Greenham to Taunton
I actually managed to have an ok sleep last night. That being said I still woke up tired; the upcoming day’s rest will be very welcome I can tell you!
I didn’t rush around this morning and had a nice relaxed breakfast, looking out the window at the view and the falling rain. I wasn’t too worried about the rain as I hoped it would help to cool the day down a bit. The last two days in the sun had been extremely draining, so a break from that would be very welcome indeed.
I must admit, the big pigeon sitting in the tree outside the window, sitting there watching me have my breakfast, made me a little uneasy. Strange.
I slowly sorted myself out in my room, took my stuff downstairs and went to settle up the bill. Caro and I started talking again where she gave me a few tips on the upcoming paths – useful – and then she told me that she would donate £5 of the bill to sponsor me. Lovely people and extremely generous too. Greenham Hall is definitely somewhere I will visit again, that’s a promise!
All done I hit the road, only to realise about fifty yards on that I’d left one of my walking poles in the room – doh! Back up the hill I went to go and get it, and then I started the day’s walk, properly this time.
It was still raining so I had my coat on and I’d sensibly put my gaiters on too seeing as a lot of today’s walk was on woodland paths and crossing farmland. This was going to be a complete difference to yesterday’s walk along the canal towpath, and a welcome one as I love walking through woods, especially if it’s raining. The sounds and smells are just wonderful and take me right back to my childhood, playing over the fields and round the back of the houses making camps in the trees. Happy days.
As the morning went on the weather started to become a bit of a pain in the backside. First it was raining so I had my coat on. Then it stopped and the sky cleared up, so I took it off. Five minutes later it started to rain again, so I put it back on again. And so this went on for a while until I got completely hacked off with stopping, taking my pack off, either putting my coat on or taking it off, putting my pack back on again and then carrying on with the walk. Not happy, not happy at all! In the end I left it on for quite a lot longer than I needed to have been wearing it for but I was not going to be mucked around again. Fortunately, when I eventually gave up with the heat and took it off it didn’t rain again, for the rest of the day!
Along one of the footpaths I found myself on today I came across a slow worm on the path in front of me. I hadn’t seen one of these since I was younger and my brother and I used to go and catch them during the long summer days. There I go again, reminiscing about my childhood; seems to be a day for that today? Anyway, the little fella wasn’t moving anywhere and worried that he’d get trodden on or eaten I put it back in the grass for a bit of protection and carried on my way.
Although I was walking along the Great Western Canal path, unlike yesterday there wasn’t actually a canal to be seen. Every now and then you could see the remains of the canal in the landscape but for a good portion of the path there was no hint at all that a canal used to be there. In the woods after Tone though, to the left of the path you could see the canal shape clearly, even if it was only about half a foot deep now.
Walking through the woods I met a couple out with their dog. They were local to Tone and walked that path often. We talked about my walk and the fact that their daughter was shortly going to be walking a stretch of the Cornwall coastal path – I warned them how much of a nightmare it was for me! As we were chatting the subject of the canal came up and they told me that a little further up the path was the remains of one of the old canal lifts I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Surprisingly, the man knew quite a lot about them; all interesting stuff.
Continuing my walk I soon came across the old canal lift and took a minor detour from my route to have a closer look. Only the brickwork remained but it was still quite impressive to look at. This, so a notice told me, was the best preserved example of its kind along the old Grand Western canal. There was a bench there so I thought I’d sit there and have my lunch, taking the weight off for a bit.
At East Nynehead I had to do some road walking again for a couple of miles to Tone Green which started to get a bit tough on my feet, again, but I then took the path along the river Tone. This was a lovely stretch, winding in and out as the river twisted its way up to Taunton.
Over the next couple of miles I slowly caught up with two ladies out for a walk. Seeing the map, pack etc. they asked me where I was walking to, and so the LEJOG conversation was had again. We had a lovely chat, which was very welcome seeing as I’d not really spoken to too many people during the day since leaving Greenham. One of the ladies asked where I was staying in Taunton, but not having sorted lodgings out yet I told her that I didn’t know. Bless her, she said she had room at her place – her kids would be happy to sleep on the sofa apparently – but I politely declined, saying that I was looking forward to staying in a nice hotel and relaxing for a bit. I said goodbye and very quickly left them behind.
Shortly after that I was in Taunton and found somewhere to stay for the next couple of nights. Room sorted, weight taken off, I relaxed for a few hours before speaking to the girls.
As I’d managed to rest my feet for a while during the afternoon I braved putting the boots back on and walked in to the town centre to find something for dinner and, upon recommendation from my good friend Stu, a visit to the Racecourse Inn for a drink or two.
Dinner ended up being KFC as I really couldn’t be bothered with looking any harder for something better – I know, don’t say it – but that didn’t matter as the “Proper Job” ale in the Racecourse Inn was lovely! A couple of pints later and I was ready to head back to my room.
Apologies for the tardiness of today’s posting. I was going to sort it out before going out for something to eat but I was way too tired to think straight then, and then I spent too much time in the pub and on the phone this evening…sorry. I’ll try and do better from now on, promise.