On the move again, this time to Chepstow, also in Wales. The weather over the past few days has been extremely windy with intermittent rain, sometimes really heavy and today was no different. Had a walk around Chepstow town which even though is small in population has about 16 pubs!! The castle here is amazing, surprisingly still intact in some parts and it was easy to imagine the goings on over 1000 years ago. Chepstow Castle was built during the 11th and 12th centuries by Lord William Fitz Osbern. It is the UK’s oldest surviving stone fort built after the Roman occupation and sits high on the cliff overlooking the river Wye on the Welsh/English border.
We made it safely to Bath driving on the M4 for most of the way. We walked along the Avon river towpath into Bath, visiting the botanical gardens first. It was ablaze with stunning maples and ashes, the like of which we wish we could grow back in Perth. Deep burgundies, reds and golden leaves. From there we headed into Bath which we originally visited back in 2008. Sometimes when you revisit a place, you are a bit disappointed with what you remember. Well, not Bath. It was just as beautiful as it was 7 years ago. We walked around for a few hours in awe of the buildings and gardens. Amazing!
Back into Bath today on a different path, partly along the tow path and the rest along the streets, checking out all of the houses along the way. What was supposed to be an easy walk today ending up with us travelling 19kms in total, all on foot! After walking through a lot of side streets, we headed up a very steep hill with a lot of steps to Alexandra Park which had an amazing view down to the city centre. Everywhere the eye could see was either church spires, bath stone buildings or parklands and fields. We had our lunch while admiring the scenery.
On the walk home we got to see our first loch in action. We missed the initial entry of the narrow boat but got to witness the final filling of the loch and the opening of the gates before the boat sailed on through. Quite an engineering feat. We have come home exhausted as yesterday’s walk was just as long so we have decided on a lazy no walking day tomorrow. Let’s see how that goes!
We have been trying really hard to stick to our budget and seem to be doing okay so we are treating ourselves to another pub lunch. There is a pub next door to the caravan site (very handy) called the Boathouse. We both had the roast beef, surprise surprise! It was delicious as have all of the pub meals we have had to date. Nice to have a day off from cooking as Dave made breakfast today as a treat for Mother’s Day in
Australia. Dave rang his mum and we spoke to our son Adam and his fiancé Francesca which was really nice. Didn’t do much else today although we did have a walk along the tow path in the opposite direction to where we have been previously. We move sites tomorrow although still in Bath. We only found two sites to stay at, this one which is really expensive at £26 per night, with EHU, water, waste disposal, but only wifi at the shop. The facilities are very old and in desperate need of a fix up. The next one is a CL site that was fully booked until tomorrow, hence our stay here.
We drove into Bristol today. We didn’t intend on visiting but Matilda had a seal that needed fixing, so off to the Fiat dealership first. It sounds like there is a lot wrong with her, but as I have said before they are all minor and worth getting fixed before we leave the UK. In this instance we needed a new seal at the base of the windscreen to stop water entering the engine bay. We caught the bus in on what started as a bleak day. Had a walk around the Bristol waterfront and ended up at the SS Great Britain. It was £14 each ($53) and as we are going to see the Mary Rose in Portsmouth we decided against it. Walked up to Brandon Hill park which gave us a view over Bristol. Doesn’t matter where we go, we always seem to find the path that is the steepest with the most number of steps! Jelly legs by the time we got to the top and then we climbed about 100 steps in the tower, but well worth it.
After lunch, we visited the Bristol cathedral, which like Tewkesbury cathedral was quite a surprise, not as elaborate as Tewkesbury but nice just the same. Caught the bus back to pick Matilda up (fixed as promised) and we are now at the Pen Hill CL site. Nice tidy site with lovely views over Bath if you walk up to the owners house.
Today we took a different route into Bath, one of Dave’s mystery tours, however once again we did manage to find the steepest streets, although that isn’t hard in Bath. Had a nice walk through a couple of the many gardens here, including the Royal Victoria garden. As with the botanical gardens, lots of beautiful trees of many different shades of green, yellow and burgundy. Walked through the city again, today only covering 8 miles (12kms). We sat and listened to a lady busker near the Bath Abbey singing opera. She had an amazing voice, she made my skin tingle. On the way home, we walked along another towpath, this time last three lochs. We were fortunate enough to see a narrow boat come through all three. It is unbelievable how quickly the lochs fill up before the boat can move on to the next level. Back to Matilda and a quiet afternoon, we have covered many miles since being in Bath as it is such a good walking city. Off again tomorrow to Glastonbury via Wells.
Had a nice drive to Wells. We walked through the streets to the weekly Wells market which was selling a variety of goods, including some lovely cheeses, vegetables, chutneys and clothing. The market was just outside of the Wells Cathedral. We paid our entry and decided to wait for the guided tour and we were very glad we did. We have walked through a few cathedrals since we have been here but today was much better, being given an in depth commentary of the history of the cathedral. And what a cathedral, said to be the first gothic cathedral in England. The West Front contains one of the largest galleries of medieval sculpture in the world. The scissor arches were stunning and was a medieval solution to fix the sinking tower foundations. The medieval clock is also said to have the oldest clock face in the world. A truly beautiful cathedral.
A quick lunch in the market square before heading off to Glastonbury. A short drive to Glastonbury and after parking, we headed off to the mystical Tor, which is the highest point in Glastonbury and where the last abbot of Glastonbury was taken up the hill, hung, drawn and quartered during the reformation in Henry the Eighth’s time. Walking through town afterwards we bumped into a friend of mine from Perth! We had a drink and a catch up before walking to Gog and Magog, two 1000 year old oak trees. One of the trees was still alive which is amazing. The walk itself was really nice, a bit of a climb but overlooking Wells with a distant view of the cathedral. A very enjoyable day again walking a lot more than we had planned.
We headed off to Minehead today and it was our longest journey so far however it was only 41 miles. We are now on the coast, “Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!” On a clear day we would be able to see Wales across Bridgwater bay. It was a very pleasant drive again through some beautiful countryside, towns and villages. The weather wasn’t very good with wind and rain this morning but it is now clearing so we should get a good look around in the next few days. Very much geared for tourists with children, with a huge circus that is permanent, water playgrounds, amusement halls and of course the beach. Had a walk around in the rain and visited the tourist office. The gentleman there told us of a nice walk we can do up on the hill at the end of the point with views to Wales and beyond, so may do that in a day or two. We are spending tonight parked at the end of the point overlooking the bay. Should be lovely in the morning looking out of the window with our morning cuppas!
Went to sleep with the sounds of the waves breaking against the shore. Awoke to a car that had parked in the car park that had left its engine running! Dave got dressed and went and checked on the man asleep. He couldn’t rouse him, but he did check to make sure he was breathing. The lady at the pub that we originally asked to stay at did mention that they were holding a wake, so we don’t know whether he was at the wake, had a little too much to drink and decided to sleep it off. I did hear him leave early in the morning, perhaps with a very sore head. Had a great walk up to Greenaleigh point. Yes, another steep climb but well worth it. The views over Minehead and over to Wales were lovely. Had lunch at a lookout just down from Greenaleigh point before venturing back down and into Minehead town. The tide here is said to be the highest/lowest in Europe and we did see that today. The tide went out this morning and was at least 300 metres from the shore, it was amazing. We have since learnt that the tidal move can be as much as 11 1/2 metres, today’s was a 10 metre tide. Minehead is only small but everyone is extremely friendly and keen for a chat. Spoke to a nice lady at the ice cream shop who had lived in Perth for 11 years before coming back for family reasons. We saw the steam train at the station roll out on a driver training session, a lovely big black and green engine, quite a sight. We have decided to go back to the same place we parked last night, hopefully our friend in the car won’t return!
Another huge walk today. We drove to Allerford, a very small village about 5 miles from Minehead. We walked the South west coast path to Bossington Hill, yes you guessed it, straight up to what is supposed to be the highest point on the coastal path, walking through a lovely forest area before breaking through into the open plain. We saw some wild ponies and Dave saw a red deer. The view from the top was breathtaking, a 360 degree view over the hills, the Celtic sea to Wales and along the coast around Minehead and beyond. Lots of people out and about with this walk being extremely popular.
We had lunch by the river before heading into Bossington for a quick look and then onto Porlock. Another quaint little village with only one Main Street and views out over the water. I think in total we walked about 10 miles (16 kms) although it seemed further because of the steep path we took. We are free parking again tonight in the car park at the Allerford museum.