The heat wave continues to the point that even the locals are complaining and saying how they have never seen anything like this before. Today was 86F (30 C) and the easterly winds continue to be square in our faces as well. It seems like when you are out in the open the wind just hotels into your face and you just wish it would stop. Then you go into a section where there are the little narrow hedge rows on either side of the eight foot wind road and there is no wind but the sun just bakes you in there with the 100% humidity and you just want to get back into the open. The forcast for tomorrow is for 93 F (34 C) so more pressure cooker.
The first stop was Bodmin Moor and Brown Willy which is the highest point in Cornwall at 1313 ft. Right next to it is the lake where King Arthur received Excalibur from The Lady of the Lake (not the Disney version where he gets the sword from the stone). It sounds cooler than it actually was however as no plague or anything to mark the spot. The King Arthur land is big commercial operation which charges big bucks to see pretend artifacts. Moving on the next stop was Lyford Gorge which is a very deep gorge cut through the granite with a water fall the base. While certainly not Nigrara Falls a very pretty place. We rode down this old rail line which was really nice with great shade and smooth pavement. About half way down we come across several huge trestles. I was glad not to have to wind up and down the deep gorges. Then a little further down the line is an abandon rail yard and there in the yard is the Polar Express. What happened here I still believe in Santa Claus so why is the Polar Express sitting in an abandon rail yard. Further down the road was Finch Foundry. It is the only working water well powered foundry remaining in all of the UK. It was built in 1750 and operated continuously through 1930’s. There were lots of different owners and lots of additions made to it over the years but it still had a 180 year operating life. Its peak production period was during WWI when it was turning out 400 tools per day (shovels, Scythes, axes etc.). The water dripping off the overshot water wheel was nice and cool and great to get a little wet under. Further down the road was Castle Drogo. This is the only modern building in the National Trust. Construction started in 1910 and what was actually built was done in 1930. However only about 50% of what was planned was actually built. Never the less it is a very imposing structure on a high hill overlooking Dartmoor. Drewe was a wealthy tea merchant and over rode the architect on a lot of key elements and as a result the castle was not water proof and had major problems. After the final son tried unsuccessfully to restore the castle it became the property of the National Trust. It is currently undergoing a 13 million pound restoration project.
The National Trust is doing a lot of work restoring important heritage places and buildings though out the UK. While individual entry fees are quite high you can purchase an annual membership for a very resoanble price which allows you entry to all of their sites. I would encourage anyone contemplating a UK visit to purchase a membership in advance. Here is their web site: National Trust
By time we rolled in to Exeter it was well past 6:30 pm. Agnes and I are on the fourth floor of a turnoff the century home which is now a B&B. The room is steaming hot with no AC. Hey it never gets hot here. In fact when I was planning my weather research showed temps in the 60’s so I never even packed a short sleeve t-shirt. Never the less a great day with lots of very cool stuff to see and a great meal at Wetherspoons (a local chain type pub) where it was steak night and for 8.90 pounds you got an 8 oz steak and a pint of beer.