Monday, June 27, 2011

I’ll tell you what I want – what I really, really want.

But first back to the last days of our Instow holiday. We went north to an old haunt – the Tarka Inn for lunch, dodging the showers and learned that it isn’t residential – just good grub. The weather didn’t encourage wandering up the trail so we called it a day and went back to our comfortable cottage.

There was something about the sound of Hartland, Hartland Quay and Hartland Point that caught my imagination and then when I saw photos I was hooked. Hartland is a small town about three miles inland from Hartland Quay where there is a hotel. From there is a thrilling walk up and down three miles, to the lighthouse at Hartland Point.

I’m not silly and I knew there was no way I could do this alone but it wouldn’t harm to do a bit of a recce so we drove to Hartland, parked by a handy (for lunch later) inn and I left MTL reading the paper whilst I went for a mosey. We didn’t want to risk three miles manoeuvring down a narrow lane so I started walking – just to see what it was like- towards Hartland Quay. It would be worth it if I could catch a glimpse of any of that dramatic coast but no matter how the road dipped and climbed the coast was hidden.

I passed the Abbey which was founded by St Nectar. It was the last monastery to be dissolved in 1539 and Henry V111 gave it to his Keeper of the Wine Cellar – Mr Abbot. There are lovely gardens apparently with paths designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Woodland gardens, a Bog Garden, Victorian Fernery and a secret 18C walled garden. There’s a gazebo overlooking the sea and the house and estate were used as a setting for ‘Sense and Sensibility.’

I was torn and tried to phone MTL but he was switched off! I decided to save these treasures for another time and walk a little further knowing I had to walk back before long. Interestingly the road was perfectly wide enough for two cars to pass with care. Halfway between Hartland and the coast is the little hamlet of Stoke with St Nectar’s Church - the ‘Cathedral of Devon.’ It was originally built as a thanksgiving for deliverance from a shipwreck and the 128’ tower rises in four stages – a landmark to sailors at sea before the lighthouse was built at Hartland Point. Maybe I could climb the tower and get the view I wanted.

When I reached Stoke and established from a lady kneeling in her garden that there were no taxis in Stoke, I took a photo, dismissed the thought of any unnecessary climbing and set off back to find my husband. I had been within one and a half miles of my goal but was now determined to – eventually one day - reach the Quay and maybe persuade a stalwart son to do the cliff walk with me.

Lunch at the handy inn was a great success and I had the best dish of the week: sword fish on a bed of sweet potato wedges with a mango and passion fruit salsa.

See photos below.


Granny Annie said...

From now on, when I go for a walk, I'm going to call it "going for a mosey".

My appetite is stirred for sword fish, sweet potato wedges and passion fruit salad. YUM!

Rog said...

We visited there a few years ago when we stayed at Morwenstowe near a Summer house on the cliffs built by a mad vicar. Lovely.

DUTA said...

It appears you've had a perfect vacation. The landscape, the inn, the food (fish, chips) look all very inviting.

Pat said...

Granny Annie: I always assumed it was and American expression.

Rog: it's fairly new to us. I'll have to look up Morwenstowe. The mad vicar sounds like fun:)

DUTA: it suits us very well at this stage in our lives.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I like your intrepid spirit. Walking is the best way to explore or rediscover a place.

I'm a pain to walk with...I want to look at every bug, bird, bee, flower, leaf.

I think moseying along is American, well, I've heard it in cowboy films.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Being nosy, I'm waiting to hear what you really really want :-)

Jimmy said...

The Hartland Quay hotel, would that be the weathered treasure that sits atop the cliff and offers views so breathtaking that you have to look again and again?

The superb wee village of Stoke could well have been the quaint and very wonderful Scilly Isles, all be it the weather. Nice people too,considering they are tribal Celts.

If I remember correctly, Siobhan tucked into a traditional suet meat and kidney pud with the tastiest home made gravy since before the days of Warden Files.

I had the fish since you asked.

Pat said...

GG: to do the walk with one of my sons. Was I not direct enough? It's a lot to ask and it's probably pie in the sky.

Jimmy: the Scillys are on my wish list - and they are not a million miles from here. The home made gravy has swung it.
I've often wondered about the Warden and how he suddenly disappeared. He was a comfort in your absence.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

My, Lord, how beautiful. Wish I was there right now. If I were independently wealthy, I'd split my time between there, London, NYC and the Caribbean. What?! A guy can dream!

And NO THANK YOU for the earworm. Curses.

Pat said...

UB: I've never been to the Caribbean and of course Devon is vastly different to London.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Oops, I was being a lazy reader. I'd read about your hope to walk with your son...but didn't connect.

If I were independently wealthy, I'd spend time in the Caribbean too :-) I mean, proper-proper Caribbean.

Some places in Jamaica remind me of England, especially some parts of St. Mary.

Pat said...

GG: don't worry - one of my sons missed the point:)
I always think of Noel in Jamaica. What larks they must have had.

Miss Scarlet said...

I have also visited Hartland Quay a few times - it's glorious. And I love a drive along the Atlantic road. Wonderful.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I think Elizabeth Barrett-Browning was from Jamaica. I sort of remember a little home which someone had pointed out to me, saying it once belonged to her family.

Pat said...

Scarlet: wish you were here so I could pick your brains. Is the drive from Stoke to Hartland Quay reasonable for two oldies?

GG: I didn't know that but will have a google:)

Pat said...

GG:"Elizabeth Barrett, an English poet of the Romantic Movement, was born in 1806 at Coxhoe Hall, Durham, England. The oldest of twelve children, Elizabeth was the first in her family born in England in over two hundred years. For centuries, the Barrett family, who were part Creole, had lived in Jamaica, where they owned sugar plantations and relied on slave labour. Elizabeth's father, Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, chose to raise his family in England, while his fortune grew in Jamaica."
Who'd have thunk! Clever girl


kenju said... and passion fruit salsa! Sounds heavenly. I wish I could take walks with you, Pat. You'd spur me on, no doubt!

Miss Scarlet said...

I remember that the lanes that we drove along were very narrow.
I remember there was a bit where reversing would be necessary if another car came along... I am due another trip out, so I will suggest going over there again. The last time I visited was New Year's Day, 2010... and there was a pub at the end of a very narrow lane where we stopped for a drink. It was packed. I will let you know next time I visit.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

You are so adventurous, Pat...And I love that you are so agile and mobil...! Such BEAUTIFUL Country, my dear....Picturesqye, beyond words....And those last pictures by Johnson)?) Really give one the feeling of the Height of thpse Cliffs....!
Yummy looking lunches, too, my dear....!

Nea said...

Thank you Pat for taking the time to let us tag along with you. I've been catching up on your last few weeks. The scenery has been stunning, the food tempting and the company of the best, educational and entertaining.

And a big thank you for Old Filth, I loved him. The man in the wooden hat is next on my list.

LL Cool Joe said...

I'll pass on the sword fish, but the chips look good! Ok my taste in food isn't very sophisticated.

Lovely set of photos too. Very beautiful.

..and now I'm hungry..

Pat said...

Judy: I wish you could too:)

Scarlet: my plan would be to stay a night at the pub and walk to the Point the next day - not sure of the logistics after that. Any info gratefully received:)

Nea: so glad you enjoyed it. I've just received my order of a further two Jane Gardhams. Can she continue to be brilliant?

LL Cool Joe: your taste in food is similar to my husbands then:)
The very dramatic photos weren't mine alas.