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Monday, September 7, 2015

Boatbuilding & Hill Climbing in Appledore

I wasn't sure what to expect when we pulled into the visitor lot in Appledore. Charles Kingsley had mentioned the town in his novel Westward Ho!, but not in any great detail. We could have visited the maritime museum, located conveniently across from the parking lot. But it was mid afternoon when we arrived, and I wanted to see what the town looked like today, versus merely walking around in rooms and perusing displays. 

Not knowing how much there was to see, or how much time to allot for our exploration, we paid for two hours, and started walking.

A few blocks downhill took us to the river. Or rather, where the River Torridge flows when the tide is sufficiently high. We walked along the riverfront, enjoying the views, and stopped in at a little bookstore called Walter's Emporium to peruse the selection. Lots of great books on offer, but nothing I had to have. This was an important consideration, as the interior of my suitcase was not infinite (unlike Doctor Who's TARDIS), and I needed precious space for many must have items such as Wagon Wheels, Clotted Cream Toffees, and boxes of Yorkshire Tea. So we continued our walk along the quay.

In Westward Ho!, Amyas Leigh prepared and provisioned his ship in his home town of Bideford. When he and his crew were ready to take off on their adventure, they sailed down the River Torridge to Appledore. There, amid great celebration, they made their official departure. Shipbuilding still goes here, and I suppose lots of vessels still set sail from Appledore. But obviously, their captains must time the launches for when the tide is well and truly up.

Appledore boasts a picturesque riverfront, with shops, pubs, and vendors to cater to the visitor's needs. But we found ourselves sated with the views across the river.

Across the river lies the picturesque village of Instow, but even if I had brought my drawing kit with me, I lacked sufficient time to complete a drawing. So I contented myself with enjoying the view.

Everyone sees the world differently. Artist Ashley Jackson, for example, finds wind farms not just unnecessary, but also unsightly. Personally, I think they add interest and elegance to the landscape. Perhaps I should draw one sometime, and pour into the artwork all my admiration for these examples of green energy production. 

What do you think? Would someone buy a sketch of a wind farm? Would you?

By the time we reached the end of the riverfront (where, ironically, we found a more conveniently placed carpark offering cheaper rates), my wife and I faced a dilemma. More than half of our two allotted hours had passed. Should we retrace our steps, or attempt to find a shorter route back? Either way would necessitate a walk up a fairly steep hill. In the end, we walked about halfway back along the seafront, then ventured up, up, up a narrow street that promised to take us in the direction we needed to go. And it did, until it dead-ended. So we had to backtrack a little, which meant more walking down and then uphill again. Oh joy! 

Thankfully, we found our way back to the visitor lot, and with a few minutes to spare. 

Believe me, as we walked up (and down, and up) that steep hill, we were rueing the time we had spent exploring that little bookstore in Appledore. But then, there will always be things in life that you simply must do, even if you regret them later. Don't you agree?

Dragon Dave

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