Well we were meant to drive down to Croyde in Devon (past Sommerset but not quite Cornwall) to catch up with Dani, Meredith, Don, Barnaby, Sue, Audrey, Sarah, et al. However, not all went to plan, but all good regardless.
Mark and I got the tube to Heathrow - annoying and long at the best of times - then we hired a car from there for our drive. That was good and I even got to watch the planes landing, which is quite fun as there are lots.
We headed out on the M4 across to Bristol and did a loop from their, avoiding both Bristol and Bath, down to Cheddar. Yes, the cheese place. We drove through gorgeous countryside and the spectacular cliffs of Cheddar Gorge, this is where they originally made the cheese in the caves. We had a lunch, bought some cheese, chutneys, fudges (clotted cream fudge... wish I could share) and then continued on. The weather was a tad gloomy and getting colder by the minute.
We headed across to the A39, which takes you across the top of the coast and the Exmoor. Fortunately for us the sun came out and it was just beautiful driving out that way. There were seaside towns, of Minehead, and gorgeous cliff side beach/fishing seaside towns like Porlock, Lynmouth and Lynten along the way. Across the top we briefly stopped to check out the view across the moors and down to Porlock beach; we could even see all the way over to Wales!
Finally we made our way down towards Barnstaple and then finally wound our way past Staunton into Croyde. It was bursting at the seams, the little tiny roads were overflowing with keen surfing holiday makers and the pub - the Thatch - was just packed. We managed to get into the campsite, wack up the tent and headed down to the Thatch to meet everyone.
It was great and Mark and I had the best Nachos that we've had in ages. It was a good catch up, even though we hiked to bed early, by 12, narrowly avoiding the town halls Reggae themed party, which was full of 13 year olds despite the 18 and overs policy at the door. We also had a good hot chocolate full of marshmallows, though I had 4 as opposed to Dani's 10, she is a bit greedy!! Haa.
That night it rained quite a lot, and the next morning it wasn't getting any better, and worst of all their was no surf (yes, apparently they get some sort of baby surf, but its the sort that Australian surfers wouldn't even bother with) so we all decided to pull up sticks and head back to London. Before we headed back we all had a big lunch at the Thatch pub, and again the food was amazing. There was also the local duck race - which our ducks didn't win. The drive back was gloomy as with so much rain, it was never ending. Even as we approached London, the blackest cloud you could find was covering over the top of the city.
But you know what, we had a great time, caught up with great friends and we saw lots of beautiful countryside. It still astounds me how England can be so tiny, but within 25miles out of London, you are just smack bang in the middle of rolling, lush green countryside. Just stunning.
Mark on the Moors
Porlock view from Moors
Mmmm...beanies in Summer!
Mark and Sarah
Mark and Lisa