It’s officially less than two months to Christmas. In the UK and Europe, the clocks have already gone back one hour, meaning we lose 60 minutes of precious daylight from our evenings. With the turn in season, my walks will also continue to shorten as I fight the lure of hibernation. But walk on, I must. I will.
Another weekend has passed and with it, another walking experience amongst Bristol’s Brunel Walking Group. As I don’t visit the Cotswolds too often on my own and can rarely justify the hour’s drive each way when I’m walking solo, I took this opportunity to join a ramble to the east and slightly south of Stroud. No sooner had I arrived at the meeting point in Bristol, I was asked to be an additional driver – it was fortunate then that I’d filled my fuel tank 5 minutes before!
This walk began in an area known as Frampton Mansell, with Aston Down airfield located on the south side of the A419. We were to head north in an anti-clockwise direction towards Edgeworth, which was heavily shadowed beneath the terror of dark clouds…
We’ll have to go back an entire month in order to recount this one. A rare walk up in the Cotswolds of Gloucestershire; a little further north than my usual expeditions. On this occasion and, I decided it was worth the added expense of fuel. Had I read the sign more carefully upon arriving at the car park in Painswick, I could’ve saved myself £2.20 as I’d have realised that parking there is FREE on both Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. Who’d have thought it! Even the rate of £2.20 for over 5 hours of parking seemed fair. If only that woman who informed me moments before I pushed the ticket button and not after…
This is another one of those walks that you can find within Geoff Mullett’s Walk West series (Walk West 2). I made an addendum on the mileage towards the end but we’ve a long way to go before that.
You know me; I like to walk. As much as I also enjoy writing, I’ve found it hard to keep you up to date with my walks of the past fortnight, because there have been three of them! This post is going to briefly summarise two of them, because you’ve (hopefully) seen much of each route before the third walk, being a new one to me, is going to require more effort and dedication before you see it published.
So, starting off one day before my 29th birthday; I took a routine climb up to Crook Peak, two-months ahead of the 30-mile Mendip Challenge.
My destination for last Sunday’s walk wasn’t going to be anywhere other than Wiltshire. Initially, my sights were set on a Brunel-led walk around an unknown area close to Longleat. Before heeding the weather forecast on Saturday, I was lining up a trip to Lacock, which is surely soon to follow in April. But I wanted to save that one for a clear and consistently sunny day and so, instead, I elected to follow a walk titled the Wessex Ridgeway.
This past weekend, I donned my waterproofs to brave the great outdoors. With a mountain of an expedition only a dozen weeks away now, I don’t think that I can use ‘the weather excuse‘ to keep me indoors for consecutive weekends. I have training to do and, flicking through the virtual pages of the three Walk West books, I can create a growing list of routes that I am keen to follow.
So, with falling water forecast and grey skies in waiting for me as I woke up on Sunday morning, I decided to keep the setting fairly familiar and not-too-brand-new by visiting Lansdown, to the north-east of Bath.
This Sunday will be a day I’ve been waiting for, as I’ll finally get to lead the walking group on one of my personal favourite routes. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed each of the previous two walks I’ve led but the ascent up to Crook Peak has been a firm favourite since my first journey almost a year ago. I look forward to seeing how the others take to it, especially for those who may not have even heard of it (several members of this group are relatively new to Bristol). I’ve extended the original route I found by about 5 miles, if my memory serves me correctly. I hope the extra climbs and the endeavour aren’t too much.
Last Sunday, in spite of a sore throat and a runny nose, I dragged myself down to Axbridge so that I could confidently complete the second half of this route, after a little mis-direction on my first attempt to negotiate the woodlands west of Cheddar Gorge…
This walk is another (like the one in Nunney) that I plucked from the pages of one of Geoff Mullett’s Walk West eBooks. Pensford is a small village just south of Bristol (down the A37) that I’m somewhat familiar with, as my sister has a friend that lives in the area and, over the last few years, I’ve played the roll of the taxi driver, long in to the night/early morning at times! But it’s not somewhere I’d previously explored beyond the usual road trips heading east through Chew Magna and so, with the promise to glimpse at nearby Stanton Drew’s own stone henges, I decided that this 6.5 mile walk would be worth of a Sunday afternoon.
My first walk along this route took place two weeks ago on the Sunday, while that heatwave was still around us (to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s officially gone or just hidden behind dark clouds of rain at the minute…). It turned out to be much better than I had expected. Along with the stone circles, there was a lot to take in with the surrounding views and a couple of other historic features. One day before this, I’d walked with one of the walk calendar organisers for the Brunel Walking Group and he was concerned by the number of ‘free’ weekends we had up as far as September… It wasn’t long after I go in that evening that I decided to sit down and send him an e-mail; submitting this as my second walk in as many months. 😉
So, the big day for my latest walk was in fact yesterday. Most of the photos you’ll see here were taken with my digital camera on the day that I ‘pre-walked’ it alone. I took a few extra with the group yesterday using my phone, but those were mainly to capture to larger stone circle that I didn’t fully explore on my own.