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Prologue - North Devon 2023

Build Up Date - Leading Up to 9 July 2023

By Ren Withnell

Considering I'm such a miserly curmudgeon it may come as a surprise to hear I do have friends. Shocking, I know. The regulars here may recall Sharon and I went to Northern Ireland in 2021 with some of these friends and now the same bunch have organised 5 nights camping in Devon for more shenanigans. 

Hmmmm, Devon, North Devon to be more accurate. I've only passed through this area once and that was quite some time ago in 2017. I recall the route along the coast as being quite lovely and definitely worthy of further exploration so that's good. However I aslo recall our various other trips to both Devon and Cornwall where we found plenty of lovliness but also plenty of traffic. This is the problem with lovely places. We like to go to lovely places but so does everyone else which means the lovely places are full of "Emmets" as Upt' calls us, tourists to you and me. Catch 22, we don't like too many tourists but we are tourists, as such we are the problem - natch.

Tourists stepping out of a tour bus to get images on the Ring Of Kerry
Emmets, everywhere! We're a pain in the backside ain't we.

Not to worry, we're going not just to explore this time but to spend time with friends and to have a laugh, to share an experience rather than to be serious adventure types. I'm sure we'll find plenty to do and see.

Hmmmm. The weeks leading up to our trip have seen scorching weather, in fact it's been so warm I had one of my jumpers surgically removed and I almost purchased some shorts. Almost. Yes, you've guessed it, this week leading up to departure we've seen the weather return to the usual summer cycle of warm rain mixed in with thunder and lightening followed by an hour or two's scorchingly hot sun, then more rain. That sort of weather where you have to stop to put on your waterproofs to stay dry, then have to stop to remove your waterproofs before you start to melt - natch.

Glorious sandy beaches in bright sunshine in Scotland
The UK can occasionally enjoy a warm dry day.

Not to worry, one of the lads is taking his ratty old campervan and another has hired a static caravan on the same site. If the weather is that bad we can always take shelter in one of these structures rather than sitting in a tent sulking. 

Hmmmm. Rob, the chap who's making all this happen, has us booked onto "Riverside View" campsite just outside of South Molton. He has us booked in from Monday 10th of July through to departure on Saturday the 15th. This means we have a bit of weekend either side of the actual camping so Sharon and myself get to thinking. From Sharon's place to the site is 250 miles. We are both capable of covering this distance in a day but generally speaking that means boring motorways and sore asses - natch. 

2 helmets on a window overlooking the wet roof of a dull motorway services
Wet and soggy motorway services. Such joy!

Not to worry, we book a Travelodge in Cheltenham for the southbound leg and a comparably cheap room behind a pub restaurant near Alcester for the northbound leg. This way we're breaking up both journeys into four nice bitesize chucks rather than 2 big fat lumps. 

How am I feeling about this trip before departure? I have my concerns in that we're awful close to the main summer holidays which means traffic and tourists. I have my concerns about the weather but there's nothing I can do about that. Primarily though I am looking forward to this, a lot, maybe too much. I've started a new job recently and that seems to be going acceptably well although I have a lot to learn, I'm ready for a break. Sharon's been struggling with her work and she too is not just ready for a break but retirement! Suffice to say we're both more than ready for this trip. 

Thinking on this foray might be ideal. Yes of course we'd love to be cruising the delights of some far flung mountains or the coastal coves of a foreign land. I reckon we're both quite tired though and with the ability to break the bigger miles into smaller rides, being in a familiar country with friends, and not planning nor expecting a huge adventure this should be quite a chilled out break. My only concern is... will anyone want to read this?

Unlucky... I'm going to write it all up whether you read it or not.

Advertise here - contact

Prologue - North Devon 2023 It's that time where Ren explains this trip. I'm not getting the sense of a great forthcoming adventure, rather more of an old school chill out holiday with friends on motorcycles.
Cheating The Rain To Cheltenham And they're off! It's a mixed up weird kind of start to this holiday with indecisive weather and packing and planning errors. No disasters though... sorry.
Dawdling Into Devon Another easy day's ride sees the Dynamic Muppets into the delights of Devon. There's a mish-mash of roads to negotiate and the weather ain't helping.
North Devon Sat-Nav Adventure On the first day exploring North Devon Ren manages to lead the merry crew into the non touristy bits of the the Exmoor coastal area. This ain't no country for Harleys.
A Key And A Quay With the weather hanging on in there it's ride time again. Ren manages to accidentally find somewhere nice before leading them all astray. Not to worry, there's cake.
2 Days Of Nothing With bad weather, ill health and camping frustrations this could be a disaster. Luckily it turns out to be more of a damp squib really.
Heading Home Day 1 The real holiday is over, it's time to do the bit that no-one really wants to do and that's go home. England is a lovely place but sometimes you're just not in the mood.
Heading Home Day 2 It's the final day's short ride home which means Ren's reflecting upon the Devonian excursion. Before that there's a village in need of some looking at and tea to be drunk.

Reader's Comments

CrazyFrog said :-
You should have said you were stopping in Alcester Ren, you could have had the delight of meeting me and Ian Soady for a brew as we both live within 5 or 10 miles of the place. But then again, perhaps that's why you didn't mention it ?
18/07/2023 17:35:50 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
North Devon and Somerset are lovely though, but if I'm going, I tend to go out of season...
18/07/2023 17:38:00 UTC
Bogger said :-
Judging by the amount of holidays you seem to have, I'd say that you were practically retired anyway. Just an observation like.

Devon and Cornwall are always good destinations IMO. Either on a bike or otherwise.

19/07/2023 08:10:27 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
We seem to have dodged a bullet there Pete. He probably didn't want Sharon to meet us......
19/07/2023 10:01:09 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Oh the joys of Devon and Cornwall. It's yonks since we've been there. I'm guessing 20 plus years.
CF be careful what you wish for, really careful.
I wonder if it's any busier than anywhere else these days? Isn't everywhere tooooooo busy in dear old blighty.....pffffffftttttt.
Everyday them blummin Johnny Foreigners role off the ferry at Newcastle upon the Tyne like EU rats. They come over here, blocking our roads, eating our food and fornicating with our women folk. Pffffffftttttt.
Role on winter......the rain might stop!
"Angry from Northumberland".........pffffffftttttt.

19/07/2023 13:04:17 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ian, that lady of moisture already has enough to deal with!
19/07/2023 13:06:17 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
CrazyFrog - as Ian said you've dodged a bullet. I don't announce my forthcoming trips simply for security reasons - we don't wish to be mobbed by our fans you see...

Bogger - so many holidays? I get as much as any other working man, it's just that I take almost all my holidays on the bike then force you lot to endure reading about it afterwards that makes it SEEM like I have a lot of holidays.

Upt' - calm down man.
19/07/2023 18:55:25 UTC
Rev. Mick! said :-
As a Devon boy it seems obvious that you should visit God’s Own County!
Just back from another amazing West Coast of Scotland and Outer Hebrides trip. Even up there is getting plenty of “Emmets”.
20/07/2023 09:56:06 UTC

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