Wednesday, 5 October 2016

A quiet week in north Devon

Miriam organised us a week in Peppercombe. It was a deliberately quiet trip. During the day, spent in silence, M was mostly meditating, and I was mostly running. In the evening we talked.

14390674_10154549429157350_1233257755501537732_n The 1920's wooden bungalow is all wood inside and out and rather lovely. With only two of us there was plenty of space. Most days it rained, more at the start of the week perhaps; fortunately this didn't much matter. It is down at the end of a track / road which is steep and a little potholed but easily driveable if taken slowly. Peppercombe itself (map) is a steep wooded valley off the A39.

We ended up getting up quite early. Several days, after I'd finished breakfast and pottering, I was surprised by how early it still was. And to bed early too.

Friday: arrive, 6 ish. Go to "Atlantic village" for the thrill of Aldi for the week's food (and a bottle of Romanian Nonius wine) before returning to the Coach and Horses at Horn's Cross for a drink and dinner. Reading "Full of myself" by Jonny Dawes.

Saturday: morning: 6k run west along the stony beach (hard work!) to Buck's Mills, then back along the coastal path along the cliffs; also hard work. Afternoon: 24k run (ahem, and walk) along the road to Bideford, then back via Yeo Vale (my watch ran out at 15k). Would have cut off some of the loop to Bideford if I'd realised how long it was. Began raining at about 10k. Pic: the stony beach.

Sunday: run 6k NE along the coastal path and back. After this I realised that I wasn't going to get the kind of distance running I wanted (I have the Amsterdam marathon on the 16th of October) from the coast. Ironically (perhaps) I think the Barnstaple marathon and half was on today. I'd have joined if I'd known.

Monday: drive into Bideford - it isn't far and do 21k along the "Tarka Trail" which is a bike path along the old railway line. 1:52, tolerable for marathon pace and after the last few days work. Preceeded by sitting in a cafe for a couple of hours catching up on the internet and drinking coffee and eating soup.

Tuesday: back to Bideford, same cafe, less rain, do 15k in the other direction "inland". Quite different: the Barnstaple / estuary direction is quite open, this is often in a tunnel of trees. Starts off crossing the river on the old bridge as before, then after a few k comes swooping back over the railway bridge. Evening, use the wood burner with what I've gleaned from the beach and the surrounding woods, and it works.

Wednesday: tried Barnstaple this time - really didn't get on with the parking - do the Tarka Trail back towards Bideford. Decided - during the run - that 26k would be good, so turned round a few k out of Bideford. 2:22, again a reasonable pace for a marathon training run. Evening: fire again.

Thursday: enough running, it was time to walk to Clovelly, which turned out to be 7 k  away, a bit further than I thought. M joined me, we walked there along the beach, this was hard work due to the aforementioned stonyness. Lunch at the Red Lion which didn't have wifi though it claimed to. Soir: meal up at the Coach and Horses. Walk back along the coastal path is longer - 18k round trip - though it starts off level on Hobby Drive it soon goes up and down. 6 hours round trip.

Friday: pack and leave by our appointed hour of 10.


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