Saturday 16 January 2016

Friday 15th January fresh to strong NW sunny intervals, hail showers

The road today will be hilly. The wind today will be obliquely in my face. The weather forecast says showers. I set off.
No birds in the hedgerows today, I pass the spot where two male cirl buntings were the other day. The wind is keeping them down. The big push begins and the day alternates between long up sections through beautiful wood, down steep brake-screeching falls and flat river side roads.
Between Chudleigh and Bovey Tracy there is a road block, possibly due to flooding. I have to go around the diversion.
Beyond the latter the climb to get to the top of the Dartmoor plateau is long and tortuous. Today is turning into one of the hardest days for months. Hail showers add to the fun!
The top though is beautiful in full sunshine now with the grey and white curtain of the receding hail departing to the south. The two Tors to the north have brown bracken patches with green pathways and exposed rocky outcrops to tempt the walker to climb.
Day after day, alone on a hill , , , ,

Through Widecombe, all this is taking a lot longer than expected, and up again. The road sign stops saying Dartmeet and I turn for Postbridge. The road become one long sheet of ice and snow and skating away on the thin ice of new day becomes my task for the next few miles, slowing me down even further.

Reaching Postbridge, the main road is clear of ice but narrowed by snow. Half way to Two Bridges the views over Dartmoor are stunning, old yellow grass stems poking through the snow, all stand out as the Sun sets.

A very good friend, Lee Dark, has been texting me all day as to my progress and now meets me in the fading light for a brief chat. We are both worried about the state of the road as darkness falls and the temperature drops below freezing.
In the dark, past Dartmoor prison, I plummet off the moorland and down to Tavistock. The owner of tonight's bed & breakfast, Kingfisher Cottage at Tavistock, phones me as I am screeching down the last hill drop; I must change the front brake block! He was worried about me, as it is now near half past six. Two minutes later we are chatting as the kettle boils.

The Green Year list still stands at 115. The average mileage for January is now approaching 31 miles per day. Today's elevation is more than the height of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain. Ouch!

41.09 miles 4423 feet elevation up 4134 feet elevation down

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