Stairway to Devon

Back in the day, which is a day more than 26 years ago, I met my Pammy and, back in another day, we got married. That day was 25 years ago this week and so we had a short break down in the west country. We honeymooned in Totnes and we have not returned there since…….until this week to celebrate our silver anniversary. Unfortunately the stately manor at which we stayed has long since closed to honeymooners and other visitors, so we instead stayed in nearby Paignton.

It seems that whenever we go away somewhere we go for plenty of walks. I am pretty much obsessive on walking and Pammy either enjoys it too or does it to support me. Very much both, I think. 

Thursday. A gentle 3 mile walk to Torquay and a wander round, remembering where we had wandered round, 25 years before. We really couldn’t remember very much at all.

Friday a.m. A perilous drive through the country, including a diversion to take in one extremely narrow road and a bridge that was about two inches wider than our car. Arriving in Princetown, in the middle of Dartmoor, on a chilly morning could mean only one thing. A decent walk. But neither of us could realise how cold it was going to be, even in early February. We settled for about 5 miles before entering The Old Police Station Cafe for soup of the day – carrot and coriander – though it could have been pretty much any flavour as long it was hot. It was one of those mornings on the moors when the army were out in force, clearly the senior officers waiting for the most unpleasant conditions before exposing their privates to the cold. We could well imagine news items along the lines of members of the public suffering from exposure and being picked up by Mountain Rescue. It was cold. 

Friday p.m. Totnes was on the route back so, after negotiating the narrowness, we stopped in our chosen post-nuptial town of residence. Interestingly, in the cafe on the corner of the main precinct, the soup of the day was carrot and coriander. Coincidence or is there a national/regional soup cartel that decrees the soup of that day? We had a 3 mile round walk from the town centre up to Bowden House and, though we could recall so little about the town – maybe it has just changed too much – our memories were really jogged by the walk up to the house. It was just a bit sad that we couldn’t get that close to the house, since it is now a private house.

Saturday. Walked from Paignton to Brixham. For the most part, this was the South West Coast Path, and the scenery was great. But you know. I love a bridge. One minute earlier and a GWR steam train would have entered centre stage into my pic.

Again, it was cold, though nowhere near as unpleasant as the previous day. A couple of beaches that made me consider talking to my feet but loads and loads of steps, down, up, down, up, down again and up again. The ups are tough and raise the heart rate but I prefer them to the downs, where every step down thumps at the weakest part of my anatomy – my back. Yes, I am feeling it now. Not the 6 miles or so but the hundreds of steps where the spine bears the full weight. Thankfully, it wasn’t going to kill me or be a stairway to heaven, merely a stairway, er, to Devon.

Of course, the walking was tough but absolutely lovely to walk with the love of my life. So that’s it. Cold. Tough terrain. Enough for the week. Time for some me and Pammy time.


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