Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Walk to Dunscombe

Another good walk which is very close to the edge of the cliffs in places is the walk to Dunscombe, just up the road from Salcombe. Most of this walk is nice and flat and the large hills can be avoided mostly, if you don't enjoy walking up large hills.

It is quite busy up here as again it is part of the South West Coast path and I meet many people along the route. There are a lot of rare butterflies and it is good to see the butterfly hunters armed with expensive cameras these days instead of the nets of old. I also saw a very bright bird with a yellow head and a red body, not a goldfinch although we had three of those in our garden for twenty five minutes the other day, eating seeds from the plants, a rare sight here.

There is some fine ancient earthworking on the edge of Dunscombe cliffs, not even marked on the maps, but some beautiful serpentine shapes covered in lovely long grass. I always dislike the fact that when you visit an old site in the UK they are always titivated and tidied to take all the romance out of the place and turn them into a site for cream teas and giftshops. The English seem obsessed with cutting grass and turning the country into a manicured lawn. I will go back and photograph some of these workings for you at a later date.

It is intensely hot here at the moment which is odd for the middle of summer, as usually it is raining and chilly about this time of year, we almost don't know what to do with it but we enjoy it as much as possible as we know that it is all too brief.

A large storm is coming across from the west and I think it wise to head for home. I hear the sound of approaching thunder from where I am in the woods and make it home just as the first raindrops start to fall, good timing for once.

Tragic though Michael Jacksons death surely is, on the plus side it has pushed Iran out of the news here as much as is possible and so hopefully buys them a bit of time. People here don't give a shit about Iran and the election but we are having it shoved down our throats in the news everyday, Iran is evil blah blah, doesn't it remind anybody of anything? People have really short memories here, they do however care about Michael Jackson, so good on you Michael.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Walk to Ladram Bay

I am now able to walk further across the local countryside due to the arrival of the free Sidmouth Hopper bus again, which takes passengers up Peak Hill and Salcombe Hill free of charge. What a marvellous service. This means that instead of wearing myself out on the first hill out of town I can now wear myself out on further hills, giving me more wandering scope and pottering possibilities.

My first walk this year using the hopper service was a nice easy walk to Ladram Bay which is a walk that I do anyway but is made easier with the bus service. This walk is on the South West Coast Path so it is a main walking route for people walking around the coast and so is busier than places that I usually walk to.

With the weather being unpredictable in England I was glad that I took a hat with me as I was soon walking in a very strong cold wind across the appropriately named Windgate from where you can see a large portion of Devon. There are lots of charmingly named villages and hamlets around here such as North Star which is just down the road to Otterton and a place that would be lovely to have as an address.

As I love meandering I sidetrack myself down this old route between Otterton and Sidmouth which was walked daily by the Otterton monks until the dissolution of the monasteries.

Higher Peak is the site of an ancient hill fort and its top was uncovered by trees until about seventy years ago. I think it would be better without trees here as the view would be fantastic and the trees that are planted here are just bog standard conifers that seem to be there just to spoil the view. Higher Peak is an odd place. Usually I feel very comfortable in all the woods around here but Higher Peak always gives me a slightly sinister atmosphere , as if those trees are hiding something unpleasant. It could just be the strange sensation of walking through a quiet wood and suddenly being confronted with a 500 foot drop. It certainly gives me the willies.

Ladram Bay has some nice stacks of Jurassic rock though the walk ends in a large caravan park which though is lovely for holiday makers is a bit of a let down for me as the shop there sells almost no vegetarian food at all. Really I should make my own sandwiches but I like to treat myself with a nice pasty if I can find one. Ladram Bay has none to offer unfortuneatly and I am again left wondering why the UK hates vegetarians so much. In pubs here you get the traditional Sunday roast, most of which is actually vegetarian but pubs will almost never let you have a vegetarian Sunday roast as cooking you a vege burger or nut roast is too difficult for them, insisting instead that you must have a lasagne. The trouble is that I wanted to give up eating meat, not become an Italian, however lovely they are.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

summer again

The sun, like the sea, is at its most dangerous just when you forget how dangerous it is. An unexpected sunny spell has arrived here and it is suddenly around 25 celsius, so the pace of movement has adjusted accordingly and instead of dodging the rain and wind we are now moving in a pleasent slow motion. The radioactive lobster look is popular around the town now. Sunny weather is unusual here so its good to make the most of it.

It is warm enough to sit outside comfortably at night so it has been a good time to catch up with the clear starry sky. It gets properly dark here at about ten thirty or so and becomes light again around four, so a short night with a heavy falling of dew at about two.

Overhead a shooting star leaves a trail of smoke for a second or so. Seagulls are impersonating ufo's and ufo's are pretending to be secret technology, or is that the other way round? It was a novelty to see a jet flying across the sky when I was young and now you can count more than four at any one time.