It’s been almost three-weeks to the day since I last went on a walk! In part, I blame the wet weather, the cold, the fact that I broke my camera last week and also, that my walking boots are no longer waterproof and need replacing… But these excuses are not good enough. It is now four-months to the day when I’ll be walking a good 12 hours across the Mendip Hills. I need to keep my fitness levels up and, as always, there’s going to be room for improvement.
This was a brief walk to revisit a route I enjoyed a few months ago, albeit under warm and dry weather.
This gate was so much easier to spot with reduced overgrowth. Plus, I knew exactly where to look!
I chose this particular walk for a couple of reasons… Of course, I enjoyed it the first time and, as it’s only 6.5 miles long, I knew it would be do-able in spite of the persistent rainfall of 2014 so far.
I also knew where I had to go when it came to crossing a stream, a stile and finding that ‘once-secret’ footpath leading to a footbridge.
But, as you’ll see below, that stream was taking over on a day that was really made for wellies and nothing less.
It was nice to be able to re-walk this walk with so much confidence. My trepidation remained at home, amongst the pages of the walk description and the map that I’d decided not to take with me. 😉
Heading towards Priest Barrow. Can you see why I’ve wanted to fix my camera?!
Where I knew certain of the route to take on foot, the drive to Stanton Prior had to be taken via a given diversion, as the A358 running from the A37 through Chelwood appeared to be closed off, without any indication as to why or of its duration.
Another river bursting at its banks.
It was another 20 minutes before this diversion led me back on to the A358 (that’s without accounting for the time and fuel I wasted in trying to find a shortcut…). I can imagine this causes havoc for commuters heading to and from Bath.
I can only imagine that the road closure to traffic might have had something to do with an excess of water on the road. Certainly, along my walking route, there was a recurring them of running and overflowing water.
This was a beautiful stretch back on the first weekend in October. Now, 3 months on, it looks like it belongs on the lane in to a farmer’s yard!
This ford had at least doubled in size.
I can’t remember how I crossed the ‘gorge’ below on my previous visit. On this occasion, I had to jump it, due to the river running through it.
There’s another reason I chose to re-walk this route and that was so that I could confidently submit it to my local Ramblers group to fill a vacancy in April (I was originally aiming for a slot in March but, that was quickly filled by someone else). It always pays to walk these routes first as now, I can warn people that it might be very muddy in several places, if we suffer any severe rainfall.
So far, I’ve refrained from buying myself an expensive pair of wellies as I’m not confident that they’d offer me anything extra in comfort over the cheap, old, green pair I currently own.
Oh, no – this was a duck pond; not a footpath!!
Reading many reviews online; a lot of people have a preference for Muck Boots, which can be bought for between £60-100 for a pair. Some swear by their comfort ratings while others contest, with claims that the ankles do not last. There’s another manufacturer with a French-sounding name that I now forget… The only negatives against them are their prices, which start at £100 for an adult boot size! If Britain is to experience another period of submergence as in the summer-that-wasn’t of 2012 then, maybe, I could justify a pair… It just seems like too much money for one-quarter of an average year when I’ll require a different set of shoes for the remainder.
The spire of Priston’s church comes in to view. Again. I also passed some friendly dog walkers at this point.
There wasn’t a single cow to pass on this re-walk. It must be due to the time of year and, yes, my knowledge of farming and agriculture is appalling! But I’m not complaining as I was free to complete this walk without being chased or followed this time.
I always thought lambs, like many young farm animals, were only seen in the spring?
I decided not to pay too much attention to the watermill on this visit. It wasn’t a day where I’d want to be sat or stood around for too long and I was on course to complete the circuit in good time. Plus, on passing, I could spot activity from one of the windows, where someone might’ve requested I ‘get out‘, if the property was indeed in use…
Priston Mill can be seen, just right of the centre of this shot.
But even with rain clouds in the sky, the views towards the end were as spectacular as ever.
It wasn’t long before I was crossing the final field, the church yard and then returning to my car – which was also a van, the last time I visited!
Stanton Prior and the end in sight.
Subtracting 10 minutes or so for a very brief lunch stop just past the mill (before the final climb to the finish line, in fact), this walk took me about 2¼ hours, which I was very pleased with, considering that average person walks about 3 miles per hour and this circuit was 6.5 (or 2½ hours of walking).
If you didn’t my first walk of this route, please click here.
For my entire photo album from this area, please click here.
Thanks for reading. Don’t forget your waterproofs and a spare pair of socks!