Walking from John O'Groats to Land's End in the winter of 07/08.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Cheddar to Bridgwater

Setting off into the Somerset Levels, past the huge round bowl of Cheddar Reservoir, my world consisted of drainage channels, pumping stations and incredible quantities of mud; the land often only a handful of metres above sea level.

After crossing the river Axe, I found a rare hill, rising to the majestic height of 58m. There were wide views of the wetlands, under a big and complex sky, but soon the little used paths became very difficult to follow. Without stiles and therefore my usual way of finding the right route, I passed through fields until I lost any sense of where I was. I gave up trying to match the walls and fences to the lines on the map and wandered along in roughly the right direction, crossing streams and clambering through lines of trees.

I slowly lost height to reach a track, then back onto the Levels proper, with endless long straight lanes to numb the mind and make the soles (or souls) of my feet tingle. Desperate for some variation, I took to the fields when they weren't flooded as well as some muddy tracks, but soon faced another stretch along roads. A short cut across fields followed by an exciting scramble down an embankment lead to a tiny section of dismantled railway. More hard tarmac followed and a crossing of the huge King's Sedgemoor Drain, which just manages to be beautiful due to its size and directness. I refused to be tempted by invisible paths indicated by wooden signposts, and ended up on a pavement next to a main road and a long march into the centre of Bridgwater. An unmemorable day but another bite taken out of the remaining miles.

No comments: