Posted by: digibirder | July 13, 2008

Devon – part 7

Last one!

Thursday 26th June:
It was another sunny day, but the gusty winds had returned. Another camper had recommended Bolberry Down for some good birding, and even though this wasn’t a birding holiday, we thought we would have a look what it was like. I still didn’t feel very well, but wanted to get into the fresh air for a while. It wasn’t a long journey, so we were able to get back quickly if needed. I had a nagging headache and kept feeling a little nauseous, and the twisty narrow roads made me a bit dizzy. Once at Bolberry we had a wander around the heathland and I began to feel a bit better, but it was a bit too windy for the birds to be out. We did see some Linnets and a Stonechat and some Carrion Crows, but not much else.

We left there and drove to Hope Cove, but there wasn’t a lot to see there so we carried on through and came back to the campsite. My headache returned so I took some more tablets and rested in the sunshine, out of the wind.

That evening we booked a table at the Tower Inn in Slapton village, but it was a little disappointing compared to our visits in previous years. It’s become a little ‘gastro-pub’ – concentrating on presentation of a nouvelle cuisine style, rather than good wholesome food as it was before. And it wasn’t cheap either.

My headache came back again, so when we returned to the tent, I took some more tablets and crawled into my sleeping bag to rest my head. It was only 8.45pm.

Friday 27th June:
Awoke quite early, probably due to the early night in bed last night. It had been raining overnight, and it was still drizzling on and off when we emerged from the tent. We were unsure what to do because of the weather, as it had put paid to our plans to walk to Torcross for breakfast. We decided to drive out and see if we could find some better weather, and possibly visit a National Trust property. Our first stop was Tavistock – somewhere we had driven through previously, but had never really stopped to have a look round. We found a tea room (as you do) and had a scone and pot of tea and then had a wander around the town and the market, where we found a stall selling home-made cakes. They looked delicious, so we bought a couple of them.

It kept spitting with rain, so we decided that visiting a garden wasn’t really a good idea, so we decided to drive over Dartmoor. Also not a good idea! As we got higher the mist became thicker, so we decided to keep going right over the moor, as it was impossible to see any scenery. We stopped in Widecombe-in-the-Moor, as the mist wasn’t as bad there, although it was still drizzling quite a bit. There weren’t many people around, unsurprisingly, so we had no trouble finding a table in one of the cafés, where we had a spot of lunch – Keith had soup and I had a jacket potato – and then we drove on towards Bovey Tracey, stopping at a couple of vantage points for a photo or two.

Widecombe churchyard

The mist lifted a little to enable a view over the bleak moorland

Looking back down to Widecombe

The Dartmoor Ponies wouldn’t let me get too close

After we arrived back on the campsite, the rain became quite intense, so we shut the door, had a cup of tea and watched the trickle of rain down the tent windows.

We had intended to have salad for dinner, but we decided instead to try a pub in one of the nearby villages – The Church House Inn at Stokenham. We should have gone there last night, but made the error of choosing the Tower Inn in Slapton. The meal was delicious and we will certainly go there again on our next visit to these parts. To start I had scallops and Keith had a vegetable tartlet, mains were chicken in wild mushroom sauce for me and butterfish for Keith, both served with potatoes and veg cooked to perfection. We decided to be naughty and have a dessert – I had cheese board and Keith had summer pudding. Everything was nicely presented and there was plenty of it.

Keith went to bed almost as soon as we arrived back on site, as it was now his turn to be ill – he caught my cold, which I’m sure we picked up from Pete when we met him last week!! I was feeling a lot better by now, as my cold had more or less gone and my headaches had finally cleared up.

Saturday 28th June:
We should have been going home today, but Keith did not feel like packing up and travelling home while he was feeling so bad, and I was still recovering from my cold, so we booked an extra night on the campsite. Also, we wanted the tent to be a bit more dried out after yesterday’s dampness, and the forecast did promise to be better for the weekend. It was certainly a better day than yesterday, although the wind was still blowing a fair amount – as it had for most of the holiday, actually.

We had a leisurely breakfast and then walked along to Torcross again, this time on the beach side of the road, rather than through Slapton Ley reserve. By the time we arrived, it was time for lunch so we went into the Rocket House café again – I had local ham, egg and fried potatoes and Keith had the home-made salmon and asparagus quiche. Both were delicious. We then wandered along the seafront and looked in one of the gift shops, then went to view the collection of hybrid ducks by the Ley. Every time someone new appeared they all came forward expecting to be fed. It gave me a chance for some close-ups with the long lens. Sometimes they were coming too close and the lens wouldn’t focus.

Balancing act!

I’m watching you!

Then he closed his eye – never seen a hairy eyelid before!

A male House Sparrow was enjoying a dust bath

A female studying the ground looking for titbits

Quite a few Coot around too

They have such strange feet!

And the ubiquitous Jackdaw

View over the Ley from the bench (the collection of birds is on the shingle ‘beach’ in the bottom right corner)

We then caught the bus back to the campsite and began the task of packing some of the gear away so that we could make a quick getaway the following morning. We managed to get quite a lot of stuff packed up, or at least made ready to load into the car or roof box. We had pork pie salad for dinner, followed by a piece of the fruit cake we bought yesterday. Keith had another early night, while I continued to write my trip report for a little while.

Sunday 29th June:
So came the day to depart. I wish we’d had a bit longer, as the first week was a little marred by the mixed weather and the winds. I think this was the windiest holiday we’ve ever had, as it blew even on the sunny days. We finished off the packing, folded up the trailer tent and set off at about 9.45am. We were going to stop for a breakfast, but there was nowhere really suitable for a car with a trailer, so we continued on for a while till we reached a motorway service area where we had the sandwiches we had prepared for lunch (it was almost lunch time by now) and swung the kitchen out and made a cup of tea. Keith had driven so far, but he was feeling a bit off with his cold, so I took over and drove the rest of the way.

We arrived home at about 5pm-ish, unpacked a few bits, left other things in the hallway for another day, put the trailer tent into the garage and then ordered an Indian takeaway to be delivered. It wasn’t too long before we were ready to curl up and go to sleep, as we had to get up for work the next day – ugh!!. Actually, I got up for work – Keith was still not well, so he stayed in bed. Back to the grind!!



  1. Thanks both, for a very enjoyable holiday which I’ve just shared in (you obviously didn’t notice me).

    But sorry to hear that you were both unwell during it – how maddening – some are just too generous with colds it seems!

    Finally, I know what you mean about subjects being too close to the 100-400 lens to focus!

  2. nice spadgers BUT OI!!!

    you never got it from me!!

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