Torbay looked lovely in the sunshine, with a very calm sea. Some people chose to catch the next train back to Newton Abbot, while others stayed to look round the South Devon Railway station and admire Lydham Manor gleaming in the sunlight, waiting to take out the 10.30am first train of the day. The train was already filling up. Returning to Exeter on the 10.23, we had some anxious moments as we were held up at Newton Abbot to allow an express train to go in front of us. We only had 11 minutes at Exeter before the Barnstaple train left, and this time was being whittled down by the minute! A call was put through to Roger, who had gone ahead, telling him we were late and hoping he would lay down in front of the Barnstaple train ‘til we got there! We got to Exeter with just two minutes to spare. A quick sprint over the bridge and we were on the train. (Which in the end left three minutes late!) It was a very pleasant run up to Barnstaple, the countryside was at its very best in the May sunshine. The same could not be said for the track – like James Bond’s cocktails we were shaken not stirred; it really is very bumpy. We were held up again at Eggesford because the train we were crossing was delayed. This meant that the eight minute wait at Barnstaple was reduced to about three minutes, so not much time for photographs. Our return train then took us all the way down to Exmouth where we had a 34 minute break to look around the town, or find an ice cream.
Leaving Exmouth at 14.53 we returned to Exeter (on the way collecting three young Marines at Lympstone Commando, one of whom was clutching an ironing board!). At Exeter Central we detrained and crossed the foot bridge to catch the 15.30 South West Trains Exeter-Waterloo service to Axminster, the furthest point our Devon Rover will take us. Arriving at Axminster at 16.06 we had an hour to explore the town and have afternoon tea. (Some members found a very good cafe). Axminster is a very old town with some interesting historical buildings. Axminster station is well kept, clean and tidy; pleasant to sit there in the hot afternoon sun waiting for the 17.03 back to Exeter. At Exeter only three members elected to go on to Tiverton Parkway to say they had covered all the Devon Rover area. The rest of us, by now being quite tired, caught the Cross Country 17.47 back to Cornwall. We had all had an extremely pleasant day out and at £6.25 for the Cornwall ticket and only £6.60 for the Devon Rover, quite a bargain. Our thanks to Roger for great timetable organisation, (most of the trains were on time) and for organising the weather!