Notes from a road trip: part five

Shower facilities: Appledore 0/10 – The toilet seat of the one loo was covered with muddy footprints, which meant we hovered rather than sat for our ablutions, and the shower didn’t even bear contemplating. So we didn’t. I’ve seen cleaner outside toilets. Fact.
Croyde 8/10 – We used them twice. Enough said. 

Self-timer photos taken: 1P1010211

Food and drinks consumed beginning with the letter C: hot chocolate

Number of times we got soaked: 2

Number of men who helped us out of a tight spot: 4 – one campsite
manager, two AA men and a bartenderP1010212

The story: It was dark when we arrived on the north Devon coast. We drove towards Appledore and turned off at the first campsite we could find. Lots of caravans all parked on a slope, but no lights. And seemingly no owner.

CC knocked on the door of the nearest building and the man who
answered denied all knowledge. We decided to park up and then go out
hunting for the site’s office. But, after two days of rain, albeit of
different consistencies, we got hopelessly stuck in the mud. In the
middle of a field of empty caravans. It was ever so slightly spooky,
like being stuck in a caravan graveyard. So we went knocking on caravan doors to find someone who might be able to help push us out.
After all, if it rained more we could end up very stuck indeed.

Eventually someone answered the door, looking a little anxious, as if we could be police, and pointed us to the caravan where Red, the site manager lived.

He was everything you would imagine a man called Red would look like –
long brown dreadlocks, beard, hoody, flip flops and a surfer’s vocabulary. We caught him and two of his mates before they zoned out on hash for the night. He fired up a Mitsubishi 4×4 unused for several weeks, tied a rope to the back, dragged us out and then told us we could stay for the night for free, unless the owner came knocking on the door the next morning asking for a fee. An unlikely prospect.

Relieved we weren’t stuck anymore, we drank beer and ate pasta and slept soundly before getting up and out of the site as early as possible. It was just too weird a place altogether. But another free night’s camping…

We headed slightly further along the coast to Croyde, where the surfers congregate, but as we pulled into a campsite the steering failed and we got stuck in the middle of the road. A bit of reversing back and forth later and we managed to get into a car park and called the AA. We were visited by not one but two patrol units who dismantled the steering column, pulled out the steering lock that had come loose and put it all back together again. We were back in fine fettle, and after washing in the lovely showers, we set out along the coastal path towards Woolacombe Bay. As we set out, it was sunny, but we could see rainclouds over the sea. Silly us, we didn’t think that the rain might decide to drop on us just as we hit the part of the cliffs that stuck out the furthest. We must ahve only been walking in rain for five minutes, but it was five minutes long enough to soak us to the skin. Still we kept walking into the sunshine and the wind dried us off for the most part.

Woolacombe beach is long and sandy and was empty but for a few surfers, a glorious stretch of coastline. We bought pasties in the town, drank cider in a pub (staffed by yet another Mancunian) and then started to walk back. The inevitable happened and the heavens opened, soaking our nearly dry selves completely again.

So we stopped in another pub and were persuaded by the barman there to dry off, have a pint of ale and call a taxi back home. We didn’t need much persuading. And then chatting to the taxi driver, he persuaded us to stop for a drink at The Thatch in Croyde before going back to the campsite… Let’s just say we’re easily led.


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