Drive Across Britain – Okehampton

DSC_0038I do feel a bit of a fraud, I went on my run this morning – hardly but it was beautiful walking up towards the Ashbury Hotel from my lovely accommodation at Fairway Lodge in Thorndon Cross.  The mist was still in the valleys and I was walking along a quiet country road.

IMG_0372 I was overtaken by a hare running along the grass verge beside me.  He gave me a start as he shot past but didn’t stop long enough to have his photo taken so I concentrated on the cows in the field instead.  This tortoise however did get back to base and was congratulated on going for a run so early in the morning.

I assured them it was hardly running but they had only seen me as I came back,  I pushed the point that I go out early so no one can see me and my pathetic attempts to run.   And there I am following these incredible cyclists!

It’s a beautiful morning the sun is already up and shining over the moors, there are currently  no clouds in the sky,  so for the cyclists they will be riding in good weather.  They hit rain yesterday coming over Bodmin Moor which must have been pretty bleak but today is looking good.

DSC_0051Yesterday I did the touristy thing first and then  having left Land’s End I headed in land to The Poldark Mine just outside Heston, in Cornwall.  This is an incredible set up, it was going to rack and ruin but a new owner is now revamping it.  The history of the whole mining industry is all there and the heritage of not just Cornwall but mining over the whole world.

I was so lucky to be the only person on the tour and rather than cancel they gave me a fantastic tour down deep into the mines, through the wet tunnels and down some very narrow steps which are so advanced from the ladders that were really used.

I was not so lucky that Aiden Turner (the new Ross Poldark) and crew don’t start filming there for another fortnight but a girl can dream cant she.

Here is an interesting fact – In the old days they used to employ children from the age of 8 – No health and safety!

The 8 year old boys – it was considered unlucky to have women or females to be in the mine, they had their own employment at the summit.

These lads would take the mined tin, which was not light in weight, in wheelbarrows to the bottom of a mine shaft.   There was the next aged lad, 12ish, who was tall enough and strong enough to shovel it up to the next level.

The levels were not just a step up, they were certainly higher than the lads and even higher than grown men today.   (Mining men didn’t DSC_0070grow higher than 4ft 6” and the tunnels were never any higher than that.)

The boys needed to be able to stand up and had a long handled shovel which they lifted the rocks up on and threw it over their shoulders up to the level above.  Where an older boy waited to do exactly the same to yet another level.   Till finally it arrived at the top of the shaft….  Where the older men waited to give it over to the women and girls.

The higher up the ladder you were, the safer and the older you must be – hence the expression “working your way up the ladder”

I would recommend a visit to the Poldark mine if you are ever in the area.  It is so important to keep this heritage and history alive.

My story hopes to take in a prison so I moved on to Bodmin Jail, another incredible visit for you if you are in Cornwall.  We may complain about the justice system now but the harsh treatment was horrific and many were hanged for petty crimes or ones that we would certainly offer help for now.

I wandered up and down the old staircase it felt really cold and not sad exactly but you could sense the feeling of past suffering.  It was shocking how young they all were.

I am very proud of Sexy Sporty Dad he came in about 30th out of approximately 900 riders and by the time I got to him he was up and about and looking pretty refreshed and coherent.  I joined him while he ate and then went and found myself an Indian in Okehampton (Rajpoot) where I was very well looked after.  It is amazing how attentive staff are when you are a lady on your own.

Today I have discovered – I  can really feel the history of a place and identify with the people who have passed through a time.



This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to "Drive Across Britain – Okehampton"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *