Posted by: digibirder | July 5, 2008

Devon – part 3

Tuesday 17th June:
We had arranged to meet Pete at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, as he also happened to be down there on a short holiday, but wondered whether to risk it or not with the petrol tanker driver strike, as we didn’t want to run low on fuel if petrol stations were out of stock. We weren’t particularly low on fuel at that time, but we didn’t want to let the tank become too low and be unable to get more petrol for the journey home. We weren’t sure whether there would be more strikes. On the news it said that Cornwall was one of the worst-hit places for fuel running out, so we almost called it off, but Pete said there was petrol to be had so we decided to give it a go. We did pass some places where the fuel supplies had run dry, but we eventually managed to fill up at Tesco in St Austell. So, we arrived at Heligan only a short time after originally planned and met up with Pete for a wander around the gardens. We had a lovely day, although it did threaten to rain once or twice. I managed to get some more good photos with the 100-400 lens, so it’s evident that image stabilisation is the key. I also used my Ergo Rest again.

After a very enjoyable visit, we drove back to the campsite via a more scenic route and came across the Riverford organic farm shop at Yealmpton that we had visited last time we were in the area a couple of years ago. I was feeling a little tired and in need of something to perk me up, so we stopped and had a delicious cream tea, then had a wander around the shop to stock up on more provisions. We bought some chicken breasts for another recipe to try in the Remoska, but ended up saving those for another day. Because the cream tea had filled us up quite a bit, we decided to have a later meal of fish and chips on the campsite from the visiting fish and chip van. A shared single portion of haddock and chips was sufficient, and very tasty.

The following photos were taken using the ErgoRest. Some were cropped, but only a little, then levels/curves and unsharp mask performed.


Great Spotted Woodpecker through one-way window

Mananged to find a bit of the window screen peeled away at the corner – pity the bird wasn’t in full view!

Goldfinch through the one-way glass

Came upon this rather serene, and green, scene just as it was beginning to rain

Then we came upon this rather brave Robin, who was busy defending his territory, almost ignoring us standing below his tree

As we were leaving, we came across this young Robin hunting for insects in the leaf litter

The next two photos are actually the same shot, posted as comparison images. The first one is straight out of the camera, only reduced in size (not cropped) for posting, and the second one has been sharpened only.

Wednesday 18th June:
The weather forecast was not too promising, so we decided to make it a shopping day, as there were one or two things we needed to buy. First stop was a large camping store in Ashburton, a village north of Totnes. We bought some guy ropes to add a bit more stability in case of strong wind, but we couldn’t find the other things we needed. Then we called into Totnes. I bought some new shoes and Keith bought a new pillow. We had lunch here, which was a delicious soup and crusty bread. Our final stop was Dartmouth where we had a lovely ice cream and wandered round the quaint shopping area. We found an Internet café so we checked a few things online while sipping a nice cup of coffee, and then continued our wander around before heading back to the car.

The weather hadn’t been quite as bad as predicted, but it did deteriorate later in the afternoon when we were back on the site. The rain became heavier and the wind increased, so we were glad of the new guy ropes! It also turned quite cool so we ended up wrapping ourselves in blankets and lighting the gas stove. For dinner we had a chicken risotto cooked in the Remoska, served with fresh asparagus.

I’d only managed to take a few photos on the site before we set out on our day’s travels (posted on part 1), so I didn’t really get full use of the hired lens again, which was a shame as this was the final day of my rental period and it had to be posted back on Thursday.

The promised rain arrived later in the evening, along with a very strong wind which was shaking the trailer tent a bit. The sun canopy was almost taking off, so we decided the best thing would be to take it down for the night. This had the effect of making the rest of the tent appear more stable, so that was a good move. It was still a bit scary laying in bed with the body of the trailer (containing the beds) shaking in the wind. I tried to stay awake in case something needed prompt attention, but I fell asleep with the gale still blowing! (I should have thought of that technique during all my months of insomnia!!). It reminded me of the incident at this very site two years ago, when the wind almost took the sun canopy (of the old tent) into the atmosphere. We were awoken at 3am to the sound of the barbeque falling over and when Keith went outside the canopy was hanging on by one corner peg!! It was blowing a gale and the rain was coming horizontally. We had to reinforce the pegging, but luckily nothing had been damaged apart from the metal loops on the end of the canopy guy lines, which had by now been rendered totally useless. Anyway, on this occasion, there was no similar incident, so we were OK.



  1. “We awoke at 3am to the sound of the barbeque falling over and when Keith went outside the canopy was hanging on by one corner peg!! It was blowing a gale and the rain was coming horizontally. We had to reinforce the pegging, but luckily nothing had been damaged apart from the metal loops on the end of the canopy guy lines, which were now totally useless.”

    I was oblivious in my b&b.

  2. I was referring to when we were there two years ago, with the old tent and canopy. I slept right through the storm the other week.

  3. Some great pics there and love the baby robin. Will definitely have to give serious thought to the ErgoRest! Either that or do some arm-strengthening exercises!

    Can’t wait for your next instalment 🙂

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