Week 10 day 67 – Friday 29th May

  • 65 minutes at 150 watts
  • Max heart rate = 134 bpm
  • Calories = 672 (total so far 23187)
  • Distance covered = 23.41 miles
  • Total distance so far = 873.49

Having recovered from feeling distinctly under par last week, I tried another experiment; I put the watts back up to 150 which I did for 60 minutes then, for the last 5 minutes, I increased the level each minute finishing on 200 watts. A massive push, which didn’t change the distance but increased the calories used to a whopping 672, or just over 6 bananas        or 7.5 gin and tonics  – not that I think I’ll be consuming that many of either, but I reckon it’s worth at least a Devon cream tea!

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Back to 2008 for my listening today and Ne Yo with Year of the Gentleman.

Another glorious day, one when it would be so good to be really travelling through Devon and on our way to the sea. Our route takes us through a beautiful stretch of countryside with the advantage of two very different coastlines to visit. 

Today we get as far as Okehampton, known as the walking centre of Devon as it is ideally placed for both coasts, as well as Dartmoor to the south and Exmoor to the north. It was founded by the Saxons and the earliest written record of the settlement is from 980 AD as Ocmundtune, meaning settlement by the Ockment, a river which runs through the town. 

Like many towns in the West Country, it grew on the medieval wool trade and became quite prosperous. A couple of buildings worth visiting are the 15th century chapel of St. James and the medieval Okehampton Castle, which was established by the NormanSheriff of Devon, Baldwin FitzGilbert. 

For walking days out, you are in easy reach of the two highest points on Dartmoor, High Willhays and Yes Tor.

And if it rains (as it often does in the West Country!), a visit to the Museum of Dartmoor Life would while away a few hours.

We pass through some delightful small villages on the way, with their unusual place names reflecting their Saxon heritage. One of my favourites is Sticklepath which lies along the old ridgeway path between Exeter and Launceston. The name derives from the Saxon ‘staecle’ meaning ‘steep’ as it lies at the foot of a high mount, over which the path had to cross on its way to Cornwall. 

Travellers of all walks of life passed through, including John Wesley, whose itinerary took him through the village on his preaching missions to Cornwall. It is recorded that he preached from an ‘open place’ which is now the White Rock clearly visible from the centre of the village to the West.

Apparently, the village, despite its tiny size, has a very varied population both in terms of age and background and has a reputation in the county for being very active. The Finch Foundry, owned by the National Trust, attracts many visitors and for walkers, there are wonderful walks beside the River Taw along the valley towards the neighbouring village of Belstone.

And it’s not short of pubs for that all important refuelling after your exertions! In the village you can find the Devonshire Arms and The Taw River Inn and a short way out in South Zeal is The Kings Arms.

Of course, all three along with all the other pubs and restaurants in the UK will be eerily quiet now. Sales of alcohol have increased considerably during lockdown and no one is denied their gin and tonic,  glass of wine or real ale.

However, it will be good to get back to normal one day, when the reward of an ‘end of the hike’ drink and maybe a bite to eat at a picturesque pub like one of these spurs us on to keep putting one foot in front of the other.