Day 18: 10 Apr 2014; Watchet to Bridgwater

Day 18: 10 Apr 2014; Watchet to Bridgwater
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 18
Date Thu 10 Apr 2014 Start to end time 10h 18m
Start point Watchet End point Bridgwater
Miles today 23.32 Cu miles 337.48
Ft today 2,814 Cu ft 62,333
Route miles left 1,135.42 Route ft left 135,600
Today’s weather Cold frosty start then bright sunshine till early afternoon. Cloudy and bright all afternoon. No rain. Light westerly breeze. About 10C
IMG_0807 IMG_0806
Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“I knew that today’s walk was going to be quite long, at well over 20 miles, although “relatively” flat, with under 3,000 ft of climbing. I also knew I’d get hungry and thirsty en route and from the map, I couldn’t see any obvious watering-holes en route. So I stocked up on a ton of food and drink in Watchet before setting out, making my pack heavier than ever before. But to my delight and amazement, about two thirds of the way through my walk I came upon the Pines café, where I was able to get a very welcome cup of tea and piece of cake. And I came to realise that “café” and “open” are without doubt the two most important words in any LEJOG hiker’s vocabulary.

When I set off from the campsite, it was bright and clear, but cold. I’d survived the night comfortably by adopting the “wear everything I’m carrying” approach and was away before 7 am. After a long-ish (6 miles) approach, I reached the Quantocks, which are an isolated group of hills, situated to the south of Bristol. I’d never seriously explored them before and was surprised and delighted by the visit, and really enjoyed the lofty elevated hike down almost the complete length of the ridge, from Beacon Hill to Cothelstone Hill. I learned afterwards that I was treading in the footsteps of Wordsworth and Coleridge, who spent a year there in the 1790s and that Coleridge allegedly composed “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” when walking on the ridge to Watchet.

There was plenty to see along the way – I passed close by the Bakelite museum near Williton, but not being a particular fan of synthetic thermosetting plastics, I decided to give it a miss. Then from the summit of the hills, I spotted Hinkley Point nuclear power station – massive, and visible for most of the walk. Then at the end of the day I walked past the “Temple of Harmony” at Goathurst. The occupants of this curious mausoleum-like building must have seriously wanted to defend their harmony, as it is protected by two sets of steel railings and a barbed wire fence.

I’m staying tonight in a B&B near Bridgwater – largely because neither of the two campsites in the area responded to my phone calls and emails, and I didn’t fancy spending the night in a farmer’s field. I enjoyed fish and chips for dinner and bought a Marathon bar to go with it. The girl in the fish shop must have sensed my puzzlement when she asked if I wanted the Marathon “just as it is” (and I was indeed wondering just what other way there could be) because she went on to explain that I could have it battered and fried if I wanted. Tempting as it was to a hungry hiker, I decided I valued my arteries too much to give it a try. Another long day, to Glastonbury, tomorrow, so early night again today.”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
IMG_6508 IMG_6516
Looking out into the Bristol Channel from Watchet – Flat Holm island on left, Sheep Holm on right Frost decorating leaves this morning
IMG_6521 IMG_6547
Sun rising over the Quantock Hills On the summit of Beacon Hill. Trig point in the foreground, Hinkley point nuclear power station in the far distance
 IMG_6571 cafe IMG_6556
An opportunity not to be missed Fantastic cloudscapes over the Quantocks
Panorama looking East from Wills Neck – at 1,250 ft the highest point in the Quantocks (and highest point on the walk so far)
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue
<- Forward to next day
<- Return to overview page ->
Back to previous day ->