trips to the loo later, I drifted off in to sleep, managing to catch a good six and a half hours.
I’ve had this before when I’ve been completely run down and exhausted so I guess losing that night’s sleep really did hit me worse than I thought it had?
As morning broke I lay there in bed feeling ok but tired and contemplating whether a day’s walking would be a good idea or not. Maybe asking to see if the room was available for another night so I could rest up a little longer after the illness the night before would be a good idea?
At 7:30am I dragged myself out of bed and decided that I’d hit the road and make my way to Tiverton. Only time would tell if that was a brave or foolhardy decision to make.
I struggled through breakfast, worried that if I ate too much breakfast I could have a repeat of the night before’s toilet problems so I had a small bowl of fruit, only picked at the full English and had a piece of toast, hoping that that would be enough to get me through the almost fifteen miles that lay ahead for the day.
Over breakfast I had a lovely chat with a lady who was over from Australia visiting friends and family. She used to live over here and was back for a couple of months touring round visiting everyone. She was full of loads of advice about my cold, energy levels etc. bless her.
With time pushing on I sorted myself out, settled up and said goodbye to the Taw Vale and Crediton.
One thing I’m fast beginning to get used to, by which I mean having to put up with, is the fact that nearly every day’s walk starts with a hulking great big hill. Today’s walk was no different
as the hill out the other side of Crediton seemed to just go on and on, and with the sun beginning to get quite warm it was a difficult start to the day.
Three miles in to the walk I made my way in to Thorverton. By this time I was beginning to heat up quite badly so I decided to take a break to air my feet and take the bottoms off my trousers; this was shorts weather!
As I sat there some children from the local school were trying to catch fish/frogs/anything from the stream that ran through the village. The enthusiasm of the little five or six year olds was amazing. Couldn’t help but sit there and smile.
Rested, emails and texts sent, I put my boots back on and promptly set off…in the wrong direction! Fortunately I realised before getting too far and I can only hope that nobody noticed me; how embarrassing?!
Shortly after leaving Thorverton I came face to face with some of the biggest hills I’d seen yet. These were huge! What made it worse was the fact that every time I made it to the top of one, I could see that the next one was bigger and steeper. These were energy zapping and in the heat I really did struggle…but I made it. The view from the top of the biggest hill was stunning but I’m not sure that it really made up for all the effort if I’m totally honest.
With all the effort of the hills and the sun bearing down, my feet and I started to hit a bit of a wall around the ten mile mark. The small amount of breakfast I’d managed to eat this morning was beginning to run out, but I was still a little scared to eat too much. I looked at the map which showed me that there was a pub just up the road in Bickleigh so I promised myself that I’d stop there for a rest to make the final four miles a little easier, hopefully.
Struggling up the road to Bickleigh I went past Bickleigh Castle. It wasn’t exactly very big but it was a very nice building indeed.
The Fisherman’s Cot in Bickleigh was a lovely pub. It was right on the river Exe where the bridge crosses – a stunning location for sure. Upon entering and walking up to the bar, the rather lovely looking barmaid asked where I’d walked from. A conversation then ensued about today’s walk and the final end target and how she did quite a lot of walking too – maybe I should have asked her to join me for the rest of the journey?! It was great to finally talk to someone as the rest of the walk had been pretty much devoid of anyone, even someone just to say “hello” to.
Orange juice and lemonade and a packet of crisps ordered, I retired to a seat and took my boots off for a bit. Never have I enjoyed a drink and a snack as much as I enjoyed those!
Rested and ready to make a final push to Tiverton, aware that time was moving on, I put my boots on and made a move to put my pack on. The couple on the table next to me started to ask what I was doing and a conversation I’ve now had more times than I care to mention ensued. He laughed when I told him I’d walked over all the hills from Thorverton; he said he struggled up them in his tractor!
While I was talking to the couple about the route and how far I’d made it already, the barmaid came over and said that the pub manager had overheard that I was doing my walk for charity and had offered me a free sandwich to take with me on my final stretch. How nice is that?! I graciously accepted the offer and asked for a ham and mustard sandwich.
Sandwich safely put in my pack I said my goodbyes and hit the road again, determined to get to Tiverton in a good time.
The final section of the walk was along the Exe Valley Way which took me through woods and along the river Exe in to Tiverton. It was lovely to get off the roads for the first time today but my feet had taken a bit of a pounding up to that point and the uneven, root strewn paths made the final miles quite tough.
After what felt like a very long day I finally made my way in to Tiverton around 4:30pm. I say that it felt like a long day but it wasn’t really. I hadn’t left until late compared to recent days and I’d actually spent quite some time in the pub and rest stops along the way. That said, my feet were really beginning to hurt now and all I could think about was getting to the hotel and soaking in a nice hot bath…and that’s exactly what I did.
I took all the plasters off my various blisters to give my feet a really good clean and it was then that realised that I was about to lose the nail on my little toe, the one that’s been giving me trouble since day one. I’ve never lost a nail before so I’m not sure what this is going to be like, it growing back throughout the rest of the walk. It’s not come off yet but I don’t think it’s going to be long! Fingers crossed it doesn’t cause too many problems over the coming days. Two days and then it’s rest day – woo hoo!
As far as the other blisters go, all but one has burst, the remaining one being the massive one on my left heel. They’ve not really been a problem over the last few days, it’s been more pain through the constant pounding on the roads and the aches and pains in the soles that’s been the real problem.
All in all it was a good walk today, regardless of the fact that I struggled a bit again. I’m hoping that I get a good night’s rest and tomorrow’s twelve miles go a little easier than the previous two day’s walks. I’ve got a room sorted out already so that’s something I’ve not got to worry about along the way.
To be honest, when I arrived at the Best Western hotel in Tiverton this afternoon, I asked them if they had a room for the next two nights, intending on taking an early day off. Unfortunately they only had a room for one night available so walking it will be tomorrow.