Holidays and Other Excursions

Month: May 2017


Wednesday 24 May 2017

Much brighter and a lot warmer today – so we can have the top down on the TT as we head over to Dartmouth which is on the eastern side of this particular piece of sticking out part of South Devon.  We know we have visited Dartmouth several times before, once staying in an apartment which was  over an early Easter weekend in March (when I did not have to work, in April it was always year end work) and we used the Dartmouth Steam Railway for a return trip to Paignton.   We also had a second visit staying in a nearby hotel when we went to John Burton-Race’s Angel restaurant, now closed.  Both trips were with Stephanie.

When we arrive in Dartmouth the main car park is full but we manage to find a parking space on the road – but we are only allowed two hours; we rather hope that the wardens will not be around today.  We walk to Mitch Tonks’s restaurant –  “The Seahorse” – as our lunchtime destination.

We have asparagus (sparrow grass) to start.  Fresh as it is the asparagus time of year with a very nice sauce as shown on the left.

To the right is Jackie’s main course of hake.

I have a whole John Dory which was a nice piece of fish.  As usual Jackie asked that I do something about the eye which is watching her eat as it always unnerves her and the lemon was placed over it!  The entire fish comes very cleanly off the bone.


Courgette fritti (pictured) and some new potatoes accompany the fish.  Knowing we will eat some cheese later we decide not to have a dessert.  An excellent meal, well presented in great surroundings.


On the way back to the car I go to the newsagents and try to tell Jackie where I am going but she does not hear me.  She then “loses” me as I am in the newsagent (I can see her but cannot shout).  As the counter staff are making slow progress serving anyone (I recall a line of pensioners who do not seem to realise that they need money to pay for their purchases!).  I dump the paper back on the rack and I am just about back to her as my phone rings asking where I am!

We steadily head back to Challaborough – Jackie is unhappy at the uncomfortable bed in the caravan and we reach a conclusion that we should head home early tomorrow after lunch.


Tuesday 23 May 2017

We do not sleep overly well.  This is not unusual for the first night in a strange bed – but the bed does not feel comfortable.  There is of course the usual restricted space in a caravan around the bed (it is almost impossible to get to the “wrong” side, which is my side) and the thin pillows mean my  head is not high enough so my neck hurts.  There is however a nice view out of the caravan across the park to the adjacent hillside and to the right we can see the sea as we are quite elevated over the main site.  You win some and you lose some!

We are off out this morning for breakfast at the Winking Prawn on the water front in Salcombe.   It is found without too much difficulty and we arrive just before the self service breakfast is available – so we have a few minutes wait.  A nice substantial breakfast and my third cooked breakfast in less than a week, so it will not help the supposed diet!

Not as bright today as expected so we drive into Salcombe itself, park and find a newsagent to buy a couple of items.  Then meander up and down the High Street – and get away before our one hour parking expires.  Whilst I have been here before a long time ago I do not really remember the town at all.

There are some photos here.

Our next destination is the Sharpham Estate shop as we plan to buy some cheese.  Being lunchtime we have a glass of wine as well as you do.  Beautiful scenery along the Dart estuary towards Totnes as we drop down into the estate – which took some finding along some back roads.

Our return route takes us through some more of the outstanding scenery as we initially head towards Totnes and then swing west before reaching the town and tracking back towards Challabrough for a quiet afternoon resting.

We do some reading before we head out in the evening to the Millbrook Inn at South Pool which once again is a little bit of a drive along some narrow roads to reach our destination.  The route requires that we have to go through Kingsbridge, then cross Bowcombe Creek, pass the end of the Frogmore Creek (as it is not bridged) and the pub is at the end of the South Pool Creek – all these creeks are part of the Kingsbridge estuary.

The pub dining room has a fire – not too near us – but the room goes from hot (doors closed) to cold (doors open) very quickly.  Anyway to the very good food – with Jackie’s photos as usual (I cannot quite bring myself to take photos in a restaurant):

My warm duck gizzard, pigs feet and other nice things!

And we get home in the day light despite the tiny back roads we are using!

Devon and the South Devon Railway

Monday 22 May 2017

With the football season over we can take a holiday without missing a match – so this is an inexpensive Monday to Friday break.

We are taking another cheap(ish) and this time short holiday.  It is Monday to Friday courtesy of the Daily Mail special offer which including a few extras has cost about £80 for a caravan at Challaborough which is on the coast on the western side of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, west of Kingsbridge and south of Ivybridge.

Unfortunately we are badly held up on the M3 due to an accident near Basingstoke.  Heading west means the dear old A303 and it is a bright sunny morning which is a great start to any holiday but as we were held up we have to move along at the speed limit.  As it is on the way to our eventual destination I have planned a trip on what is now known as the South Devon Railway but when I first visited the line in the late sixties it was known as the Dart Valley Railway.  When we do arrive Jackie is unimpressed by the catering offering as she gets some sandwiches for us to eat during our rail journey.

The railway looks nothing like that early visit or even a subsequent trip in the early nineties.  On that first trip it was possible to walk around the out of use stock and nothing was undercover.  Like other preserved railways, it can no longer pretend to be a quiet bucolic branch line as patronage is now, even on a sunny but non-holiday Monday, vastly greater than the passenger numbers pre-closure.

The trains now run to Totnes Riverside and here the changes are even more dramatic; flower beds on the platform and sign posts to attractions as well as clear routes to the mainline railway; I don’t think we even went that far on the first visit.  Working of the branch line into Totnes itself proved too costly and the railway retrenched to their own station.  My photos of the railway are here.

With the return train trip completed we motor on from Buckfastleigh, more south than west to our destination at Challaborough Bay Holiday Park.  This is at the end of some narrow roads so we get quite close to the hedges and with traffic coming the other way keep needing to find reverse gear.  And of course sometimes it is walls and not hedges so even more care is needed, especially with a couple of blind corners!

In the evening we dine at the Oyster Shack.  Finding it requires travelling along some very narrow roads, one of which is called Tidal Road alongside the edge of River Avon – and there is water across the road at various points.

I started with some breaded whitebait and here is my main course of crab linguine with spring vegetables which was very nice.

Jackie wanted hake but there was none available.  In its place she had yummy cod:

And to ensure we knew we were at the seaside here is the ice bucket:

Photos come once again from Jackie’s camera.

We find a slightly different route back with a few less back roads!