Today I decided to beast off the weight gained with free coffee, subsidised chocolate and too much office birthday cake. What better way than to walk East Devon’s hills on a blistering hot day? It’s easy to underestimate the slope of Peak hill in Sidmouth – I parked at the top of it, early, setting off over a bleached field thick with some kind of hawk/sheep bit/dandelion type yellow flower. I am no expert. Sloping steeply up and down I catch clear views of deep blue sea, wavy grasses and grain fields. The air hums and I think it’s a microlight or toy drone – it’s the sound of hundreds of insects in the still morning air. It’s only 9.30am and already the sun is hot and I’m coated with an attractive sticky mixture of dust, suncream and salt!
Birdsfoot trefoil, 5ft high fox gloves, cow parsley and tall pink flowers I don’t know the names of swish along the path up to Brandy Head. I’m planning a stop and find a lone walker who happily possesses the one bench. As I’m walking at punishment beating pace to escape the heat which will come later, I push on, and reflect that I am enjoying being summer fit. There are only a few poppies stippling the field edges and I suspect the beast from the East may have delayed their usual abundance here. All I can hear is the creak of my boots and the slosh of water in the metal waterbottle. It will be tea hot by the end of the walk.
I walk up the closed road to Otterton, beautiful cool and shady with cathedrals of trees whose roots traipse over the path. There’s a welcome village green bench for a break and I decide to cheat and walk home via Bars lane. It’s a long, steady pull up a dusty, overhung track which is a river in winter, but is a hum of bees and scented with bonfire at this time of year. Walking up Peak hill is slightly cut off by this cheats route that runs parrallel to the cliff path, which seems to be deserted. Except I think for linnets in full song.
Sitting in a sticky car at the end of the walk I get the joy of not wearing boots!!