I go on a lot of walks now we have the dog, and if I’m really honest, it is more of a duty than a pleasure, but I do try to make it pleasurable by thinking and observing.
If you visit here often you probably know I’m struggling with my latest book, which has taken way longer than it should have done to finish. At last I’m on the editing but it’s still too loose and straggly, too many words, a few loose ends that need tightening up or that strand existing, but at least I feel the end is in sight. I actually have the ending, thank goodness. So out walking when I can’t write i think about my book, and i also think about other writing things. Our topic for the next writing group is ‘Juggler’, and having found this quite daunting and having a totally blank mind, as I strode out an idea popped into my head – which I will share here before long!
Setting out today I was prepared for rain, wellingtons, waterproof trousers, thick jumper, waterproof coat, hat, and dog. He’s waterproof already so he was fine, but even he looked less than thrilled at the water coming out of the sky and the water lying on the road, on the paths, in the gutters and on people’s lawns. We strode out, and I had my head down into the wind so i wasn’t doing much observing. Once we got to the boatyard we were sheltered. The boatyard is in the lee of a cliff which is left from when stone was quarried here and then shipped out from the little harbour, out into the Bristol Channel and then up to Bristol, over to Wales, or south west down the coast of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
The entrance to the boatyard has huge flood gates going from the edge of the cliff to the big sluice gates which control the water coming downstream in the rhyne (drainage channel) or upstream from the sea on an inward tide. The gates aren’t often closed, but they were last week as we had very high tides. You wouldn’t believe it, but along here we have the second highest tidal range in the world, the whole world, second only to the Bay of Fundy in Canada. Beyond the gates is the entrance into the boatyard, where you can walk through and find the path along the south side of the Uphill pill (somerset word for inlet, harbour, creek etc) On the other side of the path is the Wharf Café which is very popular not just for residents of our little village but walkers and cyclists.
All along the cliff here are remains of when it was a quarry – lime kilns where they burnt the limestone, the explosives store, and other unidentifiable piles of worked stone which were buildings. Next to the boatyard is the Uphill Wharf Campsite and Marina, which has recently been taken over and now looks such a lovely place for visiting campers! here is a link to their Facebook page, which not only shows photos of their site, but also pictures they took of the recent high tides:
After that the path continues out across the countryside and eventually you can get to the beaches south of Brean Down, the big promontory which sticks out into the sea, the last part of the Mendip Hills still attached to land.
This picture shows Brean Down and you can see there’s water between it and Uphill our little village from where i took the photo. The water is the River Axe and it is extremely dangerous – so many people have risked their lives trying to walk across the sinking mud and quicksand to get to Brean, and so many have actually lost their lives – just because they pay not attention to the huge signs warning them of danger. If you follow the path from the boatyard there is now a bridge across the river so you can walk and cycle all the way quite safely to Brean.
It’s too far for me and too far for my four legged friend, so we just walk a few miles out through fields and meadows, now covered with water. Later in the spring animals graze here, mainly cows, but occasionally horses, and sheep are grazed in secure fields. The hedgerows are mainly blackthorn and hawthorn, but there are lots of tangled undergrowth, which is usually full of birds – and even today there was plenty of twittering going on, no doubt complaining about the rain.
It wasn’t cold, just miserable, but when we turned back the rain began to lessen and eventually it was only drizzle. By he time we were approaching the boatyard the air was full of tiny annoying insects. We got home and the rain had stopped, typical really. With my waterproofs I wasn’t too wet, but my walking partner was extremely muddy. We walked about four miles, but no doubt my doggy chum ran twice as far!
My featured image isn’t from today, there was not a scrap of blue in today’s sky!