50 days of 50mm #21

Today’s blog will be day 21 in terms of my 50mm project and a milestone for the blog as a whole, as this is my 200th entry!

Before I begin my thoughts on yesterdays hike, I would like to thank everyone who takes the time to read my musings and follow my amblings around the Devon landscape, your kind comments and support is very much appreciated.

At last the clocks have gone forward, one of the first signs that we can begin to look forward to longer and warmer days but this morning at just after 4am, winter is beginning to outstay its welcome with temperatures just above zero.

Today’s hike will start with a 6am train to Starcross, then walking the ten or so miles back along the estuary trail back to Exeter, with the hope of a sunrise along the way at around 7am.

As the train pulls away from the station, the darkness begins to fade, and promising patches of light begin to show through the clouds, my optimism levels are raised from perhaps to probable in the search for some early sun.

Arriving at Starcross just ten minutes later, there is still another forty or so minutes before sunrise but there are signs already of some colour in the skies above.

The station platform at Starcross overlooks the estuary, I remain here for a few minutes after the train has departed, this is a perfect place for my first shot of the day.

Shot from the station platform at Starcross.

My patience is rewarded after barely 15 minutes, the fiery hues in the sky, reflect on the water, this is why I love early mornings, the pleasure of watching a new day dawn.

The cold is now biting at my hands, it’s time to begin the walk back, can the day get any better?

It would appear that it can, as the morning breaks into one of those days of beautiful early spring light, where the suns rays paint the landscape with a golden hue, what more could I ask for?

I finally join the estuary trail, a footpath that has the estuary to my right and rolling fields and the railway to my left, the only traffic here are the occasional train and pleasure boats.

I appear to be the only walker on the upper path today, I do however chat with a local angler who has just caught a decent sized flounder which he puts back, as he is looking for some early bass, he is happy for me to take a couple of photos, which I will send to him later in the day.

I have done my best to describe in words the mood of this beautiful spring day, only the images will give a true reflection, so enough already from me…….

Out of the mist and into the woods

As the days are getting warmer, the chances of capturing those misty late spring mornings were fading, at least until later in the year or so I thought, however I was to be pleasantly surprised on today’s morning foray.

Fuelled with a good breakfast and the usual two cups of tea, I set out just after six thirty am, to what felt like one of the warmest mornings so far.

Heading towards the River, a drop in temperature was noticeable and there in the distance a blanket of mist lit by the glow of the dawn sun.

I had already decided on a different route this morning, taking a footpath I have only walked a few times over the years.
To get there, I walk past St. David’s train station to the Exe valley road, but only after a little diversion, taking in the old railway shed and some long time dormant freight cars on the railway sidings.

It appears that the mist is not about to give way to the sun’s warmth just yet, so my next stop is to Cowley bridge, another little diversion from my planned route, hoping for a few nice reflections with the waters being so serene.

Cowley bridge

The next part of the walk is along a normally busy main road, the main reason that I decide only rarely to do this walk but this morning is okay, as I walk the mile or so to the footpath entrance.

Just a few minutes walk from the buzz of the main road, I have walked into a place of near silence, a skylark soars above, its distinctive trill, a sure sign that summer days are nearly upon us.

The mist gives the scene an ethereal beauty, it is a time to sit and stare at the wonder of nature, as I find a convenient rock to park myself and take a few sips of water while enjoying the moment.

At some point, I will explore these footpaths further but I am hoping to get some photos of the mist in some woodland, another half mile or so away.

As I reach Stoke woods, the sun is finding its way through the many glades, narrow strips of light dappling the woodland floor.
The smell of wild garlic overpowers the initial sweet smell of pine, and that refreshing coolness of walking in woodland invigorates the senses.



I arrived too late for the misty woodland shots, they will come another day, as it is I have covered around six miles so far today, with another 3 miles to walk home and the enjoyment of seeing my mornings efforts.