Not long ago, my extended family and I decided we needed a day off. The boys had received early birthday presents from Dad in the form of a fishing rod each, with all the trimmings. Arguably this was a form of thinly veiled bribery by Dad in order to acquire two new fishing buddies, but the boys were pretty delighted. So on what felt like the first real day of summer this year, we packed a 'proper picnic' and headed up to Kennick reservoir, near Bovey Tracey. Reminiscent of East Coast America (that's what I told myself, anyway), Kennick was peaceful, beautiful, and the perfect location for our one-day getaway.
The shoreline is peppered with with rhododendron bushes, which act as beautiful natural partitions between groups, providing a degree of privacy and adding to the getaway feel.
We chose our spot and settled down with blankets, books and enough food to feed a small army.
(Claude never fails to miss the point that picnic blankets are, in fact, laid for humans.)
He - and we - really were in seventh heaven.
When I said we made a 'proper' picnic, we really went all out. We decided to dig out an old silver service tea set, which hadn't been used since my granny's time, to complement the wicker hamper which too had been given shamefully few outings.
It really made the most beautiful cup of tea I have had for a long time. Partly, I'm sure, due to the length of time it took to come to the boil - about 25 minutes - but boy was it worth it!
The waiting got too much for Claude, who decided he needed a lie down.
After a little while more 'fishing', we felt we deserved a break, and so tucked into some bubbly, as a reward for everyone's hard work.
We had a delicious lunch of pork pies, coronation chicken, fruit and Dad's homemade 'curry coleslaw' - not for the faint-hearted!
The food was so good, in fact, that I forgot to take a photo, oops.
After a while, I spied a chocolate cake, lurking in the shadows. Time to brew the beautiful 25-minute kettle again, I believe...
Fishing update: apparently we came at the wrong time, and the fish would have been laughing at us. They are more likely to be fooled by our neon flies early morning or from 8pm onwards. This mattered very little to us all - luckily supper wasn't riding on the fruits of the day - but as time elapsed, Dan's frustration manifested itself in him standing deeper and deeper in the (very chilly) water! You gotta hand it to him for being so valiant.
Mike and Lizzie, meanwhile, weren't quite so fussed...
Mum and I decided to take Claude for a stroll and have a bit of an explore.
I can't recommend a trip to Kennick enough; it's only a 40-minute drive from Exeter, absolutely beautiful and we returned fishless, but feeling like we had been on holiday for a day.
In order to preserve its atmosphere and the environment, Kennick is strictly a fishermen-only day out, although as half of our group were attempting to fish, it was no problem for us non-fishergals to come along for the fun of just being there. You can find out more details about fishing permits and the reservoir here. Pack a picnic, a good book, some good friends, and make a day of it.