As some of you know only too well, we’re having a major relaunch next week ( 15th August 2018 ). After what feels like an eternity of working like crazy to get our new branding complete (thank you Wonderstruck Brand we decided to take a little break in North Devon.
We planned a relaxing week, walking, cycling, swimming, surfing and chilling on the beach. The weather’s been crazy here for the past couple of months and we felt we’d make the most of the coastal breeze and choppy seas to cool down. As we drove across the country, the storm clouds brewed and it rained so much it took us a whole eight hours to arrive in Appledore. We’ve been there before and decided to stay in The Seagate Hotel . It’s friendly, the staff amazing and the food is absolutely lovely. Gluten free options are available and the chef will always modify a dish to be gluten free, if it’s possible. She even obliged in sending us a recipe last time we asked.
We drove around the area, but mainly walked and cycled. One day, we were playing “word association” and I noticed the Tarka trail. Dan came up with “Otter”, of course, as this is where Tarka the Otter was set. My first thought? “Dahl”! Yep, I was starving.
First night I chose a starter and side instead of a main course: smoked fresh mackerel with beetroot and a side salad. Had chips too, but the portions were so generous Dan finished them for me. This was so delicious we returned for another plate of the same a few days later.
Instow is across the bay (a 15 minute ferry ride). It boasts a lovely beach and amazing sunsets … the sun basks Instow from late afternoon until sun down.
We walked to Bideford one day, then back the other side of the estuary to Instow. Our timing was a bit out and we had to wait two hours for the ferry, as the tide was not fully in. It would have been rude not to have a drink and watch the tide come in with the sun beating down.
We stopped at The Boat House . This was being renovated when we last visited and it’s lovely. There were some similarities to The Seagate (dog friendly, good gluten free food, lovely staff, nice ambience) that we checked it out when we returned and discovered that it’s owned by the same people that own The Seagate. All a bit too much for one area, you might think. But they do gluten free well, they accommodate many dietary needs where they can and the ambience is amazing. I say, if anyone is doing such an amazing job, then “Bring it on!”
What can I say? Where has this beach been all my life? The absolute highlights of my stay in North Devon were chilling on the beach and surfing with Andy and Claire at The Surf and Swim School . The best few hours I’ve had for ages. It’s a small and personal school. Andy and Claire are the most encouraging and positive tutors. To put it simply, I want to move to Devon now and have surfing lessons every day with these two.
Back at work now, with a ton of stuff to do, as always: checking out our latest batch mix before packaging, NPD, working on my talks and demos for the autumn period and generally all fired up again.
We needed a break after a massive amount of non-stop work and Devon proved to be just the tonic.
We’ll be back. This trip was all about chilling out, so there are plenty of things for which we need to return.
1. I want to buy that house next to the Surf and Swim School so I can pop round to surf every day.
2. Lundy Island: a day trip to see the wildlife. We’ll catch the MS Oldenburgh from Bideford or Ilfracombe.
3. Hartland Point: we went here briefly, but the dramatic seas and wildlife are something we must go back for. There’s a walking route (which looks a bit scary in places to me … a wuss when it comes to heights), but Dan is of the school, “If you do it enough, it becomes the norm”. I’ll report back if ever I can take some of these climbs and descents totally in my stride.
4. And last, but by no means least … did I mention the surfing?
Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Until next time