Most of the towns in Cornwall are St. Something or other, and most of the hills in Cornwall are St. Eep. Unfortunately I sat on that (terrible) joke for too long because I passed out of Cornwall several days ago and I’m now well into Devon.

I’ve finally made it to a library and gotten myself some quality time to update this blog and do various other internet-related activities. I added a page up at the top with a few pictures from the trip so far – if it was a faster process I would just upload the majority of what I’ve got for you to peruse, but it’s difficult enough to cram all the things I need to do into an hour and a half of computer time. Buying more time would be pretty costly, both in terms of cold hard cash and also time I could spend getting from point A to point B. The first thing I want to remark on is that Bank Holidays in this country are no laughing matter. As usual I was completely unprepared for a 3-day weekend during which most stores kept limited hours, and so I was forced to operate without a map for a few hours on my way from Launceston to Okehampton. This was not even the actual bank holiday itself, but the Sunday preceding, and all the stores were closed. Ultimately I have decided that any further bank holidays should be treated like a miniature Y2K and I should buy 2-gallon vats of ketchup and baked beans (not in the same vat) before the abrupt end of commercial transactions.

The past few days have seen me from Bodmin to Liskeard, to Launceston, to Okehampton, North Tawton, and finally Tiverton last night. Most of the walks have been rather unremarkable – As we departed Bodmin Trevor embarked on a day trip to the ruins of Tintagel castle, which is reputedly the actual site of King Arthur’s castle (though it’s not called Camelot, which I find suspicious), and I have not seen him since. He called a couple days ago, and is making the most of the public transit system and darting around from place to place slightly ahead of me. Yesterday he was in Taunton, which is where I hope to be by this evening. Regardless, I have been walking alone for most of the time since then.

I’ve done two twenty-plus mile days in the past week, separated by a seven-mile light day to give myself time to recover. This seven mile journey was between Okehampton and Tiverton, and it turned out to be an incredibly bad idea because it left me stranded in a small town called North Tawton. I stayed at the dingiest tavern I have ever seen, called the Copper Key. There was no library, no cell reception, and no TV. The building itself was nearly six hundred years old, my room was just slightly larger than the twin bed it contained, and the bedding was a picture of what I’m going to call “Mystery Man”, a superhero with an M on his chest. As a matter of fact he could easily have been “Mr. Muscle,” the people’s champion of spotless surfaces (think Mr. Clean) who appears in glorious computer-generated 3D and with inglorious fake American accent in TV commercials here.

In any case, about the only thing to do in North Tawton (apart from considering my comforter) was to drink, and do my best not to touch anything, which I started doing almost as soon as I arrived at around 1:30 PM. In the end I abandoned even that – this was supposed to be a recovery day after all – and went to bed around 5. After about fourteen hours of rest I arose, skipped a shower as I felt it might actually make me dirtier, ate breakast and departed.

This was yesterday, and following my departure I accidentally walked 23 miles to Tiverton, where it is currently raining steadily. I had hoped typing up this blog update would allow me to wait out the rain, but that doesn’t appear to be the case so I’m going to go find a way to keep my pack dry and set off again. I’m hoping to follow the Grand Western Canal Towpath to Taunton, but that’s contingent on whether the Grand Western Canal Towpath actually goes there or not. I suppose I’ll let you know at the next library.



2 Responses

  1. so exactly how does one “accidentally” walk 23 miles? One would imagine that somewhere in all that distance one would realize one is walking. Were it I, the realization would, quite likely, occur somewhere near to the beginning. It seems quite inconceivable, one would walk that far and not notice. What were you doing? Mental algebra?

  2. As it turns out, Tintagel is actually supposed to be the /birthplace/ of Arthur, not his castle, although it is pretty close to the river Camel, so i guess i can see where the name “Camelot” came from. Still, there’s no evidence whatsoever that any of this has any relationship to the ruins at Tintagel.
    …But they were pretty amazing, anyway.

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