Three sunny days in a row, what was going on? Sunny as it may have been, today was Carol’s last chance to visit the Exeter records office and investigate not one but TWO other peoples’ families. So, at 8:30 AM off Carol set for the 18 mile journey back to the relevant part of Exeter. Carol arrived at the records office just after 9:00 AM.The records office opened at 10:00 AM. Whoops! The lazy so-and-sos.
Those of us not so keen on investigating unrelated skeletons had planned a walking day. The Stover camp site is very pleasantly situated next to a wildlife lake which forms the start and end points of a 4 mile circular walk called the Heritage Trail. The Heritage Trail intersects with a longer distance path known as Templer Way, presumably to do with the fact that historically the area was within the 80,000 acre Stover estate owned by one James Templer.
The Heritage Trail took about an hour and a half, some of which was spent watching very energetic sand martins swooping around their sand bank nests on the bend of the local river. Unfortunately, they were much to fast for my trigger finger. I had much more success with a duck and her family of nine ducklings who didn’t seem to mind posing for the camera. A round trip detour of about a mile up to the old gatehouse of the estate and back proved disappointing so I consoled myself with lunch by the lake watching the ducks and grebes.
After lunch, there was life in the old legs yet so I set off on the Templer Way up towards Bovey Tracey where I planned to slake my thirst with a pint before returning. While I was stalking brimstome butterflies, however, I managed to miss a right turn and inadvertently left the Templer Way altogether. I was put back on track by a friendly lady with a muddy spaniel (who had scared most of my brimstones) and eventually rejoined the Templer Way to arrive in Bovey Tracey. Not only had I missed a Templer Way sign, but now I was in Bovey Tracey I was seriously short of pub signs, too. Pubs were there none – at least, none that I could see without adding a further two miles to an already long day. Curses! A little disheartened, I slugged some water and set about my return trip, this time managing to follow the signs and stick faithfully to the Templer Way.
After about five and a half hours and a total of about 11 miles walking, my first beer back at Billy was going down extremely well when Carol returned just a few minutes after me with an awful lot of names and dates for other peoples’ relatives. Who needs pubs, anyway? My second beer went down equally well.