Jun 14, 2008

Mega Catch Up

After the brief photo interlude, it's now back to the updates....

Day 62-Thursday June 5th 2008:

The ongoing search for Taunton continues. After a lovely free dinner (John S choosing liver and bacon, and John D, suffering from a severe lack of rice by this point, going with the Thai prawns and rice!) beer AND breakfast at the Fox and Goose, the boys set off on a long day of walking. Not really much to update on today. Confusion was the main order of the day as locals spent the day discussing how far they were from their final destination-the range of answers being from less than a hundred miles to over 200. Thankfully though, the road to Taunton was a bit easier to figure out, and the day was ended camping in the garden of the Maypole pub five miles outside the town. Much to Gill's displeasure, there was again plans to eat a pub meal for tea rather than the mash she so kindly provided (which had at this point been on a long journey of it's own of 130 miles!).

Day 63-Friday June 6th 2008:

As it had been on Thursday, it was a day of plenty walking in very hot weather. Apparently getting rather frustrated by the dramatic inconsistencies in answering the question 'How far is it to Land's End?', the Johns ended up stopping in at the Blue Bell pub in Wellington to ring 118 118 and find out the correct answer once and for all (as well as order a Chinese takeaway for tea!)...which turned out to be 149 miles. Still, in the overall scheme of things, it's not far at all! Some interesting points about Wellington: it's 200 yards from the Devon border and the people down there are apparently very proud of being in Somerset. The Johns also found it a lot slower paced than they are used to-maybe a potential spot for retirement?!!!! Finally, an update on John S's foot: it's still sore, and he has at this point taken to using a hanky to pad his heel and surgical dressing and tape on his toe. Poor thing!

Day 64-Saturday June 7th 2008:

Not much to say today at all. Another very hot day, which was spent walking along the Grand Western Canal and into the Exe Valley (a rather nice description of which I found on some website: 'the Exe Valley offers an immense variety of flora and fauna as it flows through peaceful villages, busy market towns and the cathedral city of Exeter'). The day was ended camped on a cricket field in Bickleigh, Devon...and much to the excitement of Gill this time, some instant mash was to be used to make corned beef hash for tea.

Day 65-Sunday June 8th 2008:

Now, according to the update I got from Gill, the weather was the hottest yet today-a whopping 90 degrees Celcius! Now, I know the weather is supposed to be hotter down south than it is here, but 90C?! Ok, so I'm guessing she meant 90F there, but I couldn't resist a little joke (sorry Gill!)-and still, 90F is way hotter than I'd want to be walking in with heavy clothes and backpacks. The day was also spent walking around hilly ground on a long winding road surrounded by hedges...which proved not only tiring, but also quite dangerous, as the lads were nearly knocked over by a bike! Halfway through the day, they stopped off a pub for some refreshing beer which was kindly paid for by some other customers. A big discussion broke out about the best route to take to Land's End, and when nothing was decided, the Johns decided to just carry on with the route they had planned. A tiring day was finally ended in Tedburn St Mary (voted 'National Village of the Year' in 2001!) where camp was made in the garden of a local resident named David Parker-it's the first private garden the lads have stayed in since the walk reached England, so a big thanks to David for that!

Day 66-Monday June 9th 2008:

A steady, if not altogether peaceful day, walking alongside lorries on the A30. There was also a couple of firsts for the walk: the lads encountered a buddhist (number one) who kindly donated 50 Euros (number two) to the walk fund. The A30 was left in order to find suitable camp for the night and they ended up in the town of Oakhampton (of which I can find absolutely no interesting information online!). The plan for tea was a nice 'tent-cooked' meal, which we imagine probably involved instant mash and an onion!

Day 67-Tuesday June 10th 2008:

The weather is getting even hotter-John D, who I am reliably informed rarely breaks into sweats, had sweat dripping from his fingertips (altogether now....ewwwww!). After a couple of hours walking, it was decided a trip to Little Chef for an Olympic breakfast was in order-and as they tucked in, both got misty eyed while reminiscing about taking their kids to Little Chef while on their holidays (I can also vouch that John S Jr constantly talks about those trips to Little Chef whenever we pass one on the motorway, so they must have been good times-aaaah!). To add to the whole experience, the breakfasts were free-so hoorah for Little Chef! Despite the heat, the lads still managed to walk over twenty miles, across part of Dartmoor, and finishing up in Launceston. While enjoying a well-deserved pint in the Westgate Inn, the lads met a man called Jonathan, who just happened to be the managing director of D S Smith-a company which makes corrigated card products and fish & chips containers and was just named 'packaging company of the year'. It really is amazing how many random people and facts the Johns have come across during this walk. Anyway, Jonathan kindly let them camp in the company's factory grounds, with full shower and toilet privileges for the night...how very nice!

Ok, that's all for today, but I'll be back in a day or two with another few days worth of updates and some more photos. Sorry for getting a bit behind in the last week or so, but we'll soon try to get things caught up before the walk is over!

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