Monday, 10 August 2015

Three Go To Smugglers' Top

On a less than promising day, we adjourned to the Ferryboat Inn in Shaldon for lunch before heading up the River Teign to Ringmore.


Where is Shaldon, you ask? Why, just about here. (Measurements in miles, furlongs and poles.) (A pole - or a perch - or a rod - is a unit of length equal to 5½ yards.) (Or 16½ feet.)


As we began the long climb up Higher Ringmore Road to the lane that runs along the top of the ridge, our socialist spirits were cheered by this welcome sight. 


OK, so it's probably more to do with local geography than a celebration of the fact that there is at least one politician in the Labour Party with principles, but we continued with a spring in our steps.  


On top of the ridge, there were views - still pretty saturnine, it has to be said, but far-reaching and impressive. Here's Teignmouth, with a smudgy looking Exmouth in the distance ... 


... and the view back along the lane, with Dartmoor lowering on the horizon.    




And the hedges were full of thyme and honeysuckle and lots and lots of butterflies because this is Butterfly Lane.  There was no muddy water making it impassable either, presumably because the kids who used to ride their quad bikes along here have grown up and moved away to an area with marginally more affordable housing.  Or the council has sorted out the drainage.  


There was this young dead bunny too, which actually wasn't even dead yet, though not far off. At first we wondered if it had been shot, as we'd heard firing from the fields shortly before, but it seemed to have sustained injuries to its ears, so maybe we'd scared off a predator.  I remembered the last time I'd walked along the lane - before I'd been forced to turn back because of the flooding - I'd seen a stoat skedaddle across the track, and that seemed a plausible explanation.  

It was horrible to see it scrabbling on its side in the dust, and so very hard to walk on and let nature take it course. We hoped a kindly or at least hungry predator would return soon and finish the job.  

Looking back up river to the moor. 


The lane started to climb again as we approached its end, and there were views down the coast to St Marychurch, whence hailed my great-great-grandmother, and Torquay.  And the sun came out. 
After dicing with death for a couple of hundred yards on the Torquay Road, we turned onto the coast path at this very excitingly named house.  
Then there was a final bit of risky living - at least as far as my partner is concerned - as we skirted a herd of unconcerned cows and made our way down the extremely steep path towards the Ness at Shaldon.  My home from home.   



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