The day dawned fine, sunny and warm and we left home at around 10 o’clock, anticipating a long drive with plenty of stops to accommodate Paul’s poorly back/leg/hip. Poor Mum was feeling nauseous, which we hoped (and this later turned out to be correct) that it might be attributable to a change of meds. A reasonably trouble-free journey with only a couple of “pinch-points” (Bridport & Totnes) saw us arrive on site by around 3ish. We were staying at the Dartmouth C&CC site.
We had a couple of hours to kill as the B&B was not available until 5 so we had a cuppa and then went off to explore Dartmouth. We visited Dartmouth Castle – and had an ice-cream and then a quick whizz round the Dartmouth one way system to the guest house – 8 Bells, in Dartmouth town.
The location was perfect, with a great view of the River Dart and its bustling boating scenes. We dropped Mum & Uncle D (henceforth M&UD) off, and got them settled in. Mum’s bedroom was the one pictured top left on the B&B’s website. Not bad eh? We had already booked for dinner and so arranged to pick up at 7. We drove off and had a quick look at Blackpool Sands but could not get out as they have a strictly no dogs policy, sadly.
Back to the site and a bit of unpacking and before we knew it, it was time to pick up M&UD and go to Tuckenhay, and The Maltsters Arms, our supper venue.
This pub is in a beautiful location overlooking the beautiful River Dart – some people arrive by boat, some by car. We had a very nice meal indeed.
M&UD had good reports of their B&B and of the trouble that the proprietor had gone to so that Mum did not have to tackle the stairs for her breakfast – which is where the dining room is. Comfy beds too, so all well.
The weather had deteriorated as expected (although more so!) and we decide coastal was probably best left so we headed off inland towards Dartmoor. But first, a trip across the Lower Dartmouth Ferry and a brief visit to Darthaven Marina , where Paul met one of his old colleagues.
Our first point of call was Widecombe in the Moor, made famous by Uncle Tom Cobley (and all) where a break in the clouds allowed a short look round the gift shops. Then it was off to Princetown for a glimpse of the famous prison. It looked very foreboding, looming out of the mist, even though it no longer accommodates high-risk prisoners.
Our next stop was at Dartmeet – the confluence of the East and West Dart rivers, both tributaries of the Dart river. The spot is popular with tourists (although less so today!) and has a pretty clapper bridge.
After a short photo opportunity, we made our way to Tavistock – the birthplace of Sir Francis Drake. It was pasty time! We bought from the “Original Pasty Shop” – a somewhat dubious claim but nice nevertheless! We both broke with tradition however, with Paul choosing a Spicy Chicken and Chorizo and I had Cheese and Bacon. Mmmmm. It was also break in the rain time and we had a short walk around – nice independent shops. We like!
We were about an hour away from home now and made our way back, dropping off M&UD, with a view to picking them up at dinner time again.
We were off to Harberton for dinner tonight – to the Church House, which we had visited before, many years previously. The food was good then and we had high hopes of it still being so. We were not disappointed and had another lovely meal.
A much better day weather-wise, thank goodness so we struck off for the coast. First stop was Blackpool Sands, but an even shorter stop this time as the car park was closed. We then made our way through some very narrow lanes to East Portlemouth, stopping at a ford for a few photos on the way. We thought the passenger ferry to Salcombe might be an option, but access was very steep so it was not practical, sadly. The beautiful unspoilt beach also looked tempting but, again, impractical.
So – off to Salcombe it was, via Kingsbridge and Frogmore, which was where we bought our pasty lunch. I had probably the best beef pie I have ever had – simply gorgeous and a 10 out of 10 from me. The boys gave their HUGE traditional pasties an 8.
We’re not sure which town we prefer actually. Dartmouth or Salcombe. It’s a tough one!
It was fine enough for an explore of the shops. Again, some lovely little indepents. We particularly liked Seasalt. Mum bought a lovely new jacket there and we all bought some attractive jute bags, as gifts.
An ice-cream and then it was time to make our way back to Dartmouth. A lovely day all round.
Our dinner venue tonight was the Red Lion in Dittisham – again on the Dart but not such a good location. A bit of delay for dinner as there was a big party in, but this provoked a long reminiscing session and I heard things from both M&UD that I had never heard before- particularly about their experiences during the war and UD’s experiences in hospital as a boy.
Typically, today was a beautiful day – just right for our journey home! We had arranged a late pick-up for M&UD and they spent the time watching the rowing races on the first day of Dartmouth regatta. We reluctantly left Dartmouth, vowing to return again before too long. We want to take Evie and Lenny crabbing!