Day 9

on May 16, 2010 | 11 comments

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Whiddon Down to Crediton

You would have thought that being so tired after not much sleep the night before I would have just dropped off straight away last night wouldn’t you? Nope, not at all. I ended up sitting all the way through Top Gun on telly – rather bad reception and it was pretty much the best channel out of the limited selection available – and then put my iPod on and listened to an entire album before taking that off and desperately trying to sleep.

I awoke around 6:30am, tired and feeling pretty rough. The lack of sleep from the previous night was really hitting home now and my cold had decided to take a turn for the worse. Not a good start to the day.

Knowing that I had a shorter walk today I didn’t bother to rush and get up and lay there trying to relax a bit longer until about 8am. The weather on BBC news said it was going to be wet today so I got my waterproofs out and got myself ready for the day’s walk.

You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to get ready this morning. I wasn’t moving very quickly and I was a bit wheezy with the cold as well, which was a bit of a concern knowing that I was about to spend the day in the rain.

I finally checked out (i.e. dropped the key in the box on reception), popped to the garage shop and was on my way at 9:20am; I told you it took me a while to get going this morning didn’t I?

After the last couple of days, today’s walk was a bit of a change, in fact it reminded me of so many of the miles I walked through Cornwall. Gone were the moors or lush woodland for today was spent pretty much entirely on one long country lane. If that wasn’t bad enough it again suffered with high hedgerows, meaning there wasn’t much to look at to keep the mind active. To say it was a bit on the boring side would be an understatement!

After walking for 40 minutes a signpost told me that Crediton, my intended destination for the day, was only eight miles away. The very next signpost, a mere 3 minutes up the road, then told me that Crediton was eight and a half miles away! I think from now on I’m going to completely ignore the mileage signposts have written on them as clearly they can’t be trusted in any way, shape or form!

A few miles in I had a lovely chat with my surrogate mum, Val, hearing all about their week away in Ireland and trying to convince her that I was indeed looking after myself. To say that she’s proud of what I’m attempting, and how far I’ve managed to get so far, would be an understatement! It was great to speak to her and it certainly made the mile or so I covered as we talked a lot more enjoyable, especially as it had started to rain by this point.

Conversation over I was determined to make good time to Crediton and give myself the afternoon off to rest up for a bit. Unfortunately pretty much everything conspired against me today. This should have been an easy walk, the shortest so far by half a mile, but it turned out to be completely exhausting both mentally and physically.

As I’ve already said, the route today was pretty boring. I think I passed one person on the way to Crediton and only had to dodge a dozen cars or so. Mentally this made the miles seem so much longer than they were. The route just seemed to go on and on and on. Not good. I would have put my iPod on to liven the day up but then I would have been putting myself at risk as the road was just wide enough for a car to pass without being too dangerous.

Physically, the lack of sleep finally caught up with me in a big way today. I really could have just spent the day in bed or sat with my feet up, but, I struggled on. If that wasn’t bad enough my right foot started to give me some trouble about half way through – left foot yesterday, right foot today…what’s going on?! It started with my little toe again causing me pain, something it hasn’t done for a few days now, and then my heel decided to join in too. I was not happy!

As I went through Yeoford, a very small village, I was so tempted to stop in the pub for a bit but as I was only three and half miles from Crediton I decided not to bother. I struggled on for another mile or so when the pain in my heel got too much. I stopped by a gate to a field, dropped the pack, hoisted myself on to the gate to take the weight off and ate a sausage roll. At that point I wasn’t sure I’d actually make the final couple of miles, which was a worry.

After eating and having some Lucozade – I packed a bottle knowing that I was so run down this morning – I had some Panadol hoping it would dull the pain, sorted out one of my walking poles and went for a sprint finish to Crediton.

The Panadol and the pole seemed to do the job with the heel pain and I made a reasonable time over the final couple of miles. The only problem was hills. There were two very big ones on the way in to Crediton and I had to dig pretty deep to find the energy to get up them.

As I made my way through the outskirts of Crediton I’d still not sorted out a bed for the night. A little bit up the road I noticed a B & B that had vacancies. This was a little way from the high street so I thought I’d chance my luck and try and find somewhere closer to food this evening. Worst case, I could always walk back and get a bed there for the night.

Half way down the high street, and now desperate to take the weight off my poor feet, I came across a Wetherspoon pub. It didn’t say if they did rooms or not but for now it would do for a rest, a beer or two and maybe a bite to eat.

I spent a couple of hours in the pub, writing up today’s posting and catching up with the news. I also managed to sort out a bed for the night at the Taw Vale B & B, just off the high street by the station – about a 15 minute walk away. When I spoke to the lady on the phone and mentioned I’d walked from Whiddon Down today she immediately guessed I was on the end to end walk. I guess she gets a few people stop off on the way?

This should have been such an easy day compared to some of the previous days but for one reason or another it actually turned out to be a very difficult, exhausting day. I can only hope that with a good night’s rest tonight I’ll be up for tomorrow’s 14 miles. We’ll see.

Photos and Route Details

If you want to find out more about this day you can see the photos I took or view the route details.


  1. Matt

    May 16, 2010

    Yes it should have been an easier day bruv but hey things dont always turn out as you would expect, just keep positive and get a good well earned rest tonight!

    Hope the Weatherspoons is better than the one we went into in Penzance!! cos that was shite!!

    • Darren

      May 16, 2010

      In my room at the moment with a bit of a dodgy BT Openzone connection. Shame as I would try a video call with the girls again but it’s in and out like nobody’s business!

      The Wetherspoon was considerably better than the one in Penzance and the panini I had was actually ok, but then there’s not a lot you can do to a panini to ruin is there?!

      I’m aiming on walking up the hill – yes, another one! – to go to a Chinese restaurant tonight once I’ve spoken to the girls. Then I’ll be settling down for the evening and hopefully catching up with some sleep!!

  2. Matt

    May 16, 2010

    sounds like a plan bruv. oh I meant to say I cant believe its now 9 days in as it only seems like yesterday I dropped you off at Lands End!!

    • Darren

      May 16, 2010

      I totally know what you mean, but actually it’s 10 days as I’ve had a day off as well as the 9 days walking! Where the hell has that gone to?! Surprised I’m still going to be honest 🙂

  3. Ian

    May 17, 2010

    Sure you’ll battle on to the end cuz – everything else will seem easy by comparison at the end I’m sure. Stroll on !!

    • Darren

      May 17, 2010

      Thanks Ian, I hope you’re right. Today was a tough one again as my feet are really feeling the constant pounding on the roads now. It’s the aching of the soles that’s getting to me, not the blisters funnily enough.

      • Ian

        May 17, 2010

        I know what you mean – are your shins bearing up ? I remember getting sore shins when I did a lot of walking. Can you get any cushion in-soles or cut some kind of doughnut ring to sit round the heel – take the pressure off ??? Just a thought.

  4. Hag

    May 17, 2010

    We’ve just arrived back in Ayr from Gravesend, bloody long drive i can tell you and have now caught up on all the posts i have been unfortunate enough to miss whilst i have been away over the weekend, i now count myself lucky i only had to encounter A-Holes on the road rather than in the hotel we were staying at and i count myself lucky i had a car instead of walking it. Even at your worst times just keep in mind two things, “whatever where ever, whenever” and even to your friends your trials and tribulations on this walk humble us all because of what you are going through and accomplishment at the end of it all. chin up dude, you are always in our thoughts.

    • Darren

      May 17, 2010

      Thanks mate. Feeling a little worn out at the moment for reasons to be made clear in today’s update.

      I trust you had a good time down in Gravesend? Wish I could have gone but unfortunately not.

  5. Hag

    May 17, 2010

    It was brilliant and only marred by your absence, i was considering through the evening phoning you so you could talk to Rob and Briony but i wasn’t sure A. if you would be awake B. If you were able to get a signal on your phone, apologies if all of the above were misplaced i did feel quite bad about it, got to meet and greet Andy again though and met Marina, who is lovely although short (she said that not me lol).

    • Darren

      May 17, 2010

      No worries about not phoning. I would have had a signal but I’ll catch up with Rob and Briony once I’ve finished. Jay and Rob keep on threatening to meet up with me somewhere along the line so I’ll buy the beer that night to celebrate!

      I trust Andy was his usual hilarious self? Marina’s great…but short indeed! 😉