Thought of the day

Were getting some great skies at the moment and it would be a cloud spotters heaven I suspect with all the different layers in fact I counted three maybe four. Also the heather is starting to turn so soon there will be a sea of purple covering the moors along with beehives to scent the honey. I have been slowly building up my daily walks over the last seven months to the point where I am doing ten miles a day now. As I look back at my tracking app it is interesting to see the progress from sporadic potters in in the countryside to now route marches across hill and dale and the corresponding downward progress of the (waist) line in these efforts.

Walking is the one constant in life that has got me out of the house and on dark days helped me either empty my mind or allowed me to think clearly, well try to think clearly about the future and as I have said in previous posts it is my form of meditation and am more than happy to tramp along for miles and miles emptying the mind with every step. I love seeing the seasons change and although I am not enamoured with winter and the run up to it, it has it’s own beauty. Here in what this year is call summer I look back to spring and coming out of the previous winter and shedding off the layers and then looking forward to the impending one with some in-trepidation as the nights get longer and the days get darker. But walking is the cure, the cure to it all although the opportunity to get out reduces with every encroaching sunset and sunrise. But hey were still in August and there is some way to go before those darkened days.

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One of the things I enjoy is coming across unexpected things and the picture above shows what I mean. Coming across this pack horse bridge with its steep angles and narrowness is a view of the past that we have all but forgotten in our daily lives until we come across them. To me it is fascinating that I am travelling over a bridge that for four or five hundred years people have been doing the same thing and yet next to me cars drive by with satnav and mobile phones that even say sixty years ago were unimaginable to the masses. It is striking to me that though society and communities change the landscape changes little over the course of time and certainly out here in the countryside life goes on pretty much as it has done for centuries.

Park & Walk

IMG_1167Whilst taking a load of books to the charity shop nearby I came across this little book and its funny looking cover. Bit of a time warp really as the book comes from the early 1970’s and it certainly shows it just look at the cars and the hairstyles. Interestingly it was written at the time of decimalisation and so that there is a nod to the fact that we were joining Europe and that there was a need to integrate metric systems, bit ironic as we seem to be going back the other way.

I actually managed to barter the pile of books that I was donating in exchange for this and so spent no money which was nice though the lady at the till was very reluctant to at first, thinking I was trying something on or trying to get it for nothing. After a few minutes of explaining in ways that could not be simpler the penny dropped and was happy to let me out of the door with out releasing the hounds.

So what next, well maybe it would be rude not to try it out or at least some of the walks although most of the walks are somewhat shorter than I usually do but maybe I can combine with others. Being a bit of a completionist I feel that I should do them in the  original form and could maybe do a few in a day as I will be ‘motoring’ over to do them. Now I just need to find some driving gloves and some 70’s retro clothing..

We’ll see..

Saturday stroll

IMG_0926.jpegYesterday my brother and I went for an 8 mile walk although this is not that long it has some pretty steep gradients both down and up and heading into prevailing Westerlies outbound added some resistance to ones efforts. Finally we had what can pass as a proper summers day and although pretty windy at the start of the walk due to the elevation it calmed down once in the protection of the leeward side of the hill that we would follow along on the majority of the walk. It seems as though the track, on old drovers track, has been somewhat upgraded to allow huge tractors to pass along as we found out with a succession of huge haymaking equipment that thundered by as we had to step aside for and a little town car that seemed lost with a rather apprehensive some might say scare looking  young couple who stop us and asked if it was going to get worse? I did fancy saying  {NB, Don’t watch if your squeamish or a minor!)Stay off the moors” but as it was a warm sunny day.. told them that they should get through but enquired why they had ventured up so far from the main road and civilisation and was told cheerily that they wanted a bit of adventure.. Well they so say one should do one thing that scares you each day, not sure if I concur with that statement.

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On reaching our stopping point the wind had dropped and added with cover of trees made for a very pleasant lunch. As with most beauty spots and it being a weekend there were other walkers arriving and leaving but there were less people than I had expected. Normally I go mid week and pretty much have the place to myself not that I am bothered by others or want to experience the place “on my own” just it’s nicer. As we sat and enjoyed sandwiches and tea a minibus arrived disgorging at swarm of tripod lugging, huge camera totting photographers. It was funny to watch them vying for prime position and obviously somewhat displeased at there being others there before them and then a couple having the affront to want to go “wild swimming” in front of them. Apparently it was warm and pleasant we were told though I’m not sure I would want to do it unless it was a boiling hot day.

IMG_0934.jpegAnd finally the view rewarded at the end of the walk and a bit of a climb! As you can imagine this is a popular spot and on arrival there were a number of cars with there occupants gazing out peacefully at the view over to the North Yorks Moors. However within a few short moments we were left alone with nothing but the noise of birds and the whistle of the wind to keep us company which was surprising maybe it was our dazzling personalities, glaring sunburn or maybe the bodily odours wafting on the breeze.. hey whatever works. Then a tootal back down the lanes to a nice cuppa tea..

A new dawn

IMG_0440.jpegA new day, a new sunrise and a new place. I’m back down in Somerset and staying with family for short break. Very early yesterday morning around sunrise I set out for a walk that I wanted to do before everyone was up as I thought as the day went on I wouldn’t get the opportunity.

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You can see from the pictures I am standing next to another triangulation point on one of the many hills surrounding Bath which is called Solsbury Hill. Peter Gabriel wrote a song in its name after splitting from Genesis and it was a shame I didn’t have the song to listen to whilst being up there. It does command an impressive view and as I reached the summit the sun finally poke its head out from behind the clouds. Although it was a bit chilly from a brisk westerly wind and one can imagine the inhabitants of the fort battling through wintery conditions high up on the hill surviving much worse than a bit of a breeze also longing for the season to change to summer and a brief respite from the clutches of their harsh lives. From there on it was all downhill and back home.

I worked out that I hadn’t done quite enough mileage so decided to continue on past the Mill at the end of the lane and see where it took me. I love wandering down country roads and back lanes, seeing places and things you don’t usually see from the main roads and motorways as there are always interesting things to see and people to talk to. Once you get over the understandable suspicion to why someone is wandering around looking out of place and gawping at things or more likely the lack of purpose you can learn a lot from a brief conversation. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in the worlds behind the doors of the houses passing by and occasionally I get to hear.

Unfortunately my orginal plan to go down to the towpath on the Kennett and Avon and walk to Dundas viaduct and back which is around ten miles was thwarted due to repair works on the footpath that had blocked off my route. I had been looking forward to completing what I set out to do last time I was here but failed. Not to be deterred though I am planning to drive out to near where the blockage ends and start my walk there and see how far I get. The beauty of a canal walk is that it is flat as a pancake and virtually no obstacles so you can travel for miles unhindered, I like that.. it’s a kind of mediation for me. Of course in good old British fashion it is now rainy again and as I look out of my window it looks more like a wintery day than late May.