Ghost Hunting

Since returning from Brittany, life seems to have taken a slightly hectic turn, but needless to say I haven’t let that get in the way of enjoying my bikes on a series of nice little rides!

Most of the UK has been blessed with an early autumn of stunningly beautiful weather and our little corner has been well within the sunshine zone, so it was only right to give both bikes a breath of fresh air. First up a quick blast across Bodmin Moor on Harls! As always it was great to be on two wheels, even better on a bike that I absolutely adore riding. It’s funny, but since I bought the new Ultra Limited I somehow appreciate my old Harls even more than ever. Her staccato exhaust, open riding position and laid-back style may not be to everyone’s taste, but I love her! Sure she’s not as hi-tech as her new stable mate, could do with another top gear and better brakes, but she has character and personality in abundance. They can bury me sitting on that bike! P1040943

One morning recently I had to do some business in Bodmin, one of our local towns, and after that was concluded the whole day was begging not to be wasted. With a mind to getting out on the open road I took “Baby Harls,” my Ultra Limited and had one of those lovely moments as I pondered, “Now, where shall we go?”

The sky looked a deeper shade of blue towards the East, so we hit the A38 trunk road and headed across the River Tamar.

Now at this point I must confess that the two main trunk roads out of Cornwall, the A30 and A38, are best described as “tedious.” Sure, they get you to where you want to go reasonably quickly and actually both cover some pretty scenery, but that’s it. They can both get snarled up with traffic at times and also seem to attract more than their fair share of really bad drivers, but no I’m not about to launch into a Dookes rant, so lets just leave it there!

After cruising about sixty miles we turned off the ’38 and passed through the old market town and tidal port of Totnes. Feeling a “heritage” moment coming on, I followed the signs towards the small village of Berry Pomeroy and it’s romantic, though magnificently ruined castle.

Once a medieval castle and later a sumptuous Elizabethan mansion, Berry was the home of the Seymour and Pomeroy families. The remains lie in a beautiful woodland setting and have the reputation of being one of the most haunted castles in England; I just had to go see for myself!

What I found I pretty much fell in love with straight away.

The Gatehouse.

The Gatehouse.

The original castle dates from the 1400’s, but by 1560 the owning Seymour family began a re-construction odyssey that was to last nearly 100 years and would never be completed. Sadly, much of the finest building work was dismantled in the Eighteenth Century, but plenty remains to show just how grand the place must have been in it’s heyday.

The Elizabethan House

The Elizabethan House

Today the castle is in the custodianship of English Heritage and open to the public, but still belongs to the descendants of the original owners. To find out more about it you can follow the link here.

I think I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

The East Range 1600-10.

The East Range 1600-10.

Inside the Elizabethan Ruins.

Inside the Elizabethan Ruins.

The Elizabethan House From The Great Hall.

The Elizabethan House From The Great Hall.

The Curtain Wall and St Margaret's Tower.

The Curtain Wall and St Margaret’s Tower.

Leaving Berry Pomeroy and not having spotted any ghosts, we headed North to Ashburton and set off across Dartmoor, this was turning into a very self-indulgent day!

The road across the moor initially starts by back tracking the River Dart through its narrow valley and deep woodland. This road was one of the first that I rode my new “Baby” on earlier in the year and brought back many happy memories.

Early Spring on the River Dart.

Early Spring on the River Dart.

It was early spring then and now the seasons have moved on, autumn is getting well into her lovely stride. The woods held the unmistakable smell of resinous falling leaves, something that to me embodies this time of year. On the high moor the summer bracken has tuned the same red as the wild native ponies and grass is beginning to take on a slightly yellow hue as it’s feed value diminishes.P1040994 There are hard cold days ahead and this country can be very hard indeed, though at the same time stunningly beautiful.P1050001

It makes you appreciate how good it is to be alive and enjoying it!P1040999

“It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.”

Catch you soon.

Dookes

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