Lynmouth, North Devon via Exmoor

We have a two hour journey to North Devon today. We probably would have hunkered down in Glastonbury whilst the Amber raining warning ran out of steam but we’d already booked and paid.

Motorways don’t seem to exist in this part of the world and even the A roads can be very narrow and winding. We are determined to stay on A roads though and have to continually ignore the satnav which repeatedly tries to cut corners and take us on B roads and even worse what look like single track unnamed roads. The weather is atrocious, raining hard with rivers of water, sometimes dark orange, running across or down the sides of roads. We encounter some deeper pools of water but thankfully not too many. Most people are driving safely and the roads are not very busy which helps.

The A39 route we are on takes us up and over Porlock Hill onto Exmoor. Definitely a mistake. Porlock Hill is incredibly long and steep, has hairpin bends and is 1in4 on long stretches, so it’s hair raising. We discover it has the steepest gradient of any A road in UK and rises 1300ft in less than 2 miles! Tony has to go down to first gear at some points to keep our 3.5 tonne vehicle climbing especially around the hairpin bends. Reminds me of the very scary roads on Skye. Luckily there’s very little traffic otherwise it would have been a lot hairier, imagine a hill start!! I didn’t take any photos, too scared and holding on too tight, so I’ve added a web image of the road profile. After the event we read that we should have taken the less steep toll road but we didn’t actually see any signs about the toll road until the end.

When we get to top of Exmoor we could be anywhere. It’s literally covered in mist almost up to the road and rivers of water run right across and down the road. We planned on stopping for lunch but don’t even consider it. It’s a strange feeling when you can’t see either side of the road so don’t know whether it’s a drop off or not. We’ll have to come back when we can actually see something.

Going down the other side into Lynmouth is almost as bad as uphill, as obviously its very steep with multiple emergency escape lanes in case of break failure!

We stop at Lynmouth for 5 minutes. It’s still raining hard but there’s a car park just off the road next to the raging river Lyn that we can’t resist a closer look at.

The final 2.5 miles of our journey from Lynmouth to the campsite is also challenging as again its winding and narrow with a bit more traffic so lots of stopping and squeezing past other vehicles in the heavy rain. Such a relief to arrive safely. In hindsight and checking the maps we should have taken a different route all together rather than the A39.

We check in to Lynmouth Holiday Retreat and park up. It’s still raining heavily of course. Enjoy a cuppa and relax at last. There’s a pub next door called The Beggers Roost Inn and we eat out for the first time this holiday. Menu is limited but burgers are tasty and we enjoy not cooking. Back in the van we watch The Wall with Danny Dyer, which was pretty terrible but T enjoys MOTD, Everton winning 4-2 and back on top of the premiership.

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