After a two-week hiatus from walks, opting instead to hide beneath the covers from the cold, with dark clouds building in my head; I ventured out today on a five-mile walk in the area of West Harptree; a walk that incorporates views of both Chew Valley Lake (I so badly want to type Cheddar Valley Lake…) and Herriotts Mill Pool.
I’ll save the best photos until the end, as that is how the walk progressed; leaving the best until last when it would be appreciated the most. This is another walk from the 8 Wild Walks Across the Mendip Hills book. In which, they do warn that the paths can be quite ‘boggy’, as you’ll see above…
Wet conditions are what really put me off of walking at this time of year. To be honest, I can brave the cold and ice once I get going. What I don’t like is the thought of feeling uncomfortably wet and dirty through my clothes (almost like a contamination). Plus, there then comes the thought of having to clean several inches of mud from your kit afterwards.
I haven’t yet gotten around to blogging about this but, in the past week, I received a delivery of new clothes from an online retailer. We’re talking mostly walking kit here, as I recently paid to join a local group and I’m looking forward to my first walk next Sunday (hopefully, with a blogging friend in tow as well! ;-)). One of the items I bought was a pair of gaiters. If you haven’t come across these before (I hadn’t, until I saw an advert in the back of a magazine), they’re designed to fit over your shoes and to prevent water and mud from entering your boots, as well as soaking your legs. All I can say is, they work pretty darn well! My trouser legs were slightly damp (water was deep in places but then, I may not have fitted the gaiters tightly enough) but, they’ve been a lot worse in recent weeks and I didn’t have to wear an uncomfortable pair of wellies. 🙂
There were several small streams and bridges to cross, which breaks up the rather empty-feeling fields quite nicely. It’s just a shame that there was so much water everywhere, as I had to work harder to try and dodge the wettest steps (but then, I do enjoy a challenge). The field illustrated in that first photo wasn’t actually too bad. Getting going fairly early in the morning after an overnight frost meant that there was still some thawing to be done. It was much worse on the return journey, once the midday sun had shared its energy.
Secret agent-like reflexes were required in order to avoid the water above, as I made my way through the gate… Think of legs spread either side of the gate… Jackie Chan would’ve been proud! 😀
This bridle path was by far the worst of the walk. They’re never in a perfect state, wherever I go. I think this is where my legs did get wet and, where some mud made its way up beyond the gaiters to my upper trouser legs. Some water also fell in down behind the gaiters.
A bit further on and the footpaths lead me to this field. I want to say that it’s full of corn but, I think it may actually be wheat… Whatever it is, I’m always reminded of the X-Files movie [why doesn’t my spellchecker recognise that word?!?] when I pass through a field like this. There were no helicopters this time but, neither was their a clear indication of the path, or its direction. I first followed the arrow to the left but, the way was blocked and overgrown. So, I took a diversion to the right, only to reach a dead-end on the other side and even in the adjacent field. Back round to the left I went and forced my way through the dying crops; ever wary that, as I passed the farmer’s yard, one un-silent footstep could lead me to an accusation of trespassing…
After twenty-minutes or so, I found my way through to the exit and on to the lane, where I was greeted by sheep from the field across the way. I could see from the map that I needed to follow a footpath short of the end of this lane, which would otherwise lead to the lake. I was hoping to catch a view of the water for some photos but, it was heavily guarded by a wall of nature and I couldn’t say a thing, except for the Bristol Water signs warning unauthorised people to keep out.
I soon made my way past the farm, across the main road and back along to the path that I’d followed earlier, leading behind Herriotts Mill Pool. I’m not sure why they direct you to recover your steps in this one, when you could just save yourself some time by returning to the car park on Herriotts Bridge, which is where you get these excellent views of both water bodies and all the birds and wildlife who inhabit.
Having not been here before, I would’ve expected more from Chew Valley Lake (although, I heard the ghost stories…).
You can see sailing activities going on at the other end (towards Chew Magna) but, from here, it was fairly quiet, aside from the minute number of ducks, perhaps wanting a little piece and quiet from all the attention on the other side of the bridge.
Herriotts Mill Pool is where it’s all happening!
I often seem to pick the sunniest of days for my walks, even after the wash-out of a summer we’ve had in the UK. As enjoyable as sunshine can be on even an early winter’s day (is it still autumn?), it can be a hindrance when it comes to taking clear photos. My shots often seem to make it look as though the temperatures are scorching, when they’re not. 🙂
If you have kids or, you just have some spare or stale slices of bread then, it’s a great place to bring the kids, or a loved one, to just stay and feed the birds. Even the 50mph speeds of cars roaring past behind you aren’t enough to distil the tranquil feeling here, overlooking the calm, blue water.
Before today, I felt as though I had a lot in common with the bird below…
Sat alone, isolated from the crowd, almost on the outside… Who was going to feed me? If I go over there, would people even notice me? I don’t compare. Am I enough? Will anyone ever love me?
Since last night though, changes are a-happening. I don’t wish to go in to it too much on this blog right now but, I’m feeling good for the first time in weeks. ‘Someone’ is finally reaching out to me. She’s coming to her own conclusions about the situation she’s been in for too long. It’s not making her happy. She deserves so much better. Feelings of hope and happiness are returning to me, as much as I still wish to hide my smile.
I’m not alone. She’s asking for help. Whether or not we end up together is irrelevant; she can see a need for change. It’s going to take time but, I aim to help her through this. I just want her to be happy, even if that means ending up in the arms of someone else; someone who is right for her. 🙂
To see the rest of my photos from today, please click here.