Yes, we drove the entire route, but the photo may provide a clue where we stopped for a break. As retirees, we don’t do long drives at home, so why did we complete this one, especially considering it included the M5 & M6?
The previous week, we received sad news of the sudden passing of a good family friend, who we had known since the early 1970’s. We wanted to attend the funeral, so did my dad. However, we had his car, so he would have to catch a bus from St Andrews to Prestwick. At 86, we didn’t want him spending hours on buses.
Solution – cut our 5 days in Cornwall to 1 night and drive back to St. Andrews on Sunday.
The forecast, for our last day in Devon, was nothing but sunshine, a perfect day to check out some of the amazing South Devon beaches. In addition, we expected to experience many of the infamous single track lanes, so prevalent in rural Devon.
After a quick breakfast we departed the condo, heading south on the A381 towards Totnes, where we transitioned to more rural roads, heading for the coast.
During our first couple of days we toured the local coastline and Dartmoor, then on the Tuesday and Wednesday we enjoyed a small family reunion, meeting with a couple of Judi’s cousins. One lives a few miles away in Bovey Tracey, while the other is from Weston-Super-Mare. We all met at our condo for a re-union and dinner on Tuesday, then we headed to Bovey Tracey the following day.
Growing up in UK, I had heard lots of stories about Dartmoor, the large area of somewhat desolate moorland in Southern Devon. It was famous for its wild ponies and craggy landscape, which I recall was used extensively for military and non-military survival training.
The moors contain UK’s largest area of granite, with much of Dartmoor covered in exposed granite peaks, known locally as “tors“. As we discovered, the area is also susceptible to abundant rainfall, resulting in extensive areas of bogs and peat. Granite and bogs, an interesting combination of 2 extremes.
Therefore, this was another area of UK, which I had not previously seen, that I was really looking forward to visiting.
On our first day in Devon, we decided to check out the local coast between Teignmouth and Torquay, with both places being less than 10 miles from our condo. The forecast included sunny periods in the morning and early afternoon, changing to clouds and rain by late afternoon/early evening.
Departing Henley-on-Thames we headed to Shaftesbury in Dorset, to spend a few days with a long time family friend, who visited us in Vancouver, many years ago, for our wedding. After many weeks of playing tourist and driving the length and breadth of UK, it was a very pleasant and relaxing few days.
However, one of the days we did head out for a drive, visiting a couple of local attractions, and enjoying both lunch and dinner at local restaurants.
On our 2nd and final day in Henley, we decided to take the 20 mile drive to Windsor, visiting Runnymede for the location of the Magna Carta signing and the Air Forces Memorial. In addition, no visit to Windsor is complete without seeing Windsor Castle, another of Her Majesty’s Royal Palaces.
After a leisurely breakfast at the Barge Inn, I headed to the station for the car, then picked up Judi in front of the Inn. Departing about 09:30, we hoped to avoid the worst of Greater London’s gridlock traffic.
Our first day in Henley-on Thames was a pleasant day, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures approaching more like summers norms. Based of the summer weather, to date, this was probably going to be our best day in Henley, so we elected to explore the town, and take a short cruise on the River Thames.
Departing the Lake District, we headed over to the M6, turning south towards our next destination, Henley-on-Thames, home of the world famous Henley Regatta. Unfortunately the regatta was early July and we were visiting in August. During our 2 days in Henley, we planned to visit Windsor Castle & Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was signed, and take a cruise along the River Thames.