Braunton – Instow (13 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 75.8 miles / Distance toPoole – 556.5 miles
What a joy! – Today I was joined by 13 men! (and one lovely lady!)
St Michael’s Church in Galmington, Taunton coordinated their Men’s Away Weekend with this stage of the walk before jetting off to Dartmoor to finish their time together. We were a cyclist’s nightmare as we spread along the coast path which doubles as the Tarka Trail, a popular local cycling route – we ambled along happily chatting and taking in the beautiful estuary scenery while Toby ran between us.
It seemed that the group was made up of many different experts; a survival expert whose boots fell apart!; a bird expert who pointed out the waders, the various varieties of duck and even a peregrine falcon; experts in local planning, bridge engineering and the environment agency who occasionally discussed the many different aspects of the local bridges; and many more types of expert which made for an interesting and educational walk to Barnstaple.
Last autumn I had received an email saying that in an auction of gifts I had been bought a vicar – or more accurately a sermon. Where better to cash in this sermon than on the banks of the Taw Estuary, so before lunch we gathered around Colin, like disciples around Jesus and got preached to. It was a brilliant sermon and so perfect for the setting, the group and the whole day – what a great present!
It got me thinking about the variety of skills, talents and expertise we had on today’s walk in just a small group of people. It was the combination of these that made the day truly enjoyable – if the whole day had been about bird watching, Martin might have been pleased but it might have been a bit much for the rest of us. If we had not had the input from Colin then we might have spent more time joking and larking around, but then the deep and thought provoking conversations might never have happened. It was the combination of all of our different expertise – even if we don’t know what it is that we bring – that made the walking group a community. A community that was able to encourage, support, challenge and uplift each of the members. A community that celebrated with a cool, refreshing pint together at the end of the stage!