Distance 18.07 miles , cumulative 1,120.35 miles, time 8 hrs 50 mins, walking time 5 hrs 25 mins, pace 3.3 mph, camped Westacott Farm
Our first full day back in Devon. We followed the Tarka Trail into Bideford along the Torridge Estuary. We started the day by dropping into Barnstaple and finding the footbridge we were going to use to cross the River Taw was closed for refurbishment so we were diverted up to the road bridge. From here the Tarka Trail follows an old railway so is very flat and has some long straight and exposed stretches which can catch the wind.
We passed the Royal Marines Amphibious Trials and Training Squadron base just before entering Instow.
By mid morning we had reached Instow and we were met by Bideford resident and long time friend Tony E, who as always was outstanding company. He fed and watered us and handed over some supplies we had left with him over 9 weeks ago, in particular the maps for our final section of the walk. It was good to see him, catch up on some news, talk about the walk and share camping experiences.
Before we knew it over an hour had passed and we got back on the trail crossing the old bridge into Bideford, where we did some shopping and had another feed, at Wetherspoons – sorry Ryan.
We left the Tarka Trail climbing out of Bideford to our campsite (with views out to Lundy Island) for the evening near Abbotsham. Tomorrow we get on to our much loved South West Coast Path (although the Tarka Trail we were on today constitutes a section of the SWCP) which will pretty much take us to Land’s End in 10 days time. We are both wondering where the past 9 weeks has gone, it seems to have flown by.
The weather was glorious all day, the walking was easier and a little shorter, given some of the epic distances we have covered over the past few days and meeting up with Tony made for a great day.