Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Bath to Dunster

Monday 26 September: Bath to Street (36 miles). Sunny and cloudy with a light shower. Heading out of Bath my day starts with a long steep hill-climb south to join the Limestone Link path which heads west to a good lunch stop at the Ring 'o Bells pub in Hinton Blewett. Here I join the Monarch's Way continuing south again. Passing Priddy in the Mendip Hills, the path drops off the limestone escarpment down to Wookey Hole where there are great views across the Somerset levels to Glastonbury Tor and beyond. Crossing the levels on minor roads I skirt round Glastonbury and, as there is street lighting, decide to carry on to the YHA hostel in Street which is on a ridge of the Polden Hills south of the town. It's a long slow climb - this is my longest day.
Tuesday 27: Street to the Quantocks (29 miles). Cloudy and warm with thick evening mist. The Samaritans Way South West follows the ridge of the Polden Hills all the way to Bridgwater and so do I. Dropping down off the hills I cross King's Sedgemoor Drain at Chedzoy but the pub in Chedzoy is closed and I have little choice but to continue past the pretty church to the Boat & Anchor on the west bank of the weedy Bridgwater & Taunton Canal for a late lunch.
Goathurst is the gateway to the Quantock Hills and as I ascend to the summit at Wills Neck a heavy mist engulfs the landscape and soon darkness falls. Now walking carefully I'm using a compass and torch to navigate but it still seems an age before I reach
the Blue Ball Inn at Trinscombe, my favourite pub of the trip. They have stopped serving food so after several packets of peanuts and pints of beer it's quite late when I pitch my tent at Quantock Orchard campsite in Crowcombe.
Wednesday 28: The Quantocks to Dunster (18 miles). Sunny with clear skies. By the time I wake the mist has been replaced by bright sunshine (too bright!) and I follow the route of the West Somerset Steam Railway to Williton to pick up the Macmillan Way West to Dunster. It's dark when I arrive and I'm not looking forward to another hike through dark woodland to the YHA hostel a couple of miles further on but the Forrester's Arms is a great place to stop and, you guessed it, another hot tub.
from Bath to Dunster. My total is now 1,085 miles.

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