On 11th May, 2019, the scout rode from Barnstaple Junction to join the pioneering Exmoor Associates at their annual meeting in Goodleigh Village Hall.

This is the organization, run by the ever-resourceful Mike Buse, which is piecing together the Lynton & Barnstaple ahead of the track laying gang. It has eight holdings (11 in 2024), one being the line through Snapper Halt, where members retired after the meeting to see the lads spiking down the rails on a length of token track.

The Teign Valley at the time was active in the plan to resurrect Ashburton and so, when it came to “Matters Arising,” the scout was asked to say a few words. This he did, before regaling the meeting with the story of how he had confronted Gold Blend (the actress Louise Grob (nee Hunt), a Parracombe resident and vociferous opponent of the railway) on the landing of Lynton Town Hall after Exmoor National Park Authority members had approved the L. & B’s. plans to expand in March, 2018.


Exceptionally, Gold Blend had been given ten minutes to address the members, which she had done theatrically, rubbishing the railway’s plans and purpose. In front of the Beeb’s camera during the lunch break, her daughter, Ella, was heard to say that it was only about grown men playing “choo-choo trains.”

When the disgruntled family left the meeting, the scout approached Gold Blend and confessed to her that he was a railway supporter but stated earnestly that he had been so moved by her speech that he could have been turned. Nevertheless, he wondered whether she might approve of a functional Swiss-style electrified railway (the scout hadn’t known that her hubby was a Geneva art dealer) and, echoed by family members gathered around, she immediately said that she would, but that this wasn’t what was proposed.

Anyway, the tale earned the scout his ample lunch and was mentioned in the report of the meeting.

“Colin Burges gave a most entertaining unscripted talk to the meeting, much about his involvement in the L&B railway’s planning enquiry. Colin, eschewing conventional transport [the car?], arrived at the meeting on his bicycle, having travelled to Barnstaple by train. He later cycled down to inspect the goings-on at Snapper and at Chelfham, before returning the same way. Any EA shareholder is assured of a warm welcome should they visit him at Christow Station; and if you ever get a chance to hear Colin speak, you’re in for a treat.”

While seated on the platform, the scout chatted at length to Mike Buse, whom he congratulated for commissioning the excellent aerial film of the line. He was put in touch with the maker, Chris Catullo of Altitude58, who quoted £6,500 for a fly over of the Teign Valley line.

In June, 2013, the scout had stopped to inspect the halt.

The scout had had an invitation to see David Moore’s length of line at Bratton Fleming but he got no further than Chelfham, where he was shown around by S.M. Nigel Thompson and served tea and cake on the sunny Down platform.

On his return to Barnstaple, the scout scooted through all the short cuts unavailable to the motorist to emerge at Town Station, where he called at a little shrine, the “Toy Train” buffer stop.

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