The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Day 17 - Cheddar to Congresbury

1 May
Distance: 10 miles
Number of waggy dogs met: 18

According to our schedule, today should be a rest day. We placed it specifically as we thought that it would be nice to spend the day looking around Cheddar Gorge, whilst we were in the area.

However, the schedule also saw us walking 24 miles tomorrow. After our string of 18/19 mile days last week, neither of us really fancied a 24 miler, so we decided to forego our day off and replace it with an easy day.

After we had picked up the disused railway line out of Cheddar (something we did after a modicum of directional confusion, but having stopped to chat to some tandeming end-to-enders) I realised that we perhaps hadn't made the right route choice. The route that I'd plotted out of Cheddar, along the old rly line, was based on us already having walked around the gorge area on our day off. It was only after a mile of walking this morning that I realised that in the absence of the day off we should have taken the more circuitous route to see the sights and scenary.

No point crying over spilt milk, mind, and I was soon cheered when we came to the village of Axebridge, with its narrow streets and colourful rows of houses. The whole place is full of character and it was a pleasure to walk through.

The rly path was rather pleasant too. This one hasn't been ruined by a tarmac surface and for the most part it doesn't run within cuttings, so we had good views of the Mendips as we went along - in between the showers at least.

One particularly heavy shower would have seen us reaching for the waterproofs, save that there was a tunnel just ahead of us. We got a little wet before we made it to the shelter, commenting that we hoped the weather would be better when we got out the other end. As if by magic, we emerged at the far end to clearing skies and sunshine.

A hundred dog walkers were encountered along the next section of the path, but all with well behaved animals (even if one did take a bit too much interest when it heard me opening a snack bar wrapper).

At Sandiford one gets thrown off the ex-rly for a distance, taking to roads instead, but it was only a couple of km before we got to rejoin it for the last section to our night stop.

That last section was very quiet indeed - and also quite remarkably straight and flat. It made us feel like we were on a treadmill; at least with bends and lumps you make some discernable progress towards them!

Finally, after a couple of wiggles in the path, caravans came into view. It's another of those 'Touring Parks' that looks really busy, but in reality most of the caravans are on seasonal pitches and are unoccupied. Once again, we are the only tent (although it is early yet; we arrived at 1pm after our short day).

It was shortly after arriving that I realised that my towel was still on the radiator in the Ladies' at Cheddar. Doh! That's the first thing either of us has misplaced on this walk. Vic is on the case to sort me out with a new one, so it should only be a few days that I'm drying myself on a handkerchief!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you are having a great time. Weather will pick up I'm sure.

    We want a picture of the bearded one.

    Good luck. I'm hooked on the blog.

    Simon R The slicer to Micks hook