Day 10

Crediton to Tiverton – 14.9 miles (160 total)

Back to travelling on my own again today. All these towns are starting to look the same to me – shades of Paul Simon’s ‘Homeward Bound ’. But that is unfair, I’m not staying in them long enough to get properly acquainted with them, only using them as staging posts on my trek across the country.

A typical Devon country lane. High hedges laced with pale-yellow primulas.

When I was speaking to the owner of last night’s accommodation at breakfast this morning, I discovered that Crediton is the town where Fisherman’s Friends are made – one of my favourite sweets.

I walked the whole day, yet again, in shirt sleeves. The weather wasn’t quite as nice as yesterday, there was a chill wind, but it was dry and I soon warmed up. Once again I followed The Devon Heartland Way out of town, soon breaking away to forge my own trail towards Tiverton using a mixture of country lanes and paths. Everything off-road is still extremely muddy although the public rights of way are now well signposted, at least. Sometimes the country roads are very quiet, like today, but, at other times they can be annoyingly busy to the point of being dangerous. I am always glad to reach villages and towns because there lies the blessed safety of pavements. My inclination is still to choose rural traffic over mud when it comes down to a straight choice between potential hazards.

Today’s terrain was a series of climbs and dips, a kind of rollercoaster going from 200ft to 700ft and back again. There were times when I was soaked with sweat and my eyes were stinging as I faced yet another rise. It’s difficult to believe that they had snow here just a few weeks ago.

My route took me through the charmingly named village of Cheriton Fitzpaine whose name had intrigued me since first plotting my route. Among the A4 posters on display was one promoting a ‘ Virtuoso Recital ’ while another offered ‘ Free, to a loving home. Metal bath, in good condition. ’ It says it all, really.

Cheriton Fitzpaine

After heading north for a while my direction of travel altered to north-east as I got closer to Tiverton, arriving there mid-afternoon, crossing the River Exe to reach the town centre.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to my first canal walk, the Grand Western Canal, which should be flat, devoid of traffic and safe… unless I fall in! It’s a longish day again but those following are a succession of shorter, flatter stages. I’ll be glad to leave the hills behind for a while. When I have time I will provide a more detailed description of the fundamentals involved in planning and navigating my walk, including the contents and size of my pack and the navigational aids/technology I am using.