Today Hub and I decided to have a day out and find Blackingstone Rock. We set off in good time and had ourselves a very nice coffee break at an arts and crafts studio with lots of really beautiful things to look at. But not to buy – these things are always so expensive – after all, the artists need to make a living. Except that Hub decided he wanted a wooden top for his stocking …
Me: what on earth will you do with a little wooden top?
Him: I shall keep it on my desk. And play with it from time to time.
Me: so I bought it …
He’d done a lot of prep for this excursion, looking it up on the internet, staring at the map, printing out the relevant section, etc etc.
So off we rolled in our trusty little motor through the narrow lanes and green hills of lovely Devon.
We couldn’t find it. There were no signs, nothing. We stopped and looked at the map, and tried again. And then we went off the map he’d printed.
We drove along lanes and up and down hills and round pine forests. We knew it was there SOMEWHERE – but where was the blessed thing??
We turned right. It was a lovely view but we were clearly getting further and further away. Hub got out the OS map and had another look.
We backed up and took the next lane right. This time we actually found the rock but there was no parking, and the map showed a car park.
We backed up again and looked at the OS map again.
This time we drove past the rock but couldn’t see either a car park or a track through the bracken to the rock.
We turned round and went back …
In Devon lanes if two cars want to pass each other then one of you has to back up to the nearest gateway or passing place. We manoeuvred ourselves round another car coming our way, and then wound down the window and asked where the rock was.
Just keep going. The car park is a rough space on the right which has had some gravel put down, they said. And across the road you will eventually spot the track to the rock …
And so it was. By which time it was blowing an icy gale and HAILING
But we were feeling intrepid, so we were. I muffled myself up in my coat and hood and gloves and we found the track, climbed the rock and discovered the stone stairway to the top. While it hailed.
We climbed up the stairway, clinging firmly to the handrails, but when we got to the top the wind was blowing so strongly neither of us felt confident of staying upright. So we went no further, and Hub, who was cold and anyway doesn’t like heights, got himself rapidly down again. I sat on the step and took pictures, in the teeth of the hail.
Eventually we climbed down and went back to the car. By which time the hail had stopped and the sun had come out. And my camera battery had run down. Of course!
Next stop the nearest town and a nice warm little cafe where we wrapped ourselves round a hot cup of tea … and agreed it had all been great fun …