Our A-B Newquay coach left Chester Road at 9.00am for our long journey to Salcombe, Devon where we were visiting the National Trust property at Overbeck’s. We had a much smaller coach to travel in on this visit because we had been pre-warned that the car park there would not take a full-size coach.
As we approached the property, we could see why they had told us not to come in a large coach. The approach roads were steep, narrow and full of hair-pin bends. Amazingly, with a bit of manoeuvring, our experienced coach driver got us safely to Overbeck’s tiny car park. How he turned his coach around, was a mystery.
The gardens were high up, overlooking the estuary at Salcombe. Views from the house and various view points in the gardens were spectacular. As it was a hot day, we were very grateful for the fact that the gardens were mostly woodland, where we could walk around for a couple of hours in comfortable shade. Giant Echiums and Palm trees seemed to dominate the gardens, but there were many other ornamental specimens to admire.
Time spent in the museum in the property was well worth the visit: so many collections of anything and everything! I have to say, though, that I personally would rather see birds like a Kingfisher or Jay alive and in the flesh, rather than stuffed!
After lunch and other refreshments we got on our coach for our journey home, hoping that our driver would be able to negotiate the steep hair-pin bends as well doing downhill as he did coming up them. However, we hadn’t gone far before the coach driver stopped the coach and switched off the engine. Those of us at the back of the coach had not seen the problem.
A car was parked at the side of the narrow road in such a way that even a small coach could not pass, let alone a fire engine, if one were needed. We were stuck in a hot coach going nowhere! Fortunately our driver had the presence of mind to ring Overbeck’s to see if the car belonged to a visitor there.
The offending car was parked right next to the South West Coastal Path. It could have belonged to a walker who might not have come back to his car for hours, or it could have been an Overbeck’s visitor who was wandering around the grounds and we could have been there for ages. However, even more fortunately the car’s owner was a visitor who was actually in the tearooms. How lucky was that!
Not long after we had all got off the coach to stand in the shade of the trees at the side of the road, along came a very embarrassed man, apologising profusely, who quickly got into his car to move it. We all got back on the coach and carried on descending the hill.
It wasn’t long before we met another vehicle coming up. We couldn’t reverse anywhere: by this time there was a convoy of cars behind us. The approaching car had to reverse a long way down the hill again until he found a point where we could pass. Our coach driver handled the situation very well and was seemingly unperturbed but commented that next time they would take us in two mini-buses instead!
We’d had a hot but interesting visit and a bit of “excitement” on our journey, but we had all enjoyed the day.