In June 2019 I took a trip down to Umberleigh in Devon. There aren’t many stations starting with the letter u that close to Cardiff. I could have chosen to go to university, the name given to the station at Birmingham University campus, and one I used to sue regularly when I was a student there for a couple of years. In the end I decided upon Umberleigh as its on the Tarka Line, one I’ve never travelled on previously and sounded very pretty. The Tarka Line runs through Devon from Exeter in the south to Barnstable in the north. My route took me from Cardiff Central to Bristol and then Exeter before transferring onto the Tarka Line to get to Umberleigh. There was the added excitement that Umberleigh is a request stop so I just hoped that my request had been noted with the passing ticket inspector.
Umberleigh must win the prize for being one of the prettiest stations I have ever been to. The flowers were in full bloom and it looked like something out to a film set. There was nobody around. I think you’d be unlucky to meet a ticket inspector here.
If I’m being brutally honest with myself there wasn’t a lot to do in Umberleigh. I researched my hobbies of trig pointing and geocaching but had failed to come up with any of those close by. The main road looked a bit too dangerous to wander too far along so I kept to the lanes, looking at the cottages and scenery and picturesque River Taw. I wandered around the antiques emporium and then looked at the fly fisherman standing up to his thighs in his galoshes in the River Taw.
In the end I ate my sandwiches and then wandered into the Rising Sun pub for pint. The walls were adorned with what Umberleigh is famous for, salmon fishing. A montage of photos had fishermen and their sizable catches and one didn’t half look like Eric Morecambe. The friendly man on the bar stool confirmed to me it was indeed Eric Morecambe and then went on to tell me about his life as a rock band roadie – the life of the man on the bar stool that is not Eric Morecambe’s. Luckily the beer was tasty and I was in no hurry to leave.
It was soon time to head home to South Wales and conclude another fine day on the rails.
More adventures as part of my A-Z of Railway Stations