Review Number Seven

7) Lydford Gorge – National Trust

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There are many things my boyfriend and I have a mutual passion for; cooking absurd amounts of food, watching our childhood programmes, rambling down country lanes and championing castles.

So it comes as no surprise that my darling boy thought it a grand idea to take me to Lydford Gorge to enjoy a long walk together.

A long walk isn’t even close to what I had to endure!!!

I am not a seasoned walker and I had nothing but a vague idea of what I was letting myself in for. It wasn’t until I reached the front desk to hand over my membership card that the realisation struck hard. The kind lady behind the counter issued instructions to us; suggesting pit stops and recommending a variety of routes that weren’t quite so steep. I was stunned.

‘It’ll take you about 2 to 3 hours to finish the entire walk’ she signed off.

WHAT?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I ran to the toilet to take a breather before my gallant knight dragged me off to begin our journey down the one way track. I was hesitant and could but think of the halfway point where my darling said we would be stopping for a tea break.

But my body surprised me and for the first leg of the trail I was mostly alright, the valley was beautiful and I only really struggled with the uphill parts. We took no pit stops except when we spotted a view that was camera worthy (which was often) and I felt triumphant every time I passed a bench feeling well enough to trek on. The constant gush of water created a mystical atmosphere and it felt as if we had stepped into a Peter Jackson movie. The stunning views were accompanied with the potent smell of wild garlic and a consistent drilling sound from a covert woodpecker; I was enthralled and healthily out of breath.

I wasn’t expecting the waterfall to look as serene as it did; you are used to seeing these great walls of crashing water but the White Lady (so it is aptly named) simply skidded down the valley like a children’s slide.  When we reached this halfway point we had a difficult decision to make; stay and dine? Or press on and earn a well deserved treat at the finishing line?

We chose the latter and continued on our expedition.

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We soon realised, however, that I seem to have a cut off point; a point where I rapidly lose the ability to speak and become irritably desperate to just give up and go home. I had found the end of my tether after an hour of walking. I was an uncommunicative zombie who could but grunt and moan at the views being presented to me by my fresh faced exuberant companion. The devils cauldron zapped the final ‘awes’ I had in me and mumbled notions of dinosaurs scampering about the horizons of the valley ridge (I speak truth my Bandicoot caught it on camera). I had meant to say that the scene had a Jurassic essence about it and that I could easily imagine a T-Rex leering over the crest of the gorge; I guess the roaring noise of the cauldron drowned out my senses.

I dragged my feet into the tea room and near collapsed on the cashier. He was a very very very nice man and was understandingly sympathetic of my exhaustion and fatigue. We found a park table outside, away from some ghastly loud children and waited for the kind man with a feathery blonde beard to bring us our well deserved prize.

Even in my zombified state I was still able to consider the cream tea that was presented before me with a respectably critical eye.

No I lie. I’m sorry …

I was so thankful and desperate for them that any serious evaluations of the subject were lost, forgotten and discarded. I ate with the primeval instincts of one who had nothing left to focus on.

So here, my review, in the words spoken at the time of consumption;

‘Icing sugar?! What?! Amazing! Raspberry jam?! Yum! Omg it looks like tadpoles, no you know what I mean … frog spawn! Tasty frog spawn! Wow there is SO much cream! Look at those nipples! Omg this is so good. Awe and the buns are warm! Man I needed this, I’m drinking this tea like its water, agh you know when you are just thirsty and tea is like water? It quenches my thirst just as much as water! Aww no! The icing sugar is all over my leggings! Ketchum did you notice the jam and cream is local? Look the jam has won awards, tasty frog spawn though it’s a little sharp … maybe that’s why they gave us icing! Cream is so good though. Wow. Just. Nom.’

So yes they had sprinkled our buns with an unconventional layer of icing sugar and were presented to us on charming oval plates. They were warm, fluffy and substantial. The generous amounts of cream and jam enabled us to greedily mount the buns with several layers of the stuff. I had immaturely made my scones to look like nipples and childishly giggled at the icing sugar mess I had made on myself.  The jam did, admittedly, look like frog spawn, but it tasted as fresh and as fruity as if we had picked the berries ourselves and had placed them on top. The fact they gave us a choice in jam won bonus points in my eyes and they had NO fruity scones, not one …

BANG ON THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!

There was a generous pot of tea for us with an added topper of hot water, which I was most grateful for, because I downed my first cup of the milky brew instantly and was in need of plenty more.

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I admit that my state of fatigue may have acted as a ‘rose tinted glasses’ effect and made me perceive the scones in a much better light than I might’ve done, had I not just undergone a 3 mile walk. After a ‘stroll’ like that I doubt anyone could look at them in any other way. You will certainly not be disappointed when you enjoy them at the finish line and that I can bet my life on.

My only advice to Lydeford Gorge would be to add markers on your map of where all the benches are during that walk; would be great for those who are less robust than my Aladdin; using them as motivators to reach the next rest stop!

We did the walk in approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. My legs didn’t thank me for it but it was well worth it in the end; the sights were magnificent and the cream teas were, well … like I said well earned and damned tasty.  Hoorah.

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