|April 3, 2010||Penzance|
|Weather: Rain then Sun and Cloud||B&B: Cornerway’s Guest House (£30)|
10:15am … we’re speeding southwest towards Taunton and the countryside is flying by. The fact that I will have to recover these miles on foot has not gone unnoticed. I suspect this thought is one that enters the mind of most LEJOGers as they approach the starting line. There are green rolling hills and damp fields filled with bouncing lambs. There appears to be some mud about too.
10:45 am Taunton – it’s chucking it down hard – the rumored drying trend seems years off.
11:00am Tiverton Parkway / Cullompton – a small patch of blue sky appears from nowhere and sun shines down on Cullompton. The Lewis family hails from this small Devon town and there’s a chance I may visit it on one of my rest days. Could this blue patch be a sign that I should?
11:20 Exeter St. David – as we pull out of the station “The Royal Duchy” is building up steam. The pastures and bridges along the route are lined with train-spotters and steam-train enthusists. Several miles out and they are still lining every good vantage point. I search in vain for a “Good Luck Steve!” banner … I’m now dead sure it’s the train they’re after. 😉 Just sped through Starcross … yet more camera-toting train spotters standing by.
11:40 Newton Abbot – I visited here in 1993 when I took part in a small group walking tour of Dartmoor. My most memorable moments include the Dartmoor ponies and my foaming shorts. The latter requires explanation. Apparently the rinse cycle on the hotel washing machine was on the fritz and I didn’t know it. The following day I donned my freshly washed shorts and set out into a downpour. About ½ a mile out nature’s rinse cycle kicked in and huge balls of suds began forming and running down my legs … much to the amusement of my fellow walkers. One lady laughed so hard she wet herself and I seem to remember recommending she avoid the hotel washing machine.
12:30pm Plymouth – we arrive on time and all Penzance bound passengers change to a local, and very crowded, train. A unusually large number of dogs are on board.
2:30pm Penzance – we arrive ahead of schedule and the sun is out (well mostly). After a brief rest I took a walk through town and along the Promenade. I ended up at the Crown Inn where I enjoyed a nice pint of Otter Ale and an Irish Lamb stew. They had a promotion on where you could roll the dice to win your supper for free. 9 or better and you didn’t need to pay. I paid.