When we started this little housesitting adventure back in December we hoped that we’d be able to see a few places in England and the rest of the United Kingdom that we hadn’t previously visited. We never thought we would get to spend three weeks in Devon though.
And I couldn’t resist the title either, it’s three places from our walks this week but it sounds like a classic San Francisco folk rock combo from the 1960s. (And now live on stage at Woodstock it’s “Lustleigh, Fingle, and Hunters Tor”).
Housesitting in Moretonhampstead
Another place with an uncommon name (after Aldeburgh, Mears Ashby, and North Pickenham) but this time we’re looking after Tigger the cat. As Jo mentioned previously he’s 17 years old and has seen and done it all. He wasn’t really too bothered about us for the first couple of days but seems to have got used to the ‘new guys’ now and follows us around like an old friend.
It can be a tough life being a cat and Tigger throws himself into the sleeping, laying around, yawning, and general relaxing chores with maximum effort. Or maybe minimum, not sure. Whatever, apart from using Jo as his personal cushion he has been absolutely no trouble whatsoever and the beauty of looking after a cat is that we are able to get out for longer periods and really explore the local area.
Walking in Devon
There are so many walks around Moretonhampstead that you could undoubtedly do a different one each day and never use the same footpath. It’s a hikers dream down here. So liking a bit of the old walking we’ve really gone for it and gone out exploring every other day at least. Dartmoor National Park is just a stones throw from here and beautiful villages like Lustleigh, Chagford and North Bovey all have wonderful walking routes.
Lustleigh and Hunters Tor
Lots of local buses connect up the small towns and villages all over Devon but unfortunately most routes only have 1 or 2 buses a day. So if you miss one it’s a long wait. We headed out to Lustleigh, because it looked a lovely walk and also seemed like a semi-saucy type of word (which always makes me laugh, so immature!). A fabulous 8 mile back from the village up onto Lustleigh Cleave and along to Hunters Tor before dropping through Barnecourt and back home.
A lot of the hills in Devon are called Tor’s. It’s an old cornish word for rocky peak or hill and there are lots scattered all over Dartmoor and nearby Bodmin Moor. Right at the top of Hunters Tor we decided it was perfect for a picnic stop so perched on a huge rock with views of another Tor (Hound) in the distance. Idyllic.
The other place we were desperate to see was Fingle Gorge to the North West of Moretonhampstead. Another local bus ride via Chagford dropped us on the edge of the Castle Drogo National Trust estate and at the beginning of another 8 or 9 mile hike. The gorge runs along the River Teign and our walk took us right up onto the western ridge for incredible views before descending down to the famous Fingle Bridge Inn. The Inn sits alongside a 17th century stone packhorse bridge amidst stunning scenery. We took a well earned coffee stop and prepared for the steep climb out of the gorge across the river.
Now the climb was undoubtedly very tough as it was incredibly steep and long up a rocky path but we do a lot of walking and took it at our own pace. However, Jo insisted on chatting incessantly and asking countless questions virtually all the way up when all I wanted to do was get to the top and not talk! So her ‘Isn’t that a funny looking tree’ and ‘How long do you think this path has been here’ and even ‘There don’t seem to be many rabbits do there’ all fell on deaf ears. I’m not very sociable on a steep climb but once we reached the top a bit sweatier and breathing heavily I responded with ‘Yes, Don’t know, No, Yes, Maybe, Of course not’ and ‘if you say so’. All sorted.
After another fabulous picnic lunch stop with classic views we descended through field after field over multiple stiles until we reached Mortenhampstead. An unforgettable walk.
It’s getting quite close now to the time when we will need to decide what we are doing after this ‘UK Housesitting and Volunteering’ stage of our JWalking trip. We’re virtually booked up until mid-October and big discussions are currently underway between us relating to ‘what happens next’. Because neither of us wants to push the other into something they don’t want to do and plus the fact that we really aren’t that decisive it feels like the negotiations are going round and round a bit. We’re just too nice. Anyway, it’s getting close to decision-time and we have a few serious ideas so keep watching this space. Just like a low-budget ‘Channel Cheap +1’ soap opera it’s not always clear what’s going on. But it will be.
Support, Contact and Comments
I’ve said it so many times before but we really do appreciate all of the support that our friends and family have given us over this past couple of years. So many of you have kept up with our little trip and supported our blog leaving countless comments and we truly appreciate it. We seem to have made quite a few new friends along the way too from Airbnb hosts to Housesitting families to new travel blog friends and do our very best to keep in touch with all of you. Thanks so much again for being part of this.
(Oh and don’t forget to comment even if it’s just ‘Hi Jo and Jon’)
03/05 – 07/05/2017