Last blast visiting old haunts before the new lockdown, sadly in a red tin-top for practical reasons.
The Black Cat garage sold its last petrol long ago but its name lives on as the rat run from Minehead to Tiverton, that the maps call the A396.
The Black Cat Run, the name reeks of Castrol GTX and Esso Extra (“Put a tiger in your tank”) as much as GSXRs, Fireblades, Nortons and Triumphs or Morgans, Bristols, and Spitfires. The A396 road down the valley of the River Exe is still a magnet for rat-run riders: bikers, white vans and sports cars. And my hired tin-top, a red Citroen C3. Plenty of leaf mulch after a couple of days of rain but I wasn’t seriously caught out. There’s a handy tea kiosk in a lay-by near the Tiverton end as well as good food at the Anchor pub at Exebridge (where the Quarme joins the Exe) and other good fare along the road. The mountain bikers have an off-road track at Cove with lots of mud and wet leaves amongst the slides and jumps.
After lunch, cutting through the back roads for a peaceful stroll on the moor to see the sunset from Haddon Hill, before heading back to home in the red C3 for the latest lockdown.