What: First things first. On arrival, the UV water filter needs switching on and firewood must be foraged. Then, maps come out and the afternoon’s walk is planned.
The river runs high following lots of rain. Exmoor’s high moorland streams are generally slow flowing above the treeline and though in places they become deep enough for the brave to swim, they are rarely warm, even at the height of summer. Otters breed on the river downstream of the centre and Red Deer, Exmoor survivors since pre-historic times, can be seen most days.
Evening calls for a supper of bangers and mash. Then, fire stoked, a bit of chat, reading and star-gazing take the edge off a blustery night before everyone retires to their bunks.
Morning sees less bluster – and an obligatory fry-up. A quick clean of the centre leaves it ready for the next visitors. Kate squeezes in time to create some illustrations. Then, backpacks on, the team ships out. Over the river, up tracks and across the common, back to Bristol, buses, Ilfracombe’s harbour, and away from the moor.