Having left Burgh Island the plan was to find a quiet field, hole up for a few days and make a plan as to where to go next. We found a great little campsite in Buckfast just 20 or so miles away on the edge of Dartmoor. There were rolling hills, farm animals and tops of churches all in view and we were again being blessed with glorious sunshine.
Whilst in the area we went walking and wandered around Buckfast abbey, a Benedictine monastery built in 1902. Although very grand and full of fine quality craftsmanship it almost felt too pristine and maybe slightly too opulent. From here we walked up into Hembury Woods and back to the campsite ideally placed at the top of a hill half way between Buckfast and Buckfastleigh.
The campsite was so nice and peaceful we decided to stay for three days and just chill out and enjoy the countryside. Plenty of walking and nights in eating local veg and meat from a great little butchers in Ashbuton called Dartmoor Butchers.
On the Friday we decided to leave and head to dinner with my Auntie Annie and Uncle Steve. We had phoned them on Wednesday out of the blue and said that we were in the area so maybe we could meet up, they asked us around for a meal, so we agreed to get to them for 6.30. Although only 20 miles via A38 from Plymouth (where they live) we really wanted to take the more scenic trip across Dartmoor and get some walking in en-route. We decided to stop in the middle of the moor to walk and came across the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre in Postbridge. On the drive Ellie had been driving and had on a couple of occasions complained that the power seemed a little lower when accelerating than normal, but me being me had made the assumption it was more likely be a driver issue (sorry) than a mechanical issue thought nothing more of it until when we got back into the Heidi after our walk, when disaster struck!
BLACK SMOKE and lots of it billowed from the exhaust when Ellie re started the engine, so with all mine and Els mechanical experience we decided to turn the engine off and seek specialist advice. This to my annoyance wasn’t that easy as being in the centre of Dartmoor we, between us had no signal! So Ells went off to the local post office and got a yellow pages (they do still exist) and the use of a telephone and started calling anyone within 20 miles who may be able to firstly tow us to a garage and secondly have a look at and fix whatever the problem was.
This again was not that easy, as it turns out although we knew Heidi was long and wide and high and heavy, we hadn’t really thought that getting her towed would be that hard, after all we were only 20 miles from Plymouth. However it took Ell’s over an hour to persuade someone to come and save us. The only slight problem was they were on another job and wouldn’t get to us until about 9.30 about 5 hours away. So we headed to the pub about 400meters away and mildly drowned our sorrows.
So having pretty much invited ourselves around for dinner we did eventually turn up at my Aunt and Uncle’s at ten past eleven. They were very kind, offered us food and said we could stay as long as we needed…at the time I’m not sure how long they thought that would be!
In the morning we headed back to the tow garage as Brian the tow-er had said there was a good mechanic next to his yard who worked on Saturdays and if we got there early we might be able to persuade him to take a look. Unfortunately Paul was snowed under but agreed to look at it on Monday and call when he had any news. The phone call came at about 5.30 and it was not good news. Heidi was a few inches too wide to fit on their ramp! So Paul agreed he would speak to another garage on the same industrial estate, who had a larger 5 tonne ramp, and true to his word by 8.30 the next morning he had arranged for the other garage to take a look, something they could do but not for two days… Doh!!
So that is where this week ends. Having invited ourselves around for dinner we have now been house guests for four days (and counting). We are so lucky and appreciative to Annie and Steve for making us so welcome and for giving us the run of their home, whilst we wait on news of Heidi. We still have very little idea as to how serious the problem is or how long it will take to fix. My only hope is that by my next post we will be back on the road.
So from Where to go to When will we go!