One of the odd things about living on a 'border', particularly one formed by a confluence of several rivers, is that it can sometimes be quicker, easier and cheaper to cross over twice than to travel round the edge. As it was today.
The plan was to walk at Mount Edgcumbe, which is on the Cornwall side of the Tamar. So is my home in Saltash, but 20 miles or so away by road. Taking the bridge into Plymouth and the Cremyll Ferry back across the river is a considerably shorter distance, not much quicker but much more pleasant, particularly when one can collect a couple of friends on the way.
It was a very murky morning. Yesterday's wild brightness and southwest gale had deteriorated into horizontal drizzle; I couldn't see the bridge, let alone Plymouth beyond it. Still windy, still blowing from the south, making it almost unseasonably warm for December. The dog and I took a stroll round the coombe to check we had the right levels of weatherproofing (new boots, thin trousers under waterproofs, light fleece and unlined waterproof jacket, woolly hat for the wind, not warmth, thin gloves) and crossed the bridge.
I was immediately struck by the heavier than usual traffic on the way towards the city centre - by the time we got close all the traffic lanes heading for the carparks and shops were gridlocked, but luckily I was skirting round it and had no problems collecting my friends and driving round to Stonehouse for the ferry.
The tide was out as far as it ever goes and the ferry was moored right at the very end of the jetty - Cornwall was now invisible, but the ferryman knows the way and in no time at all we were in Cremyll, where we met two more human and two canine friends and set off on a somewhat soggy stroll.
Mount Edgcumbe isn't quite a mountain, but it's steep enough. Up you go, up and round, first through the park then up through the woods, mud underfoot and dampness in the air. In the woods somehow it's easy to overlook the lack of visibility; it was when we emerged onto the wide open fields at the top that we were suddenly rattled by the wind and confused by odd figures jogging across our eyeline in random directions. Very confused - until we spotted a waypoint and realised that there was an orienteering session going on. A very good day for making the participants rely on their compasses!
Down is always easier, especially on the sheltered side of the hill. And the weather cleared a bit, so we could actually see Drake's Island, Jennycliff and Stonehouse over the other side. A jolly good lunch always helps, too, and the carvery at the Edgcumbe Arms was as good as ever. Back on the Ferry to Admiral's Hard and home just as dusk was falling. A good walk, a very pleasant day...
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