Blackdown Hills AONBPosted: September 9, 2011
Heading East out of Exeter we picked up an easy route to the Blackdown Hills, popular with cyclists. Some bemused folks on road bikes out for a speedy sunday ride rode alongside us for a while. Compared to their lightweight speed machines we looked and felt very cumbersome! Nevertheless we covered the distance quickly. We were staying in Dunkeswell, and once we’d climbed the hills we caught our breath whilst looking back over the landscape we’d just come over.
Now don’t those clouds look lovely. What a brilliant day to set the camera up! Sadly, the following day wasn’t so lovely. Instead of big fluffy clouds, we woke up to a dark grey blanket. With it absolutely bucketing down we decided to wait an hour and see if things improved… Luckily, they did a little, and we saddled up and rode out choosing (in true Pinhole Pedaller style) a route with the largest amount of steep climbs as possible. The ride was so so scenic though, quiet country lanes so tranquil they often had grass growing along the middle of them. Our venue today was the excellent Otter Valley Icecream, just outside Honiton. It appeared to be brightening up as we arrived – no doubt it would soon be sunny enough to sample some Ice cream! We started to set up.
Rain came and we retreated into the Ice Cream stall, and began to decide from the massive range which to try.. Soon it dried up again, and as it did we were visited by a Western Morning News reporter, who was keen to hear more about the project and take some pictures. We were also visited by the Blackdown Hills AONB and it was great to show them the project and hear about all the other things going on in the area. A little later a family came over and we showed them how it all works, and as we were just about to shoot their portrait when the rain came back, this time with its good friend the wind, and we had to abandon it for the day sadly!
Rebecca at Otter Valley Ice cream kindly let us shelter whilst the worst of the weather subsided, giving us a perfect opportunity to sample the flavours on offer. I went for Seabuckthorn (apparantly an invasive berry found on our coastline – doing my bit for conservation) and Popcorn. Both were excellent! We packed up at set off, the trailers seeming that bit heavier now the camera was pretty soggy! I was sad to be leaving the Blackdown Hills with so few images of this special place but there is always next tour, and I really enjoyed my day regardless.