Total: 189.5 miles
Percentage Completed: 11.4%
(Click map to enlarge)
When local authorities decide it will be a 'nice idea' to have a way-marked path, I am sure a lot of research goes into the sustainability of the route, the economic benefits to the ratepayers of the route and the publicity of the the route - if it is not publicised then it's a pretty pointless exercise.
Well, the Exe Valley Way has been successfully publicised - it has made its way onto the 1:50k mapping. The way-marking is fair to poor, but the sustainability of the path is woeful. There are long stretches where it is unadulterated ankle deep bog - no attempt at any sort of drainage, path improvement or even simple stepping stones in the areas that are obviously going to be prone to flooding.
I walked passed Mid Devon's new Fortress offices in Tiverton after slogging my way through three miles of slop (and an incredibly inconsiderate fencing contractor's Heras fencing diversion around the sewage works) and it was only the moat that prevented me from launching an assault on the Rights of Way Officers for Mid Devon Council (if there are such beasts). I was pleased to note though, that the Tiverton bypass was commemorated with a granite stone. I am sure the car drivers welcomed the signage as much as I missed it on the Exe Valley this afternoon.
In my head this afternoon, I wrote letters to all the outdoor agencies under the sun, perhaps in an effort to divert my thoughts from my aching feet: This morning had been quite tough in terms of climbing up and down Devon hills on tarmac and the afternoon was tough because of the mud straight after lunch.
I met a lovely lady on the Exe Valley Way, walking in the opposite direction. She walked it quite a lot and said that today it was in very good shape compared to normal, but she would never consider any footwear other than her wellies.
I fell into a hotel as my feet decided they had had enough for the day. Just enough time to get bathed to join my little brother and sister who had come up from the south coast to have a beer with me.
Tomorrow is another big day - I hope my aching feet recover overnight!