Archive | January 2017

Above Ilfracombe

Feeling the need for a walk yesterday, but only having a little time to spare, we decided to explore the low hills to the west of our nearest town, Ilfracombe. Known as the Torrs, or the Seven Hills, they lie along the coast, bracketing the town on its western edge.

Following the quiet residential roads to their highest point on the side of the hills, we finally found the small National Trust car park, which already gave excellent views down over the town.

 

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Following the signposted footpath we descended gently and crossed over the ridge to the seaward side of the hills. The Victorians carved out a zigzag path which is now part of the coast path, leading westwards from the town along the steep hillside. There are viewpoints on every corner, many with benches, which were much needed due to the unrelenting steepness of the ascent.

 

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Leaving the steep cliffs behind, the path finally ascends to the undulating, grassy swards on the top of the Torrs.

 

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High up on one of the seven hills a viewpoint has been built, which gives a lovely panorama down over the harbour to Hillsborough and other hills the other side of Ilfracombe.

 

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A choice of routes lead back towards the town and the car park, but we chose to walk a bit further along the coast towards Lee until we were past the end of the Torrs, where a valley cuts inland from the coast, which led us down a gradual descent back along the landward side of the hills to the car.

We walked for about an hour, but there were plenty of earlier paths leading back to the start, making this an ideal spot for future short walks, with fantastic views, excellent sea-watching spots, and even one place where one could descend down to near sea-level to sit quietly and listen to the waves.

 

Homegrown Mushrooms

For Christmas my daughter gave me a kit for growing oyster mushrooms. which is excellent as not only am I fascinated by fungi, but I also like eating oyster mushrooms.

I followed the instructions carefully, removing a square of cardboard from the front of the box, slitting the plastic within, and then removing the bag containing the growing medium and soaking it overnight.

Next morning I dried off the bag and put it back into the cardboard sleeve. Twice a day I sprayed the opening as directed, and sat back and waited.

On day 4 I noticed a few little growths appearing, hardly visible from the front, but easily seen side-on.

 

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By day 5 the growths were much more obvious, to my great excitement.

 

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Day 6 and they even looked like mushrooms.

 

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Days 7 and 8 they expanded hugely, becoming visibly larger from morning to evening.

 

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By day 9 they were fully grown, with the rims unrolled, and ready to harvest. This crop produced over 250g of mushrooms.

 

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Now the box gets rested without spraying for two weeks, then I can soak it again, and repeat for another crop. The box should produce at least 3 crops.

I found it very little effort, and it was fascinating to see how quickly the mushrooms grew. And I am looking forward to having some for dinner tonight. An excellent gift!

A new walk for the new year

This morning Devon was dull and drizzly. Once I had completed (or avoided) the indoor jobs, I was desperate to get out for a walk. Finally the skies lightened, and I consulted with my own personal weather guru, who checked his Christmas gift weather station and also a myriad of weather related websites, before proclaiming that the cold front had now passed and it would stay dry but be chilly.

Suitably attired, I headed to our local reservoir to check out a popular and accessible short walk, which might be useful when non-walkers (by inclination, age or ability) come to stay. An easy tarmac path winds its way through pine trees and around the reservoir, and gives nice views and the possibility of birds, flowers, and fungi, although all were in short supply today. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story. Oh, and my weather guru was correct!

 

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