It’s fair to say that I’ve enjoyed another good few hours out of the house today. People weren’t sure what to make of the forecast for the weekend and the next two days are meant to be a total wash out. Thankfully, the sun was out this morning and it hasn’t stopped shining all day. I was a little indecisive about where I was going to go today and a window of opportunity opened to meet up with a close friend last night, before it sadly blew shut again this morning. It’s okay though, we’ll see each other again soon and we’ll keep on sharing in the mean time.
I was contemplating a walk across the Mendip Hills (which I might actually do next week) but, I decided to face a potential fear and visit Cheddar Gorge, instead. You’ve probably heard of it (or, the cheese, at least). However, my biggest fear was not of the heights, sidling along cliff edges or even, having to step out in to the real world; I work with a guy from Cheddar who nobody likes. He can be pretty obnoxious at times and I had this bizarre fear that I might bump in to him. Actually, I think I did see him on the way back to my car but, I can’t be certain and it’s definitely not worth worrying about. 🙂
I think I mentioned this recently but, a couple of weeks ago, I came across a map available from the National Trust, which outlines a five-mile walk that covers some of the best features and views around the gorge. You can see it for yourself both here and also here. This pathway is sign-posted although, you may need guidance to find your start point and also, the crossover between the two sides of the gorge. This was the first time I’ve kept a map in my pocket but, I don’t think I could’ve easily found it all without.
It begins with a very steep incline up through the woodland, which only gets tougher once you encounter the large rocks embedded in to the ground. This was the steepest climb I’ve yet covered and I’ll admit that I had to stop to catch my breath three times (plus a fourth, to allow one man with his stick to carry on downhill). My heart was pounding so hard, I was worried it was trying to escape! I’m kind of glad my friend didn’t join me. I’m more of a regular regular (although, far from ‘professional) but, I think she really would’ve struggled. Strong shoes are always essential at these places, in my opinion!
Steps became available as I neared the end of this ‘Gladiator trial‘ and I hope that the photo above (looking back down) gives you an idea of just how high I had climbed at this point, with many more feet to cover (although, at less of a tangent, it must be said).
I crossed a few fields with goats herding next door and I soon my way heading downhill (thankfully), preparing to cross the road in order to explore the other side.
These cliffs are pretty high [understatement!] but, my biggest scare came after passing this herd(?) of goats. I’d taken their photos but they seemed hell-bent on revenge; charging for the gate as I walked away! I then realised that it was probably the two other ramblers that had scared them off…
This was a view that I enjoyed while I sat down for lunch. I felt so at peace up there; in the warm sun, with the cool breeze blowing and being able to hear the faint sounds of civilisation in the distance… I ended up just sitting near the cliff’s edge, smiling to myself, for about forty-five minutes!
After following him up the track to this point, I witnessed an elderly man (much braver than me) nearing the cliff edge for a once-in-a-lifetime kind of view.
Across from where I was sat, I could see a fearless young boy vertically scaling one of the cliff faces…
Until I saw him descend though, I couldn’t pick out the safety rope on my camera! There are people who do this without ropes though and, well, I know that I couldn’t (even though I have, as a child…). Also, on closer inspection through my laptop, I could see he was a grown man. But still, he didn’t quite make it to the top. 🙂
This was yet another day where I wasn’t expecting much to happen yet, surprise, surprise; I loved it. They said the walk would take about one-hour and twenty-minutes but, I was there from just before 12.00 and I left again about 15.00, after that long lunch break. I’m pleased that I’ve done this, in spite of my social fear and also, that I still haven’t spent a penny more than the cost of fuel. 😉
This ‘mysterious mound’ is interesting me at the moment and I need to investigate what and where it is so that I can arrange another potential visit for the near future. Glastonbury Tor (I think) is visible in another direction as well.
I will apologise in case anyone’s had any trouble accessing some of my older Flickr photos recently. They have not been deleted; I simply exhausted my ‘storage allowance’ (200 photos) in less than three trips. Once I’ve payed for a subscription, they’ll all be visible again for the next couple of years at least. Please click here to see the other ninety-odd photos in this set.
I even managed to briefly interact with a few people, which was nice. There was the odd smile and hello; a woman laughed (with me) as the goats made a run in my direction and, that man with the stick; I also passed him on the other side of the gorge and he politely commented on the situation. It all helps. 🙂