Thursday 6th August, Yeoford to Murchington, 15 miles.
For our walk today, Tommy and I have the delightful pleasure of the company of a dear friend and fellow pilgrim, Richard Dealler. (Mary / Michael Pilgrim Route). Richard has managed to catch a train from Exeter (where he lives), that drops him off at the tiny station in Yeoford….so overgrown with vegetation you wouldn’t know it existed down a tiny track to the platform.
We walk up the lane together to collect Tommy and the usual photo call before we set off.
Here they are making contact for the first time, Tommy having been transformed into Argo overnight, the name of the ship in which Jason sailed in quest of the Golden Fleece.
Going back through Yeoford, I realise ironically, this is the very spot where Tommy and I join the path that I took a year ago on one of Richard’s guided pilgrim walks, so it feels fitting that we begin this section of our journey together. It also feels appropriate, not only that I am walking and leading Tommy and not riding him, but also delightful to be accompanied by a seasoned co-navigator having shown Richard the route I had planned for the day.
There is a lot to catch up on with Richard, interrupted by the usual signage stops to check our bearings. I have never seen fruit trees for sale beside the road before.
I particularly like this one.
Sometimes just stopping to admire the view.
We spot this frog in the road and take turns to get up close to photograph it. Richard says it is a sign of transformation. Before we move on, he makes sure it has hopped out of danger and safely into the verge.
At Hittisleigh we cross the A 30 on the flyover, the main arterial road into Cornwall and the last major road we will have to cross. Tommy takes it in his stride, barely jiggling at all, and after the long climb up to Drewsteignton, we take refuge in the churchyard, enjoying a pint from the pub next door. A lovely clergy person suddenly appears who luckily has no objection to Tommy munching his way amongst the gravestones, being a horse person herself. She tells us she was a medical GP before changing careers. Now she administers to people’s souls as opposed to their bodies, but, she confess, in truth there’s little difference in the work. We might well have had to put all her skills into practice as I leave Tommy in Richards’ care for a few minutes and he manages to get his shoe stepped on by Tommy, narrowly missing his toes by a whisker.
On our way to Murchington, Richard goes off into the field to visit Spinsters’ Rock Burial Chamber while Tommy and I talk to the horses by the gate.
This was the place where the stones had echoed back their song to me when I visited them with Richard last year. Somehow it didn’t seem appropriate to visit them this time, my focus always being with Tommy.
We find our destination in the small village of Murchington and are met with George’s lovely welcoming face. George and his wife, Fiona who is a part-time vet, run a marquee hire business and I know we are in the right place because the vans parked up on the verge have Devon Marquee written on their sides. After letting Tommy loose in the field and a reviving cup of tea, George very kindly agrees to drive us back to Yeoford, for Richard to catch a train back to Exeter, and for me to collect my kit from the B&B.
Later that evening, George and Fiona have invited a few friends round for supper and a very jolly time we have too, particularly as Simon and Nicky run a gallery nearby. Lovely people. Wonderful evening. Fabulous day.