Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Fingle Bridge

27th July 2020

Travel continued...

10th July 2020 

Having packed everything, so we thought - two frozen dinners for later in the week, pegs, tablets, musn't forget my journal - we said goodbye to Mary and Dominic, who are both working from home, and set off around one.

After driving for a few hours, a lot of the time in the rain, we eventually stop for a short break. Peter gets out, walks around up and down , stretches, and off we go again.

A little while later we are held up in a  traffic jam, which, we find out later was caused by a lorry breaking down.

"Shall we stop soon,"for the night, I mean. I check out "pitch4night", looking on the map for suitable places. It's the first time we've used this app. It's specifically for wild campers, who, when they find somewhere useful they recommend it to others by adding  it to the list.
"No," he says, "I just want to get past Exeter. We'll find something the other side.

We stop again in a lay-by, with a coffee cabin - closed, obviously - as is the outside toilet. Oh well, we have the Porta-Potti.

"I'll make a cup of coffee. It's ages since we had a drink." I get the kettle and turn the tap on. "It's not working," I tell him, when no water comes out.
"Oh, shit," he says, "I forgot to fill it"
"Oh no. And I didn't fill the bottle either," something we usually do for convenience.
This is definitely an irritation . I'm anxious now as we'll need to find water soon.
"It's your fault," he jokes, "If you hadn't got me washing the car last night , I'd have finished what I was supposed to be doing." I never asked him to help me wash the car.

The water problem set our agenda. We might even have to find a supermarket and buy water - not if I can help it though! I pray we don't have to.
We take the next turn off the A30 and find a garage with a Travel Lodge next to it, closed, obviously.
On the way to get petrol I spot a water tap. Hurray!! My whole body relaxes at the thought of being able to fill up with water, and without going near a supermarket.
There are lots of parking spaces outside the Travel Lodge and they're hidden from the busyness of the garage. Maybe we can stay here.

We hang around for a bit, make coffee and take a walk, but in the end we don't feel comfortable  - isolated behind the hub of activity at the garage and the Spar Shop.
Park4Night tells us there's a good spot about twenty minutes away near a river. We head for it.
Sat nav lady takes us down windy, narrow lanes, then, "you have reached your destination on the left." Studying the wooded area, we see no sign of anywhere we can park . We try a little further along, possibly the postcode was incorrect, no luck.

Off we go again.
Now we leave it to chance, on an adventure of our own.
And , oh my goodness, we find a little gem - Fingle Bridge . An inn sits next to the bridge with the River Teign running by.
We are blown away  with our good luck.

The owners of the inn are out putting cones in position for the social distancing they'll need when they open the next day.

"Unfortunately we can only open for take aways," they tell us, "it's all we can do at the moment. But people can sit in the gardens and eat , so we're hoping for good weather."
We chat for a while - how business has been, how they expect it to be, furloughing staff - then we walk over the bridge , where we see a chap with a small dog, fishing. Of course he and Peter share stories , dogs, fishing.

Going over the bridge we amble along the pretty lane beside the river, edged with a large gassy area. Again we stop to talk to another walker, obviously local.
"There's a lovely circular walk on up, right to the top, then a bridge across and back down. It follows the river and there's great little spots where the river rushes down. Best to start this side though, and come back the easy route."
"Maybe tomorrow, "Peter replies, "If we decide to stay."

"What do you think?" Peter asks me when we leave the man behind.
"I'd really like to stay, it's lovely here. And I'd like to do that walk he told us about."
So that was it. Dinner in the camper that evening was Chicken salad.

The next morning we are up early, keen to begin the long trek, the difficult climb.
Listening to the gushing of water as it comes down over the rocks, not exactly waterfalls, but exhilarating nevertheless.
Two hours later we are back , the descent easier, tired, hungry.

Back at the camper we have rice pudding, again something cooked at home before leaving, then sit on the bridge with a coffee, look down at the river, with its rocks, its brown rust colour and gentle rippling sounds as it heads towards the sea at Teignmouth. A lovely quiet moment , only a couple of dog walkers off in the distance. We say nothing, just let the flow of nature fill us. A meditative space.
"Oh my goodness, love, a flash, blue,  turquoise, a bird? What's that?"
A stunning image, from branch to water to branch, right in front of me.
"From the colours, sounds like you might have seen a kingfisher, lucky you." He stares into the branches, "He'll be fishing," he says hopefully.
In the blink of an eye it darts past again. This time he sees it.And what magnificent sight.
While we wait for him to repeat his performance a yellow wagtail flits from rock to rock,playfully and we rejoice to witness  morning on the river.

Not having had breakfast we decide to patronise the Inn, after all we are now parked in their car park area. We sit by the river, watching children and dogs playing in the water, and many people enjoying the good weather. It's obviously a popular place.

Back at the camper we have rice pudding, again something cooked at home before leaving, then sit on the bridge with a coffee, looking down at the river, with its rocks, its brown rust colour and gentle rippling sounds as it heads towards the sea at Teignmouth. A lovely quiet moment , only a couple of dog walkersoff in the distance before we set off again for Perranporth.


  1. Sounds like you are having quite the adventure!

    1. Finished now Mimi, but I'm trying to get it written.


Please feel free to comment with advice and critique.