Day 12: Horn’s Cross – Barnstaple

Monday, 01/05/2017
Distance: 32,5 km (20,2 mi) for a total of 313,7 km (195 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 360 m  (1180 ft)

Weather: Rain in the morning fading out to drizzle, sunny afternoon

A totally uneventful day. I took a taxi back to the place where I stopped yesterday. The taxi driver seemed quite happy, obviously he hadn’t reckoned with a passenger that early on a bank holiday morning.

Although at this time it probably wouldn’t have been a problem to walk along the A39 I quitted it at the first reasonable side lane. But I soon had the impression that sticking to these minor streets would require more time than I was willing to spend today. So as soon as I reached a slightly larger road I followed the signs to Bideford and started working down the miles which turned out to be a good decision as I reached the outskirts of Bideford well before lunch time.

Having a tea along the way I made good use of my time by phoning a B&B in Barnstaple which-as I knew-also has a single room. This would have been available for this night only but the owner made me a very good offer for the twinroom for two nights. I didn’t hesitated and booked myself in.

There was another minor road leading perfectly in the direction I needed, and as soon as the building development started I was happy to have my GPSr which helped me to find the shortest way through the streets to my accommodation. Tomorrow, it’ll be a day off. I have to collect a resupply parcel at the post office, spend some time in the launderette and do some major route replanning (and thus perhaps buying another map) as I’ve decided to leave the coast path for an inland route through Exmoor.

The evening saw me in the town centre having a fabulous pizza and and an equally good dessert which gives me any reason to drop dead in a comfy bed.

After one and a half weeks on the track it’s perhaps time for a health check. The back is dealing fine with the pack and its weight although I still would like it somewhat lighter. As already mentioned the right thigh and the knees complain a bit, but I wouldn’t resort to painkillers for a variety of reasons: I don’t want to suppress other body signals as well, I don’t want my body to get used to it (which inevitably would require higher doses over time) and I don’t like the effect of regular intake of painkillers on the kidneys. It will have to become much worse before I make use of this and if my body decides to give in sometime along the way then this is it. I’d never been one for unhealthy ambition.

The feet are holding up fine as well. I rubbed off the top skin layer on both heels the first day which wasn’t a problem of shoes or socks but of temperature. I’ve known this effect for years and am able to deal with it. Ok, walking long distances with a pack didn’t really help and it was painful especially on ascents when pressure was put on the heels, but both are now on the mend and will harden, so no problem here. All’s well with the world  πŸ™‚

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5 thoughts on “Day 12: Horn’s Cross – Barnstaple

  1. well done Mike. How about a swim? Sauna? Good decision to be flexible about the route, too, even if it does mean more maps. I love paper maps and can pore over them for hours. They ‘speak’ to me of possibilities, adventures to be had. For off-road walking I find the canal towpaths really useful. You can eat up the miles in a green, traffic free environment. Enjoy.

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    • Unfortunately, I don’t have my swimming equipment with me, otherwise that would have been an option. But only strolling a bit through town and not carrying the pack helps already. And it’ll be less dramatic ups and downs the next days. The additional map is no problem, in exchange I get rid of the Cicerone map booklet for the northern part of the SWCP, a good trade-off, I’d say.

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    • Hi Graeme, Thanks for your kind words. I hope there’ll be more to enjoy here πŸ™‚ How come you follow someone walking LEJOG? Have you done or planned it yourself?

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  2. I think I randomly came across your blog whilst you were in the planning stage. Not done LEJOG and no plans to do it. In awe of people who do it. I have done some of your route along the SWCP which is more challenging than I expected.
    Good luck and I’ll follow your progress with interest.

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