Bath to Westbury

A very comfortable night, waking early and mostly ready to go. Just need to get these legs to get me down 4 flights of stairs without landing in a heap at the bottom.

Out onto the cool, grey streets of Bath, heading for the centre in search of breakfast to set me up for the day. A little cafe called Made by Ben fits the bill, and a whopping slab of Tortilla certainly fill a hole.

A brief wander through the town admiring the architecture, and then winding through residential streets before I find the canal path that takes me in a big arch, east then south. Flat terrain as on would expect on a canal path, not a single lock to vary the level, only the occasional swing bridge.

Nearing lunchtime, and the legs are definitely feeling the strain. The engine seems to be low of fuel and I’m pleased to find the cafe just along from the Dundas Aqueduct. I order an omelette and get one accompanied by a pile of fries and a salad. Great value for money and much needed fuel that last the rest of the day.

On reaching Avoncliffe I leave the canal behind and climb the hill heading south. Once on the top I can see the White Horse and the grim skyline of Westbury. I still have good 10 miles to go.

A surprise as I come across Farleigh Hungerford Castle, deserted at this time of the year. I press on through woods and over farmland, retracing steps at one point due to bad way marking by some nob of landowner.

A final stretch into Westbury, walking the verge of a noisy fast B road, then veering off through the industrial estate that blights the skyline. 20 minutes to kill before the train whisks me back to Taunton, a welcome coffee and a seat. Exhausted, 21 miles today, making 44 for the trip, which I’d estimated at 35. Good to test yourself though.

Georgian Bath and Just Desserts

The sun stayed with me all the way, and I reached Bath just in time to catch the Royal Crescent and The Circus at their best, whilst a hot air balloon sauntered by overhead. Perfect evening for it. A rare occurrence in March I suspect.

A more contemporary dining experience, the King William on the corner of London Road and Thomas Street does a great meal and a lovely pint of Pigswill (yes, that’s really the name, not a comment on the quality).

Time for bed, I have to do it all again tomorrow on the way to Westbury, but I suspect with more hills than today.

Bath Graffiti

I found the graffiti in Bristol to be typically depressing, although wondered how they got such crisp lines with a humble spray can. Any attempt I made would look distinctly out of focus by comparison.

But I’m the outskirts of Bath, the graffiti took on an altogether better level of education. It seems that physics even comes into the equation in getter your existential point across.

Bristol to Bath

After spending a pleasant afternoon and evening sampling the delights of Bristol, staying over at an AirBNB host on a very comfortable sofa bed, I said farewell to my Canadian and Estonian hosts, I wandered back into the centre to find breakfast to. Set me up for the day. One ham and cheese omelette later and I picked up the river path heading east towards Bath.

Bristol City Council seem to be lacking in footpath maintenance, as I had twice to divert from the river due to repairs that look like they’d long been forgotten. It was about three miles before I got past the semi industrial garbage, found the gentrified outskirts and then wandered proper into the countryside. It was interesting watching the urban decay getting smothered by Mother Nature.

Notice in the second photo, looking past the graffiti, at the brick effigies of dogs I’m the wall of the dogs home.

There were also some amusing and alarming signs along the route. I presume they were worried about sporting guns, rather than drug dealers in Harley’s in the Conham River Park.

Following the river if was inevitable that you’d find people messing about in boats, and why not on such a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon.

The diversions earlier added somewhat to the planned mileage, and so it was 22 miles before I knocked on the door on my Bath AirBNB host. A further hike up 4 flights of stairs (damn those Georgian builders) before I found my well presented room and very welcome bath to soak and smooth the aching lower limbs.

Record Low Tide at Watchet

Last night saw a record low tide event for the Bristol Channel, no doubt other parts of the UK too. The lowest tide in 200 years saw it retreat to -0.4 metres. It usually goes to about 2 metres, and was combined with a high tide in the morning of 12.6 metres.

It still boggles my mind as to where 13 metres of water goes to (or comes from, depending on your perspective).

These pictures were taken on Friday when the tide was at about +0.2 metres, so it will be interesting to see the pictures from today. Alas I’m missing it, as I’m currently walking from Bristol to Bath along the Avon. Picture of that in the next post.

West Somerset Coast Path – Watchet to Minehead

A gorgeous day for a walk, what if intended to be a comfortable 10 miles along the coast to Minehead, part training for Amanda’s charity walk from Somerset to Leicester in June, following the Fosse Way.

Mel and Amanda were along for this walk too, and the weather pulled off a perfect Spring day. A little hazy out to sea, so long distance views not so good, but it didn’t detract at all. Perhaps even enhanced it! We commented more than once how perfect Britain can be sometimes.

Anyway, a coffee stop at Blue Anchor after clambering over the rocky beach from Watchet, the tide a long way out making the place look moon like. On reaching Minehead we stopped for a quick lunch. The plan had been to walk back to Dunster before catching the bus home, but the girls decided that walking back would do the day justice.

Couldn’t resist a picture of the South West Coast path sign to make a pair with the one captured at Studland a week ago. Must try to do the proper joining up of the by foot, rather than car. Just need to find a spare 3 months.

We all did well till about 12 miles, before it was evident that the distance was starting to count, but we kept at it, and finally on reaching Watchet and clocking up 17 miles, we decided a pint in Pebbles was the only apt way to celebrate.

I’m off this weekend for a two day Microadventure, walking from Bristol to Westbury, largely following the path of the River Avon. Should be lovely, but with 18 miles to cover each day, it will test the endurance!

SWCP – Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

Our last day in Dorset, and time for a quick walk along the coast path around Durdle Door. The most descended not long after leaving, but we got to see the sights at least.

72 miles walked in the last week. That’s the first time I’ve managed to get it into the green for 7 consecutive days (10000+ steps per day – about 4.5 miles).

Just need to keep that up from now on!

East Stoke to Bere Regis

Yes, I had to read that notice twice too.

A lovely calm and sunny day today, and a lovely walk across farmland, past quarries and golf courses, and a pub lunch to boot.

Glad to say that the verdict on the walking boots is positive, no problems with comfort now. 15.6 miles today, the legs feel like they are getting into better shape after a somewhat slovenly winter.

Not expecting a great day of weather tomorrow, possibly wet and windy, so may take the opportunity to relocate west of Weymouth to suss out walks round there. We a likely heading to Exeter at the weekend for the Motorhome show, just to keep abreast of all matters motorhoming. Then back to Watchet so that Mel can get some studio time.

Wareham

Been dodging the showers for the last couple of days, so slightly down on walking activity, but we have still gotten a good 6-7 miles in each day.

Lovely views over Poole harbour, the sun came out just in time for sunset.

One thing, apart from the scenery, that I’m loving here is that I’ve got a 4G data connection pretty much everywhere. Peaked at 44mbits down and 25 up this afternoon, perfect for watching the Apple keynote.

Also brilliant timing on that I recently change my phone contract and got 90 days unlimited data as a trial, so don’t even need to pay for any of it! The genuinely first nice thing the Vodafone have ever done!

Nine Barrow Down, Corfe Castle and Kingston Loop

The weather forecast isn’t always right, they seemed to have it wrong for most of the country today. Not pear shaped, but not the warm, sunny day as advertised.

Still, good walking weather. We headed off down the valley and onto Nine Barrow Down, part of the long spine great bisects the Isle of Purbeck. Nestled in a breach sits the remains on Corfe Castle. As you travel along the ridge and descend towards the village, it’s like a scene from Game of Thrones. Wouldn’t mind tackling the whole ridge sometime.

After a stop for refreshments in Corfe, we headed further west before looping back across the valley to descend back to the Haycraft Caravan Club site, some 14.5 miles after setting out.

I’m glad that I’ve seem to have largely sorted out problems with walking boots causing blisters, having returned to Taunton Leisure for a refitting and sock upgrade. See how that goes over the coming weeks.

Travelling Through Life