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

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Yatton to Cheddar

The aching of my muscles made me feel like a rest, and a little wander along an old railway line and over the low hills of the Mendips fitted the bill perfectly.

The railway in question was the old Strawberry Line; now a gently curving path with views across the plains to the towns of Yatton and Congresbury. Before long, I had covered half the distance to Cheddar, and after passing through a cider orchard I decided to leave the fast track and chose a longer route through the hills.

With no time pressures, I picked paths at random from the myriad wandering around the limestone ramparts of the hill fort on grassy Dolebury Warren. Dropping off the ridge, the number of paths meant I only had a vague idea of where I really was. Thinking I had helped a map-less runner find her way home, I soon realised the path we had both chosen wasn't going where I expected and hoped I wouldn't see her coming back towards me. I couldn't face her realising I wasn't the proficient walker I seemed to be.

It was a long and enjoyable climb, through heather and thin yellow grasses, to the summit of Black Down, with the views you'd expect from a hill surrounded by so many flatlands. This was followed by a leisurely, although sometimes muddy, descent into Cheddar. It was far too early to get into my room for the night and settle into a hot bath, but the next best thing was to sit in the pub as the rain began to fall outside, especially as I hadn't felt a drop all day.

So it was almost a perfect day, although it does make me wonder whether people who take this trek at a more leisurely pace might have the right idea.

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