The official Start of the walk- Saturday May 12th

Brent Tor to Lifton and onwards to my father`s home

the start, photo by Nic Randall

The walk started officially on May 13th, at Brent Tor

The photograph on the left was taken by Nic Randall, a free-lance photgrapher who was covering the start for the Western Morning News
Standing just behind me is Henry Lewis, who wrote "The Wind Thing". Lined up behind him are members of various groups from across Devon, including WIFLAG (Lamerton, the local group fighting these turbines) Denbrook (North Tawton, Bow and Spreyton) ODAT (near Okehampton) BLOT (Bradworthy) and the Two Moors Campaign. Also present were representatives from the Dartmoor Preservation Association and the C.P.R.E. and other individuals from, for example, Ashwater..

From my walk diary:

"I woke early – after a very good night`s sleep, and went down to the kitchen, Chris was making tea. He gave me a mug which I took upstairs. I charged the battery of the video camera and also my mobile, looked at the book explaining the camera, and then had a quick bath before going downstairs again. Yvonne was chopping vegetables for the animals and we had a chat while I had another cup of tea (well, two more in fact). She and Chris had lived and worked in Kenya and she told me some really interesting stories about their time there. For breakfast I had my favourite cereal, Shredded Wheat. They offered me more to eat but that was all I wanted.

Chris took some of his and Yvonne`s paintings out into the garden for me to photograph for the AAWF website – it was exciting to have two new artists` work found on the very first day of the walk! Then it was off to the official Start of the walk, at Brent Tor. Chris drove me over, with all my belongings. I had dressed in shorts, with a vest and shorts. My concern while packing had been to have enough light-weight clothes so that I could cope with the heat, but as we got out of the car I realised that what had seemed like early morning mist had merged into grey clouds. Far from being hot, it was cold, with a chilly breeze. As you can see from the above photo, all the supporters were dressed in appropriate clothing for the weather. So was !, for walking, but not for standing still for long!

Muriel Goodman from North Tawton, who had done so much to organise my accommodation during the walk, was there waiting, and guess what she had with her? My outfit – not just one but two Polo shirts and baseball caps bearing the Country Guardian Logo, thanks to the generosity of Phil Hancock of Splash Clothing, near North Tawton.

As I said earlier, I especially wanted to wear the Country Guardian Logo, not only because it is clean and green and symbolises the unspoilt earth, but also because it was designed by Angela Kelly. Angela Kelly is a very good artist who has not had time to paint for the last twelve years because she has been so busy helping people fight the scourge of industrial turbines. I am myself a member ofSo it was going to be an honour to wear it! The one thing I had been worried about was that the Polo shirt might be too hot, but as I pulled it on over my vest I was glad of its warmth.

 I am myself a member of Country Guardian, the group that has done more than any other group in the world to save beautiful landscapes from these monsters. While being quite a shy person, and not normally keen to walk around bearing any logos, I feel it is an honour to wear this one. Splash Clothing had done a brilliant job getting the outfits ready for me in time.  They also made the great big banner that was on display by the gate below Brent Tor. I would like to both Splash and Country Guardian for kitting me out., and you can read more about them on these pages: Splash Country Guardian

Photographed here with the banner are Henry Lewis (The Wind Thing) and on the right, Ivan and Diane Buxton from Ashwater. Henry came on the first part of the walk with me, before dashing back to London. Ivan and Diane did a "Cameron"on both Saturday and Monday, chauffering the movie camera and sketch books along to my overnight stopovers. Originally I had hoped to carry everything on my back, but the chance to make videos of events taking place during the walk the walk was too good to miss. 

I first met Henry when I was invited up to the Press Launch of the premiere of the Wind Thing, at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in Islington. I enjoyed it so much that I saw it twice in one day. Henry, like me, does`nt own a car and loves to walk long-distances. A few years before, he had been walking in Wales when he saw a wind farm in the distance. It took him a whole days walk walk to reach it, and he was horrified by the manner it which it dominated what had been a beautiful and loneley landscape. He later joined Country Guardian and finally decided - just as I felt that as a landscape artist I must make my protest through my paintings - that he had to write a play about the subject. Among his previous shows were Joan of Kent  and.... but he says the Wind Thing was the hardest one to do, because he found the subject so depressing. (You would never guess this from the show, which is hilarious)

The Wind Thing was to be shown in at the Plough Arts Centre Great Torrington in June, and we had organised the walk to finish there in time for the performance. Henry was in the middle of casting, but had taken a couple of days offso that he could come down to the start, and walk the first few miles with me. His sister Lynette, who lives in South Devon, had brought him up from the train.

We went over to the gate below Brent Tor, and met up with the other supporters. Nic Randall came, and organised the photos. I had to take my jacket off, and do my best not to shiver. Ashley Gray, the Chairman f the Two Moors campaign, said a ew stirring words, and then it was time to start at last.

I had become so cold - I cannot tell you how glad I was to get moving at last. We waved goodby to everyone, and within minutes we were on our own, taking a tiny road that led in the direction of Lifton. Lynette was going to meet us near Chillaton, and take Henry back to the station.

It was so lovely to be alone, just the two of us, in this incredibly peaceful countryside. Now and again we would look behind and see Brent Tor, like a guardian angel watching over us. Dometimes we walked along lanes with banks like flower gardens, stitchwort embroidering them, along with pink campions, bluebells and some primroses too. Sometimes the road opened up, and we were in small sections of moorland, with gorse blossom scenting the air. We especially loved Bowden and Liddadon Downs - ares of open moorland studded with gorse. there was no traffic on the road, and we were once again in counrtyside nearly as rural as that of my childhood. - it was charming, even on an overcast and coldish day

Henry was excited because the casting for the play was going well. He had just cast an actor who was very good and had performed in the West End. Thinking of the play, perhaps, he began to sing a few songs as we walked along and then did a little dance. I managed to take a photograph of him as ou can see on the right.

Lynette met us near Chillaton - her car was about the first that we had seen on our walk so far. The plan had been to have a pub lunch, but the pub was closed, so reluctantly they sadi goodbye and she drove him off to catch his train back to London.

Bull Hill, looking back at Brent TorAt last I was really on my own, miles from anywhere with weeks of walking ahead of me. I thought about The Long Walk, a very gripping Stephen King book. Luckily, unlike the walkers in that story,  I wasn`t under threat of death if I stopped for a break! We`d had to divert to meet Lynette, and I was now on a road that was a little busier, but still safe. It wasn`t worth going back to take up my preferred footpath route, so I carried on up some hills toward Lifton.
On the left - I think - is on Bulhill, looking back towards Brent Tor.

Coming down into LiftonMy brother John had hoped to meet me on his bike at Lifton but he became ill on Thursday, and was at home, resting.  On the right is the view coming down towards the village of Lifton, quieter now that has been by-passed. There were plans for wind turbines near here, but they have lapsed for the moment. I stopped at the Post Office/shop  and sat outside on a convenient chair to eat a snack that I bought there. A lady asked me about the Country Guardian logo, and when I mentioned the words wind turbines she said "I hope you`re against those!"

signpostFrom Lifton I took the road near Wortham Manor, passing under the new A30. This was "home territory" to me now. My parents and John moved here in the seventies. I took one last look back at Brent Tor. It was still visible, but because of the haziness wasn`t worth photographing. .
The signpost on the right points to Ashwater Lifton and Broadwoodwidger. All three of these villages have been targeted for wind development, although for the moment they are turbine free.
I only had a two or so miles to go, the sun came out at times and it was nearly the end of my first longish walk.

I approached through the woods that are part of the Gaia Charity, following the river until I came to the metal bridge that my father had had built back in the early 80`s so that my mother, who was beecoming very disabled by multiple sclerosis, could cross the river in her batricar. I would be staying with my brother John in his little bungalow that we call The Shippon, because that is what it used to be.
John was sitting in his back garden, waiting for me.  Ivan and Diane had delivered my other rucksack safely.  It was time to sit down on the sofa, put my feet up and have a rest. John said he was feeling much better, and, thoughtful as always, he insisted on making me a cup of tea