Saturday 16th January Light NW Sunny intervals 8C
Dipper from the bedroom window, now is that a way to get a year tick? A kingfisher lands in a nearby bush and a grey wagtail lands on the rock vacated by the dipper.
All this is before a substantial army-style breakfast from an ex-Army soldier.
Thanking Paul for a great Bed and Breakfast (Kingfisher cottage, Tavistock), I head into the town to find a cycle repair shop. I need new brake blocks as the downhill screeching heard over Dartmoor wasn't from me.
Martin at Tavistock Cycles has such items and a long chat with another Martin, a customer in the shop with his wife, is about a mutual passion, Aston Villa. Along the lines of “I was there when . . . “, the customer Martin recalls the 1971 Villa versus Bournemouth match. “What a classic diving header!” I had a claxon at that match, an old plunger type that can be heard on youtube. I dropped it, lost forever when Andy Lochhead got the second to win the game for the Villa in front of 48,000 fans.
A phone call to the shop tells me that I have left my binoculars at the bed and breakfast. Senior moment.
Standing on the bridge with binoculars got, I watch and video a pair of dippers downstream.
The road towards my next destination is tough, especially at the spot where I cross the Tamar river and enter Cornwall. The hill is interminable and the push is exhausting.
Reaching Siblyback Lake at around 3:00pm I cycle around to the north end where the bird I am after is a long way from the shore, a red-headed smew.
My evening and night is spent in the bird hide here accompanied by a tawny owl. The owl was outside!
The Green Year list now stands at 117, fifteen ahead of where I was at this time last year.
23.16 miles 2356 feet elevation up 1926 feet elevation down