My friend @leigh rush and myself set out on a five day road trip of the south west, a speedway tour (three meetings) with time set aside for a return to East Prawle in south Devon, which I discovered last year and a weekend visit to Purbeck to tie in with @Kimm Fearnley's birthday party.
Here is my photo diary :
Wednesday August 15th
Leigh arrives mid afternoon and we set the controls for Somerset Speedway. It's a cloudy, moody, dark and overcast night with a storm brewing. Largish crowd. An attempt at a selfie. You'll notice that I seem to be growing a beard, an attempt at a) folk credentials and b) keeping up with Leigh, beard king of Hove.
Luckily the rain holds off and we're treated to some terrific racing. The Oak Tree Arena really is the best track in the country on its day, but the Rebels lose their unbeaten home record to Belle Vue Aces, who are on top form.
Here's an arty photo:
and a panorama of the Oak Tree Arena under floodlights
After the meeting we hot the M5 as the rain starts and get to East Prawle by midnight. Sally Tripp's farm field (Tel: 01548 511229) is our home for two days as Leigh insists on putting up his reserve tent (he brought the wrong one!) and unselfishly doesn't subject me to his rather impressive snoring.
Thursday August 16th
Awoke to this amazing panoramic view. Campsite is still fairly empty although a few Dreadzone fans are rocking up early (they're playing tomorrow at The Pigs Nose, the local and legendary village pub)
Here's the Banksy hidden away behind the telephone box in East Prawle
Today we walked around the coastal path (some hairy moments as Leigh has an aversion to heights and / or sheer drops) but we made it to a secret beach roughly a mile from the campsite which turned out to be possibly the highlight of the whole trip - amazing sunny afternoon and very clear (but very cold!) water
And here is that beach...
You have to abseil down the last part as it's so steep and there's no path all the way...
Returned for a couple of hours sitting contemplating the amazing view during the golden hour
A lively night in the Pigs Nose and got talking to a couple - Penny and Jerry - who already knew of Campfire through @Richard Page - he says "They're really my sister Gilly's friends but for years we were regulars at the Pig's Nose, camping in the field next door with Ed Tudor Pole and others in a field I dubbed Hackney-on-Sea."
This must be the most southerly point in British (possibly apart from The Lizard) and the air is very fresh, the night skies are intense. Tonight I saw three shooting stars in an hour after Leigh had gone to bed.
Here is my article and gallery from last summer's East Prawle stopover
Friday August 17th
A morning in East Prawle before setting off for Plymouth Speedway and we decided to redo the walk to our secret beach as we'd enjoyed it so much yesterday. It delivered once more. Spectacular walks and views on the way..
Getting out of East Prawle was interesting in the motorhome. Coming in at midnight we'd hardly met a single car. Leaving at 4pm was a whole different ball game and involved much pulling over, and a few bottlenecks in those notorious very narrow Devon lanes. However we did make to Plymouth in good time and enjoyed this small, compact little stadium , which was very welcoming and friendly and tucked under the A38 flyover - It was my first taste of the National League (third tier of speedway) in quite a while, and Plymouth Devils were outclassed on their tight circuit by a superior Mildenhall team. Danny Ayres ("Pantomime villain" as dubbed by Leigh) was my man of the match.
We left the Boniface Arena as nightfall was descending and hot-footed it to Dartmoor. The plan was to make to a campsite called Cockingford Farm at Widecombe-in-the-Moor but a narrow bridge en route prevented that and we opted to camp in the wild on top of Dartmoor. A wise decision as we woke up to interesting views and lots of colourful heather which became more vivid when the sun came out. Once moor, Leigh's little tent looked faintly ludicrous alongside my beast of a magical Adventure House (as it has been re-christened).
Saturday August 18th
The aforementioned views and scenery...
So we enjoyed a couple of hours surrounded by Dartmoor nature at its best before getting in the van and heading onwards. I was hoping to meet up with my old friend @Ian Wellens in Bovey Tracey but realised I'd not got his number and couldn't seem to attract his attention on Zuckerworld so we moved on and set the controls for Poole, via a brief lunchtime stop on Charmouth Beach
After a mediocre cheese and pickle sandwich at the beach café it was onwards to Poole for @Kimm Fearnley's party. I dropped Leigh near Kimm's where he was heading off to Purbeck for the evening with a friend and then heard that Kimm had sliced off two finger tips in a food blender. Despite the panic of all around she was soon back home, bandaged and brave as ever and playing the perfect host for a wonderful birthday party, where we danced, chatted, ate great food and listened to singer Ny Oh play around the campfire. It was great to hook up with my daughter Ella and boyfriend Jahren too. As perfect a party as it gets.
Sunday August 19th
Awoke to drizzle and grey skies but it soon lifted and I met Ella and Jahren and headed over to Purbeck on the ferry, stopping at Knoll Beach, Studland for a swim (rather warmer than Devon!) and a picnic lunch before dropping them at the ferry for their return trip homewards
Golden late afternoon sun was shining as I left Studland which had turned into sea mist by the time I reached Weston Dairy Campsite. After an hour's respite, I met up with Leigh and his friend and we went to the nearby Scott Arms in Kingston for a fairly average dinner (not as good as I remember it) followed by a couple of ciders at The Square and Compass. Then back across the fields via a detour for a small fire even if the sky was mostly dark with clouds, save for the glow of Poole and Bournemouth in the distance.
Monday August 20th
Five days filled with memories - a breakfast at the shack at Weston Dairy then back to Studland beach for a lunchtime swim before trekking back to Somerset in the van and another lively speedway meeting.
This time, Somerset Rebels didn't slip up and trounced league leaders Poole Pirates 51-39 to replace then at the top of the league. It's the business end of the season and any of the six leading teams could fill the four play off slots at this stage so it;'s all to play for between Poole, Kings Lynn, Belle Vue, Swindon, Wolverhampton and of course Somerset Rebels.
Nice to see a Thatchers sampling truck at the speedway :)
Then we were Fromeward bound and Leigh started his trip back to Sussex around 11pm. I fell asleep within a few seconds of my head hitting the pillow
Miles - approx 450
Good times - many :)