After a suitably restful nights sleep, we returned to Ash Priors to continue the journey. With the sun shining and the forecast dry, we’d decided against gaiters, which immediately turned out to be a bad move. The land out of Ash Priors was an overgrown and muddy swamp, and we slowly picked our way through to avoid getting overly muddy.
Fortunately the going improved and we picked out way across fields, but Hilfarrance brought the next dilemma, with a footbridge and path no longer in existence despite being on the maps. It was either a mile of road, or a mile and a half of diversion along the River Tone. We took the later for the tranquility, but it was probably more like an extra mile as the path closely followed the bends of the river, not the straight line shown on the map.
Back on track, and after a stop at The Worlds End pub for a coffee, we continued, soon crossing the M5 which was virtually silent as we approached, but the noise lingered longer as we started the climb over the Blackdown Hills. We soon got great views behind us, laying out the achievements so far, and views back towards home ground around Wiveliscombe.
Onwards into the woods and the climb up Blagdon Hill, starting easily but then deteriorating into another overgrown and muddy path. We slipped and slithered our way and we’re glad when that was over but alas could not celebrate at the Holman Clavell pub as it was closed.
We plodded on, hot and tiring, and had lots of lanes rather than footpaths on this side of the hill. A brief stop in Otterford to admire the church, then on towards Bishopswood. We considered cutting a corner by walking along the side of a larger road but one look said it would be deeply unpleasant, so we stuck to the lanes.
We took what should have been a shortcut to miss out a steep but of road, preferring a footpath, but for the third time this day, ended up in a boggy morass that added more time.
By now we were late to arrive at the B&B but I phoned ahead and they were fine, including pushing the pub reservation back for dinner. More plodding on, all now fairly done in for the day, but finally staggering in to the B&B in Marsh an hour and a half later than expected.
I’d suffered badly with hay fever all day, the first time this year, so was glad to get showered and into fresh clothes. Not that it made much difference, and I continued to suffer through dinner.
But fed and watered, our spirits improved, but we were all happy to get to bed for the onward journey to the Land of Nod.