“Have you got any string? I need to tie my head on.”
Whatever strange things you hear working in a bar-bistro, that surely doesn’t crop up too often.
We had reached the first stop on the Delicious Dart route and a few sudden gusts of wind had played havoc with Mrs Running Buffet’s wolf head. Nothing a bit of string and some strong knots couldn’t solve so, one furry head sorted out, it was time to stuff the other furry head full of mushroom-filled croissant and beer. And it was only just after ten o’clock.
Decked out in our fairytale-themed costumes, we had set off from Dartington alongside flocks of sheep, a herd of cows, several dwarves, Shrek and Fiona, some ladybirds and a whole storybook’s worth of other colourful characters. This was going to be an interesting morning.
Into Totnes for our first stop and some running repairs, then on again along the river towards Sharpham. Wine and cheese, of course, for that is what they are famous for, and then up and over a hill to our first pub stop. Another beer and on down hill to our second pub. Sausage, and fruit in a cup (that’s “sausage, comma, and fruit in a cup”; it’s not some strange Devonian meat and fruit delicacy) and on once again.
At Tuckenhay we tucked into more beer (specially brewed by Dartmoor Brewery we were told), some delicious fish thing and some even-more-delicious macarons. The sugary hit from the macaron gave us a spurt to get up the steepest hill yet, from where we had a fun slip and slide up a muddy track and down some exciting descents towards Fingals Boutique B&B. On their immaculate lawn we sat and sipped a bottle of Luscombe Damascene Rose Bubbly, which was delicious, but there is no rest for the wicked. And no one is more wicked than the Big Bad Wolf, so off we went again.
In fact, it was around Fingals that you had the slightly strange sight of Red Riding Hood running after the Big Bad Wolf, who was in turn following another Big Bad Wolf, with a further Red Riding Hood leading the way. Don’t you hate it when you turn up to a party and someone else has got the same outfit on?
The last section, for us ten-milers at least, took us up and across fields into Dittisham where two more pubs awaited. The second, the Ferry Boat Inn, was serving paella on the river bank and we ate that and supped another beer while we waited for the ferry. The longer route took people across the river to Greenway, Agatha Christie’s holiday home, and another few miles of riverside running. For us, there was a pleasant ferry ride down to Dartmouth for the final leg.
This was the victory lap if I’m honest. A mad dash across Dartmouth to the chippy for a surprisingly generous portion of fish and chips and then some fantastic flapjack and a slurp of coffee at Cafe Alf Resco. It was more of a waddle than a sprint to the finish, to be handed our commemorative half-pint glass and a slice of cake.
It turns out that the Dart really can be pretty delicious when it wants to be. And all in the name of charity as well; currently, on top of the money from the entry fees and the raffle, the participants have raised over £1300 for CHICKS, a children’s charity that provides free respite breaks for disadvantaged children from across the UK.
“One man’s quest to exercise enough so that he can eat all of the good things that exist in the world.” That is what it says up there at the top of this page. Well, on the Delicious Dart you can do it all at the same time!