From the walk diary
"It was raining again. The plan for the day was to walk to Witheridge, then be brought back to John and Valerie`s again for one last night. I had been looking forward to this day, especially because for the first time I would be on the actual Two Moors Way.
I set off at about eleven. If it was raining before I left, it was raining even more heavily once I was nearing Batsworthy Cross. And it was very windy too. I was high up in the open, with the wind roaring in my ears when my mobile rang. It made me think of Father Ted, who used to call his friend at all the wrong moments, so that he (the friend) would miss a turn, and drive off a cliff, or something similar. I managed to get my mobile out of my pocket to say hello. It was Henry Lewis, from London.
"Hello," he said "Where are you?" I told him and asked if he could hear the wind roaring. He said he could. He said all this bad weather only enhanced my walk, demonstrating my determination to continue despite all difficulties. That was an interesting thought.
He also said that the show was coming on really well, and the actors were brilliant. "It`s great what you are doing" he said, "You must keep it up after this is over.... go on to other places."
"That`s a good idea" I said, thinking of Scotland, and Wales, and all the other places that are threatened, like the Essex Marshes.
He said goodbye, and I walked on, cheered up despite the rain. I could see myself walking on like this for years.
Then I fell over and twisted my ankle and wondered if I could make it another few yards. And just to help matters, when I tried my mobile it said "No network coverage." Suddenly the fact that there was never any traffic on these tiny little roads didn`t seem quite such a good thing after all. In fact it was, because having to hobble along it gradually became easier, and in the end I did make it to Witheridge, despite rain, ankle and a lucky escape from a tree that fell over the road.
January 15th 2008 - update... As I hobbled up Betham Hill towards Witheridge, I had no idea then that I was within yards of another future site. Four 100m turbines are planned at Pilliven Farm just sutside Witheridge. For up to date news about this, go to their page on http://www.savenorthdevon.com
Poster near Batsworthy Cross
Just a few minutes before I fell I took this photograph....
This tree came down across the road... an indication of the strength of the wind this day.
I had planned to take the Two Moors Way footpaths through the woods and by the river, but my ankle was far too painful so I had to stick to the road.
The www.savenorthdevon.com page about the Pillivan site: on the map you can see Bradford Moor Plantation, the tree that fell down was on the road beside it.
2008 update: the Pilliven site is at the top of the hill in the above photo, on the left hand side
These are photographs I took several years earlier, of part of the route I would have taken, but for my fall.
There are some beautiful walks around Witheridge. The following five photographs were all taken back in 2003, when I had an Exhibition at The Angel Of Witheridge. The Exhibition was part of the Beaford Arts Travelling Scheme, where events are taken into villages.
The Angel of Witheridge - on a sunnier day! On the right, you can see the interior of the pub - and one of my paintings on the wall, from when the Exhibition was on.
A view of the church.
On the left, another view of the interior, and you can also see Clarissa Hummerstone and Betty Kimberley, from Torrington, who came over to see the Exhibition. I stayed with Clarissa and her husband Jeremy later on during the walk.
Witheridge Square, a last photo from the past. It still looks the same.
And here I am, on a campaigner's sofa, as the ankle became bigger and more swollen, and I wondered what would happen next.
|More from the diary:
"The Angel of Witheridge is a pub that welcomes walkers - it has a sign saying this in the doorway, which was very reassuring, as following my fall, I was not only wet but muddy as well. Several years before I had an Exhibition in the Angel, with twenty paintings that stayed there for about ten days. It was put on by Beaford Arts as part of the Beaford Arts Touring Scheme, and I got to know the village well, and to like it very much. Witheridge is what I would call a real village, with thriving shops and pubs and community life, and it is set in some beautiful countryside.
The painting above is of Witheridge Church from the Two Moors Way that passes through the village - I did it for the Exhibition. I also got to know Ella Gheiss who runs the Pub, with her parents, so it was nice to see her again, and have a cup of tea there.
A friend from the Two Moors Way Campaign came to pick me up. She had wanted to show me some other parts of Creacombe and Rackenford, but once again the rain was too heavy,. so we went back to her place for tea and toast. By then my ankle had swollen badly, and I spent some time with it in a bucket of cold water, which seemed to help.
She took me back, and was invited to stay to supper as well by Valerie. We had soup, and something else that was delicious (I will remember later what it was) and debated the next day`s walk. By then my ankle was so swollen I could barely stand on it, so it didn`t look good. Would I have to abandon the walk.......?