Wednesday, 12th August, Combe to St. Cleer, 17.76 miles.
We have just narrowly averted spending a night sleeping under the hedge. With our next stop being nearly 30 miles away, I deem that too far to travel in one day and for the past two days, I have been frantically trying to arrange another pit stop to break up the mileage. Finally, it’s the notice I send out on Facebook that comes up trumps. Jo, a friend in Cornwall has answered my call, has parents who live near St Cleer who say they could accommodate us for the night. What a massive relief. So grateful. And all thanks to Facebook!
It is extremely fitting that we shall be saying goodbye to Devon with this sign behind us,
at a place called Horsebridge,
a bridge over the River Tamar,
the natural border between Devon and Cornwall.
This is such a momentous occasion for us. We have finally reached our home County.
Even so, it’s still a long day and we have walked nearly 18 miles following a route that skirts south around Stoke Climsland and the Duchy College, through Pensilva where we join a track up onto Bodmin Moor before taking the turning towards Siblyback Lake to reach Richard and Susan’s farm.
I discover this delightful pair have spent the previous day clearing out an old stable in order to accommodate Tommy, bought some straw for his bed and some hay for him to eat. A monster task for a couple no longer in their prime (Susan having just celebrated her 80th birthday!) and feel slightly guilty I have caused them such a task on our behalf. They say we have done them a favour having wanted to clear the stable for ages but until now had not had a good enough reason to do so. Tommy rewards their efforts by trying to barge his way out of the stable in order to get to the lawn which is not only covered with clover but also looks inviting for a roll too. He is always ravenous when we arrive at a new destination but I am embarrassed by this show of ingratitude by my horse as he flexes his weight against the rather rickety stable door frame and we all wonder how much of this treatment it can withstand before it collapses. Susan is positively sanguine about it all, bless her. However, he soon settles down, tucking into his hay and peace is restored once more. It rains during the night and I am pleased he has the shelter.
Meanwhile, I am accompanied in my dreams by this dappled grey beauty.
We leave the following morning extremely grateful for the last-minute kindness and hospitality of this wonderful couple, and to their daughter, Jo, who made it happen in the first place.