Mileaters on tour 2024

A change in timing from the normal September date saw 26 Mileaters on tour in Exford at the edge of Exmoor in May. Having experienced a very wet April it didn't bode well and then the sun came out in early May for a few days, only to disappear again at the start of the tour. Some of the group had been in training, others were carrying injuries and then the news that Whooping Cough had invaded the village. What else could go wrong?  Torrential rain and thunderstorms were forecast for the South West. 

On the first day we did get wet but not as badly as expected. One member decided to duck out just after the initial count and wasn't missed until a mile into the walk, lucky blighter. The highlights were: an abundance of lambs, all now big enough and covered in lanolin to fend off the rain; also a pleasant walk along the edge of a Blueberry field(about 2-3 months too early, as they were just flowering) the picturesque views being obscured by low clouds.

The second day saw us tackle a tough walk across the edge of the moor before descending into the Barle valley. Uphill is easy for our hardy bunch but down hill sorts out those knees and boy they were creaking and grinding all the way down. The rest of the route was a piece of cake because this bunch were on a promise. I thought the famous Tarr Steps bridge was spurring them on, only to find out later that the promise of Cheesy Chips and a drink at the pub were more of a draw than some old relic.

Talking of old relics, on the third day our final walk took us along the Exe valley.  The first two miles saw us bathed in glorious sunshine, T shirts and shorts weather, absolutely glorious. After coffee we tackled a climb back up onto the moor. A climb of over 500ft in under 20mins was enough to sort out the 'men from the boys'. I am proud to say that despite the grinding knees (one of which will be gone when you read this), the creaking of hips and respiratory problems, everyone made it to the top, just. (A modern day miracle). We had lunch on the top, sunbathing, enjoying the good weather. Our view over the moor, took in Dunkery Beacon in the distance. At last we could no longer delay the downhill return back to the hotel, via the pub for some and a Cream Tea at the tea room for others.'

Martin and Lesley Usherwood