Almost immediately as we got back from Whitby we were off again. Between trips there was the small matter of Madame’s birthday and a family trip to the Black Country for nuptial celebrations but by Monday we were on the road again.
Organising birthday celebrations and trusting to Google maps to navigate around the highways and byways of Walsall in a double vehicle scenario was really tiring, but the thought of going back to Devon kept us going. Of course the Smallest interfered with the best laid plans to keep on top of laundry and packing and by Monday morning the dabweshing stakes had been raised with sundry items of undercrackers airing on top of the cooker/sink combination whilst we got trucking.
Having been unsure of the status of our previous favourite secret camping spot, we had booked somewhere nearby and were a bit trepidatious in case it was all different as it had been several years since our last trip.
We booked in at Mounts Farm at East Allington, found it through Google and it appealed due to no nonsense pricing, reasonable facilities and the fact that they had room with it being bank holiday week.
When we arrived we got booked in with the cleaner (!) and she showed us a large poggy, which should have actually been two pitches. She was unsure if anyone else would be coming so we decided not to take up all the room. The spot was between a caravan which seemed to have been there quite a while, and a gimungous tent and gazebo,complete with fairy lights.
Of course, on analysing the situation we plumped for the caravan end, never having really been fairy light campers, and it’s a good job we did. The family in the fairy light enclosure, having been out all day, on their return, parked up bang at the side of our mess tent, leaving a good 4 foot gap between their vehicle and the rest of their already sprawling set up. We were not amused by this.
We paid £25 a night, complete with electric. The spot was level and grassy, the facilities would have been approved by mother as they were bright and clean, and the shop had toys and sweets and got us out of a sticky pizza situation, so was all good.
We got set up and ready to explore. First trip out was of course to check out Kingsbridge and get a pasty. To our relief there was no height barrier at the harbourside car park and we went right down to the far end by the boat ramp and walked up along the edge of the water in to town. Compared to Whitby parking it was reasonable at a quid an hour, so we set off up Fore St in anticipation of a pasty.
Much dismay and consternation abounded as we approached the fabled Kingsbridge Creamery to find that… it had changed completely. It was still a bakery, they still did pasties, but it was now called summat else which traumatised me so much I can’t even remember what now. The latest batch of pasties were in the oven, so we walked up the hill and back before sampling.
Purchases were made, the smalls opting for sausage rolls, and, as tradition dictates, we carried them back down the hill to sit by the water’s edge to enjoy them. Or not.
To be fair, they weren’t totally awful, but they were not anywhere near as good as what we were hoping for. KB was nonplussed by the use of a puff pastry. We needed to find a new pasty dealer.
In consolation we took a ride on le petit train down the opposite side of the water, which the infants found most satisfactory and decided to head out to Torcross, being already in that neck of the woods.
We parked up by the tank and KB took the anklebiterz for a run about on the beach whilst I had 40 lovely minutes kleep in the back of the van. You’ve gotta love being able to do that!
Eventually I joined them for a bit of stone skimming and, bearing in mind the disappointments of the morning, we gingerly approached the pub.
Massive relief that it was still the same, and you could still get all kinds of fish based treats, even the pint of prawns was still on the menu.
I thought it would be rude not to sample the Salcombe Gin which was on offer, and was most satisfactory, and I intended to buy a bottle later in the week, but never did.
We returned to camp, half expecting the greedy fairy neighbours to have pinched our pitch, but we were ok.
Only having a few days and so many old favourites to try and see we decided the next stop would be Dartmouth. It was the first day of the regatta, and getting there was more than a little eventful.
We made a detour around Kingsbridge and the farm shop, which is bigger and better and halfway down Slapton coast road when we reached the traffic lights I remembered that the road was shut and we could forget any thoughts of passing by Blackpool Sands as on previous trips.
We followed a massive Highway maintenance type lorry up into Slapton village where it promptly got stuck due to narrow roads, parked cars and awkward angles. We spent a good 20 mins sat whilst various villagers got involved in pointing, gesturing and generally pontificating rather than relieving the growing gridlock.
Eventually we got out of the other end of Slapton and after much meandering of the classic narrow Devon roads, with stopping and starting a plenty, we got to the top of Dartmouth. Halfway down the huge hill was the sign that there was no parking in town during the Regatta so we had to do a circuit and return to the park & ride at the top of the hill.
We had the obligatory ice cream and watched the ferry coming in and going out again.
We passed a pop up bar selling Cloudy Bay and I was tempted, but was already halfway down a chocolate ice cream!
There was much fairground type jiggery pokery, noise and etc so after a couple of hours and a visit to the toy shop we made like shepherds and got the flock out of there.
The plan for the following day was Dartington, Totnes and Sharpham vineyard. We achieved 1 out of 3. V. poor, (Dartington pasties were passable, brownie points for local beef)
but we did end up crabbing and having moonlit fish and chips by the water, so it wasn’t all walking.
The smalls caught one each, many more just got away, H almost ended up in the drink. It took all my strength to keep him on the quayside so we only spent about three quarters of an hour at it.
On the Friday we left the county for Eden. The weather was forecast to be dodgy so we thought we may as well. They had a space exhibition on as well which looked good.
I checked out online what our approach should be, and it advised not following your Sat nav due to narrow roads and congestion, so we planned to ditch Brian when we picked up the brown signs. Mistake.
We added several miles and the best part of an hour on to our approach, but on arrival, parking in plum 2, we were glad to have come. The day was packed with interesting occurrences:
1. Wooden horses made of driftwood.
2. Pasties. That were Cornish, and reasonably tasty.
3. A huge bee.
4. A black and white cow (much glee from the small boy)
5. Moana’s boat.
6. A cool room, much to the surprise and joy of the resident asthmatic, at the top of the rainforest biome.
7. Big blue puffing smoke rings and children trying to catch them.
8. A space car.
9. A tree house in a huge log.
10. Spinny round things for giddy children to sit on and go mental.
11. So many beautiful plants.
Saturday was our last full day and it was Kingsbridge Show, so we had another opportunity to see cows, horses and tractors. Fortunately the smalls were much better behaved than at the last one and we had a top time with many interesting occurrences:
1. Behind a typically unassuming Devon hedge it was ruddy massive.
2. You had to go through a horse box to get in. Put me in mind of Narnia.
3. Donkey rides. Madame rode Billy.
4. Salcombe ice cream. Nom.
5. Many beasts on show. Very well groomed if not so well behaved. A massive bovine scared the bejeesus out of H. Good job it wasn’t a black and white one or he’d be scarred for life.
6. Piggybacks are a thing.
7. Ducks with bouffants.
8. Chicks holding chicks.
9. Agricultural behemoths who had had their wheels shined.
10. Crêpes. Five pound.
11. Emergency service vehicles. He didn’t have a bar of it.
12. Medieval jousting.
13. A scarcity of pasties.
14. Sunny skies.
We enjoyed a final muck about on the beach and headed for teatime in the pub.
There was a beer festival on with some music so we took our time.
and after a leisurely pack up we left Sunday lunchtime and made it home by supper time, and back to work on Monday, but ready to go again by Friday!!