Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Day 01 : Plymouth to Ivybridge - 30km

A pleasant walk through somewhat varied countryside starting with urban Plymouth which is pretty in the centre near the harbour, but less so near the periphery as winding streets give way to small industrial estates, hand car washes and McDonald's drive throughs. Within a few miles the walk had dissolved into woodland, fields and the unusual and reclusive landscape of small mud filled estuaries draining into Plymouth Sound. 

The walk was rather more hilly than I had expected. Not to bring out a chin-dripping sweat but not a stroll over undulating fields either. I had forgotten how as a child my family drove tediously through tiny lanes on our way to our annual summer holiday, climbing and falling over banks of red-soiled fields with the slow rhythm of 'forget the city' you are in a different place now. My legs remembered those hidden valleys today!

The distance from Plymouth to Ivybridge was more than I find comfortable for a day's walk. At 30km, it seems impossible to not stray into zombie-like plodding somewhere toward the end. And my heels hurt too! All that training for the Hastings half marathon in April has taken its toll! I'm left with sore Achilles that nag endlessly when asked to do anything more than, we'll actually, nothing at all! And even then they nag when I get out of my chair and walk a few steps! I'm hopeful/assuming that they will calm down and return to normal sometime soon, but maybe walking over a hundred miles isn't the kind of respite they needed?

It rained today! Morning sunshine slithered into a persistent drizzle heavy enough to have me stop, pack the fleece and break out the Goretex! For miles I trudged through dripping woods, pungent with the scent of wild garlic and occasionally, where on brighter days the sun reliably reached the ground, flushed with the purple of early bluebells. But mostly, just carpeted with gorgeous swathes of white garlic. 

As I got closer to Ivybridge, the first hills of Dartmoor came into view, naked and very different from the farmland and woodland I have walked through today. So tomorrow it's up into the moors. Thankfully a shorter day of only about 20km but perhaps challenging if the weather turns bad.

For now it's pub food, a couple of pints and bed. My sore feet can dream of Dartmoor tomorrow.

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