Thanks to those of you who left such kind comments on the previous post.
Day 3 - Kingsbridge to Dartmouth
I woke early again as the sun came streaming through the window and the birds were singing. I had planned to do a short walk - supposed to take about 2 hours according to the leaflet - before setting off on the bus to Dartmouth. I ate my breakfast, thinking how lovely it was not to have to prepare it (not that my normal breakfast requires much in the way of preparation) and to get up and leave it all for someone else to clear away, vacated my room and arranged to leave my bag to be picked up on my return from the walk and set off.
It was pleasant walking early in the day before the sun was too high and the heat of the day would have made it too uncomfortable.
Around here I was lost again but again fortunately I was able to ask directions.
Now I was on what the leaflet described as a "rocky lane" cut deep into the steep Devon banks with foxgloves and other wildflowers growing along the way. Along here I met a young woman with 3 dogs and we stopped to pass the time of day before I overtook her (one of the dogs was elderly otherwise I wouldn't have been able to walk faster than she could I'm sure!).
Back in Kingsbridge the tide was well and truly in and the Quay did indeed look lovely! The bus I was to get was the number 93 to Dartmouth which was supposed to be particularly scenic. If you click on the link you can see a YouTube video about the route (I can't figure out how to add it other than as a link!) Bear in mind that I was taking the journey in the opposite direction to that of the video ie going towards Dartmouth rather than leaving from there.
Slapton Sands is today a peaceful place but it wasn't always so and it is the site of a notorious exercise Operation Tiger which went tragically wrong back in 1944.
Blackpool Sands which is lovely, a privately owned beach which has kept the worst excesses of beach commercialism at bay apparently. It did look nice apart from the large car park filled with shining cars radiating heat in the hot sunshine!
Once again my B&B was up a hill and by now it was lunchtime so very hot work climbing the long steep (or so it seemed!) hill. Having arrived at the B&B I found my room was on the top floor up 4 flights of stairs - I should be fit by the time I finish with this trip!
This is my view. I settled in and had a welcome drink from the bottle of water provided before walking back to the town for a sandwich which I ate, along with the rest of the water, in the gardens near the waterfront. Having eaten I set off to explore the town - it is well known for being the home of the Britannia Royal Naval College an imposing building high above the town which we had passed in the bus. The town has many narrow streets with lots of art galleries and boutique shops along with the usual cafes and coffee shops.
There were interesting looking old buildings as you can see.
And it is steeped in history.
I wandered round to Bayards Cove and discovered that as the plaque says ...
Royal Hotel built in the 17th century whose rooms will set you back over £200 per night for a double room with river view so not suited to my budget! Do check out the link though for more info on the area.
And the harbour again this time in the sunshine as it was morning rather than late afternoon. For more on Dartmouth click on the link
This time I was to get this bus the Stagecoach Gold to Torquay. You will note the bars on the front of the top deck - most of the double deckers in the area had these and you could see why when we plunged into tree tunnels and under overhanging branches! The top deck needed some form of protection from the trees - it can't do the paintwork much good! This bus was meant to be a little bit of luxury with hand stitched Italian leather seats and free wi-fi and I see from the webpage that
Our chief executive Sir Brian Souter wanted to develop a product which gave something back to our loyal customer base. Our research had highlighted that key elements of the bus journey, including clean vehicles, friendly drivers, comfortable seats and pleasant surroundings contributed greatly to our customers overall journey experience.! Surely we could reasonably expect clean vehicles and comfortable seats on any bus? But maybe not.
Another pleasant route apart from long delays due to roadworks in Paignton - hope they get finished before the holiday season really gets into full swing.
I got off the bus at Torquay right outside Debenhams so I nipped in to make use of their facilities and took this photo from the window of the cafe - though I didn't buy anything to eat or drink.
I didn't have long to wait for the next bus on my itinerary the Number 11 to Teignmouth - take a ride with the video above. (How is it that I have managed to add this video when I couldn't the earlier one?)
winter storms - hard to imagine today isn't it?!
I liked Teignmouth - it seemed a more genteel sort of seaside than Torquay and I bought a sandwich and a drink and sat by the sea with my lunch under the beady eye of a seagull who was hoping I might share with him!
Leaving Teignmouth an hour or so later I got the last bus of my trip to Exeter this time our route at times was close to the Exe estuary.
Not long now till I reached Exeter where I had time for a cup of tea in John Lewis before making my way to the station for the train home. The journey which had taken me about 4 hours on 3 different buses a few days earlier took me just an hour on the train and Mr M was waiting at the station to pick me up.
I had thoroughly enjoyed my few days on my own in a stunning part of England with the added bonus of wall to wall sunshine and I can't wait to go again sometime. I came home fired with interest in finding out more about the places I'd been and things I'd seen. There was so much I now wanted to know and of course it not being far distant I can always go back another time to visit those places I wish I had been able to spend more time in. I already plan to visit Dartington Hall again, to explore more of the beautiful grounds, for the day - and if I don't go by bus maybe Mr M will join me too.
Was there anything I'd do differently? Well for a start I will buy a smaller, lighter backpack and cut right down on what I take - just a couple of pairs of clean knickers and a toothbrush perhaps! I might stay in one place and go off out for days, if I can decide on somewhere to be based which has a good bus service to plenty of other places, as then I wouldn't have to carry the bag so much of the time and maybe I'd spend more time on foot and less on the bus another time but otherwise not really - I love the adventure of going by bus and it appeals to my penny pinching nature to be doing it for nothing with my bus pass! Why would I want the worry of passports and insurance, flights delayed or cancelled, air traffic control strikes, foreign currency, language problems and so on when I can holiday right here? It is a greener way to travel and my carbon footprint is kept to a minimum (I also got 5% of the price of my room at the Dartmoth B&B since I had not come by car!). I love double decker bus travel when you can see over the tops of hedges, into peoples gardens and go to places you'd never visit by car and to let someone else do the driving whilst just sitting back and enjoying the ride is my idea of bliss. I found everyone so friendly and helpful too so here's to the next BBB trip. If I get another trip worked out I might be able to fit in a September break perhaps before the evenings draw in and the days become short. Now where is that map and those timetables?! Want to come with me?!