Monday, 17 March 2014

March madness!!

Well we've been at it again (and I'm paying for it in pain again!)

This year's logo

The Penair Oldies 

15th March 2014

Photo: J.Brinkhoff

This year was always going to be different. Past injuries and forth-coming operations and commitments have meant that the only time we could come together was 15th March. A huge gamble in itself considering the recent weather Cornwall and Devon has suffered.

Anyway, we agreed the dates and bought the train tickets. 

John, Claire and Steve departed from Truro, Neil from Newton Abbot. We meant at Plymouth before boarding the branchline to Gunnislake. For me this was a welcome break - less driving (although still the designated driver in Truro for the other two I must add!) and time to enjoy looking out of the windows for a change. Despite criticism from some quarters I managed to get a few decent snaps through the train windows:

Leaving Truro

A slightly grey Plymouth

Despite the look of boredom - this is actually the Oldies at their most enthusiastic!!!

Above and below: Views of the River Tamar taken from Calstock Viaduct. For those not familiar with the area, the bank on the left is Devon, the right hand bank is Cornwall

At Gunnislake - we quickly got off the usual footpaths - we stumbled down the steep hill (Stoney Lane) down to the banks of the River Tamar at Whimple Woods

The river Tamar at Whimple Woods

From the above location we followed the River Tamar towards Gunnislake Bridge, passing the Tamar Canal, viewing Chimney Rock (on Devon bank) as far as the bridge.

River Tamar at Whimple Woods

Tamar Canal

Neil and John  at the Tamar Canal

Old lock house, Tamar Canal

River Tamar

River Tamar

Neil having trouble keeping his camera straight!

Chminey Rock

Navigating Gunnislake Bridge and the next 1/4 mile of road was probably the worst bit. But soon we were lost in Hatchwood, on the Devon side of the Tamar

View south from Gunnislake Bridge

View North from Gunnislake Bridge

John - Gunnislake Bridge

Neil in the wilds of Hatchwood

Steve - Hatchwood

Chimney Rock was the first point of interest. Seen before from the Cornish bank the view from this point was staggering!

Steve at Chminey Rock

John, Steve and Claire at Chimney Rock

View over Gunnislake from Chimney Rock

Steve and Neil, Chimney Rock

Neil, Chimney Rock

Steve, Chimney Rock

Neil, Steve and John - Chimney Rock

From Chimney Rock, the path rose steadily upwards until the next vantage point - Morwell Rock

Neil exploring a most odd chair in Hatchwood

Neil, Steve and John at Morwell Rock

View from Morwell Rock

From Morwell Rock, the path descended towards Morwelham Quay

Morwelham Quay

Steve and Claire at Morwelham Quay

John and Neil at Morwelham Quay

Morwelham Quay

Proof that Steve and Neil can still pull the birds! Morwelham Quay

Steve, Morwelham Quay

From  Morwelham we followed a path to 'New Quay' (not to be confused with the coastal town). This Quay was something I had wanted to see since a school trip in the late 70s, I remember visiting the area and our guide pointing out the distant ruined building saying it was once a river-side settlement like Morwelham.

The path began well but as we approached the old Quay the undergrowth closed in from all sides. Finding a random abandoned staircase down we found ourselves through an ancient arch and into the heart of New Quay. Ancient and forgotten buildings formed amongst the undergrowth, a fascinating diversion that was unmissable.

Leaving Morwelham Quay

Above and below - between Morwelham and New Quay

New Quay

From New Quay the going got tough. For a start we had to retrace our way through New Quay itself, find the old stair case and rejoin the overgrown path. Once on it we were generally going by luck although John - our trusty navigator - steered us correctly. We joined various mountain bike routes as we climbed up the steer hillside of Maddacleave Woods. This for me was the worst bit - the route climbed continuously. However, it didn't stop the other Oldies taking the mickey out of me when a little girls pink push-bike was found abandoned in the hedge! (anyone who knows me will realise how much I hate bikes!!!)

John - Maddacleave Woods


Maddacleave Woods

Maddacleave Woods

Maddacleave Woods

Maddacleave Woods

Less said about this one the better.....

Eventually - we found open countryside at Tuckmarsh well above the river. But the views were great from this little road we followed. Next stop was Bere Alston

Tired and sore we found the tiny railway station and jumped gratefully onto the train. A short stop-over at Plymouth and we went our separate ways - leaving a couple of photo opportunities from the train before the sun set on a good but tiring day! 

Bere Alstan Station

All photos and text Copyright Penair Oldies (Stocker / Brinkhoff / Jones / Varker) 2014


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