Day 13: Sticklepath to Crediton

Total miles: 15.1

Elevation gain: 1,217 ft

Time walking: 10am – 6pm

Miles to date: 176.9

Well, yesterday was always going to be a tough act to follow! Route wise I have to say that today was fairly uninteresting. Mostly country roads with a few miles on footpaths and bridleways which were pleasant enough but not a huge amount to write home about. We walked through a pretty village called Spreyton which had an nice-looking pub (but not open between 3-6ish) and at some point I did enjoy walking through a field of broad beans and eating a few straight from the pod. Sorry Mr Farmer, they were very much appreciated though!

What made today lovely however was the people. Ged and Janet, my lovely hosts from last night took me out for a delicious full cooked breakfast and coffee, a very good start to any hiker’s day! And then Viv arrived, my first guest walker! It was amazing to have some company for the day, as whilst I love walking on my own, it makes a very pleasant change to have someone to natter away the miles with. Sadly it wasn’t the most exciting day for Viv to be walking with me, and it was actually a more hilly day that I thought (whilst I’m perfectly capable of figuring out how hilly a day is going to be by looking at the map, I’ve gotten a bit lazy…the odd hill here and there is all part and parcel of the day for me now! Unless it’s a big one I don’t take huge amounts of notice (until I’m halfway up it, panting!)) but she was a great sport and despite her feet giving her some grief we had a lovely day whiling away the hours and miles catching up on all sorts of interesting stuff! Viv knows a fair bit about plants and it was fascinating to learn from her a little more about the plants we saw. At one point we came across a super mushroom – it looked like a fairy’s dining table!

Viv and her family are thinking of walking Hadrian’s Wall path later in the year so this was a kickstart to her training. I hope I haven’t put her off!  Especially as she brought me some exciting snacks!

View over farmland – a rather typical view of the day (when we found gaps in the hedges!)

The other nice thing about having someone else along is that it made me stop and take breaks more often, which was good for me today as my feet were aching a bit today. I also was wearing thicker socks (my favourite pair really need washing now…I need to buy another pair of those!) so my feet were getting a bit hot and sticky – not good as hot and sticky breeds blisters… thankfully blister-wise my feet are doing fantastically. I have two blister-like patches on my inner heel where previously hardened-over blisters have softened, but I don’t think they will cause me any real trouble. As long as they keep hardening up again! I am incredibly grateful that my feet seem to be ok other than aching, I have to admit I am terrified at the thought of bad blisters!

Today apart from the aching feet I can really feel my calves. I should have done a bit more stretching when I first finished! I have done a bit this evening but they are really feeling it today. I think a combination of lots of steep ascent yesterday and a fairly hilly day today. My back is also starting to tighten up, I did a few twist stretches and was amazed at how tight I felt. Think I need to start doing some yoga daily! I just seem to run out of time though. My daily routine is pretty much wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack up, walk, shower, eat, chat, next day map check, blog, sleep. There have only been a handful of days, the shorter ones, where I actually would have time for much more! But the stretching definitely needs to go in there somewhere!

Walking buddy!

But anyway, having dropped off Viv in Yeoford having walked 11.1 miles, I completed the final 4 alone, firstly along roads, then along a bridle path running along a maize field (glad I wasn’t actually riding a horse!) and noticed that the soil is incredibly red around here. It’s bizarre! The final bit of the day’s walk was a nice clear and flat footpath through fields near the River Yeo to meet my friend at Crediton train station. It felt a bit strange, being driven away from my route for the night, but Antonia reassured me she will drop me off at exactly the place she picked me up from! And I have a lovely four poster bed tonight in a beautiful old house, so I am definitely not complaining! Antonia and her family kindly treated me to a delicious dinner at a nice pub nearby – I’m feeling very spoilt on this trip!

Really red soil!

Am now very sleepy again but in bed way before midnight which is progress! I have a long day tomorrow – about 20 miles – but Antonia is going to join me for the first 6 so I get another part-day of company, yay! And thankfully tomorrow should be reasonably flat after the first few miles as I’ll be following the River Exe all the way into Tiverton. At least navigating should be easy!

Oh, and I just worked out I’ve completed just under 20,000 ft of ascent so far. That’s 2/3rds the height of Everest!!

And there’s still plenty to come…!

Night night lovely people xx

Day 13 route

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