Sunday, 25 March 2012

In the footsteps of the builders of Stonehenge

Picture a nice sunny Saturday morning and the following conversation:

Fancy a trip away?

We both had commitments in the morning so it was mid afternoon before we left ( having taken the precaution of booking a B&B on line before we left).

Getting late when we arrived at the second B&B - so much for on line booking ( Thanks - won't bother using you again) so the first priority was something to eat.

Our hostess recommended the Tafarn Sinc just up the road in the quaintly named village  Rosebush. She said it was a hard to miss  red painted tin hut - she wasn't joking.

Inside was like stepping back in time - complete with sawdust on the floor and a Welsh male voice choir singing the old staples as back ground music. It was pretty busy there but we managed to get a table in the bar and some food.

Not sure if the hams hanging from the rafters were real of plastic...

Strangely as soon as we arrived everyone else seemed to depart!

The building apparently was a basic hotel built to support the railway line used for ferrying slate out of the local mines.

The current owner has recreated the station itself at the bottom of the garden complete with figures and a recording of steam engines...

At this point we went back to our B&B to work out a plan for the morning. The UK clocks went back as well so it meant getting up an hour "earlier". I'm still feeling the effects of that so  part 2 of this blog will have to wait until tomorrow.

Watch this space :-)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Porlock potluck

Time to give the new boots a proper work out  - Exmoor seemed a good idea. It always rains when I visit Exmoor  so where better to check the waterproofing!

First stop was Porlock and up the notorious Porlock Hill  (25% or a 1:4 gradient) to a car park at the top with fabulous views across the channel to Wales. The stones are very easy to find and very close to the car park, less than a minute's walk and quite conspicuous against the backdrop of heather and gorse.

The stones are both prostrate and it has been suggested that they are the remains of a barrow.

Someone has planted daffodils around the stones but it is an exposed spot and they hadn't yet come into bloom.

Tradition has it that they were thrown here by the devil and St Dubricius during a contest. 

Leaving the stones behind we walked on along the road about another 2km to try and find the Porlock circle.

The circle was surprising easy to find at least once we'd gone past it and chanced to look back. Right by the road, hidden by a stone wall but clearly visible from the gate. It might have helped if a passing squall had not chosen that moment to drop water on us and we'd had the map out - not next time remember the map cover!

The stones are small and many of them look as if they have just been placed as marker stones.

Surrounded by sheep it is a very peaceful setting.

 Lunch was taken nearby propped up against a convenient drystone wall in the sun before heading back to the car and further explorations.

This conveniently ignores the second random squall that hit us - this one with the gift of hailstones as well. You are rapidly made aware of just how little shelter is available on the moorland.

The last circle we planned to try and find was Almsworthy. Whether this is actually a circle is debatable. The map calls it a "stone setting",  it has been described as two oval shapes but may just be an alignment. This was probably the most challenging to find. It would be very difficult indeed in summer when the heather is higher.

Certainly many stones are tiny and look as if they have just been placed in the heather.

Spot the stones.....

Sunday, 11 March 2012

and that's just what they'll do.......

Wanted a fairly short walk to try out the new boots so a circumnavigation of  Cley seemed to fit the bill.

It was a glorious spring day and a chance to see Cley Hill from a different angle

This a nice shot of the barrow on the top. It was a busy day there but all the visitors were set on heading to the top. We were going around and didn't see another walker all day....

This walk took in several sunken lanes which were starting to show lots of new growth. Including lots of nettles! They were a bit small though for picking but I think net week I'll be going prepared for some nettle harvesting. Anyone for nettle soup?

Passing a superb example of a manor house.

We stopped for lunch at the Royal Oak in Corsley Heath. Don't think they really needed to have the open fire burning though.

After lunch the route took us close to the Longleat Estate.  Can you see what we saw?

No? Looking carefully you might just spot the herd of giraffe mother and babies in the trees. This is where I wished I had a decent zoom lens. Also just in sight were zebra, wallabies and rhino. Most bizarre sight in the English countryside.

Nothing could really top that and we were almost back at the car.

As for the boots - well I was glad the first outing was no longer. Just over 5 miles was enough but  I think they will be fine.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

These boots were made for walking....

They're here and a perfect fit!

Can't wait to try them out tomorrow. Seems a shame though to get them muddy......

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Wet Wet Wet

A quick look out of the window was enough to settle the matter.  Heavy rain interspersed with sleet and a driving wind.

Walk? No thank you! Not today.

Having chickened out of the planned trip ( it will keep to next week)  it seemed a good chance to go shopping - which we did.

Driving down the Cheddar Gorge was like driving down a river. I'm glad it wasn't in my car - lots of mud and debris on the road.

Cheddar itself was looking rather bleak. The shops were just thinking about opening and a few  wet and windswept tourists hurried to the cave entrance. I was however on a mission.

I'm tired of having wet feet all the time. This is the second pair of "waterproof" boots I've had that have been anything but. There is a specialist out doors shop in Cheddar and I wanted to see what they could offer.

Well they say you get what you pay for - I  only hope it is true in this case. Of course the shop didn't have my size so I've got to go back to pick them up next week - but here's hoping. The ones that were about a half size too big were still very comfy - of course the acid test will be - are they WATERPROOF!!

We will see - at this price if they are not I will be taking them straight back.  Watch this space
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