Walk completed August 28, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 20 -- Monday, June 20, 2011 -- Crowcombe Heathfield to Temple Farm

I stayed last night in Crowcombe Heathfield at the Hartwood House, run by David and Rosemary Freemantle. The house is an elegant home on about 8 acres of gardens. My bedroom and bath were very nicely appointed, rivaling those of any five star hotel. There was no mobile phone reception, so David allowed me to use their land line to book accommodations ahead.

David, Rosemary, Sadie (sitting),
and Sir Lost-a-lot
 After breakfast. David helped me package the Pennine Way maps which I won’t need to carry until I reach Knighton at the end of my portion of the Offa’s Dyke Path. He then drove me to the Crowcombe post office so I could mail them ahead to Knighton. (Of course he drove me back to Hartwood House, so there is no gap in the walk.  At least not yet.)

A few years ago, Crowcombe, a village of about 400 residents, lost its post office and had no grocery store. The residents banded together and set up a crew of volunteers to run a new market and post office. Volunteers order and shelve the inventory, clerk the cash register, and support the post office. The market is highly efficient – it even uses optical scanners to scan bar codes and manage inventory. The village is understandably proud of its achievement.

View from Quantock Ridge
The day started overcast with rain forecast for the afternoon. I’ve learned not to believe the forecasters, so I decided to venture into the Quantock Hills for my walk to Bridgwater. The trail climbs steeply to the high ridge and then follows the ridgeline for the full length of the mountains. The high ridge offered 360˚ views of the surrounding farmlands and of the clouds which were quickly heading my way.

When the rain hit, the trails turned into flowing rivers of mud. I got lost in dead end pastures twice, but eventually worked my way back to the trail by listening for the cascading mud flows. I then worked my way back to the road, deciding that battling traffic was better than battling the mud. I won the battle with the traffic, arriving at Temple Farm alive; the mud won its battle however, and I may never get the mud out of my pants or socks. 

The only person I met all day after leaving Hartwood House was Francis, who was cycling from Bridgwater to Cornwall. Cycling in the rain has got to be more unnerving than walking in the rain.

The long-term forecast for the rest of the month is unsettled, rainy weather. I’m glad the month is almost over. Maybe July will be dry.

Temple Farm is located north of Bridgwater.  I added the extra distance Monday because I was unable to find accommodations in Bridgwater.  The extra distance Monday means a short walk Tuesday.  I hope the pub is open.

© 2011 Ken Klug

1 comment:

  1. Lots of catching up to do.....You did good while I was busy chasing 2 toddlers. Nice to see you're ....finally kicking it up a notch, 3 mph, not bad for an old boy! Kidding!
    Love your photos, the English countryside is as beautiful as ever and so are the people. Life is good, have fun and enjoy every sec of your epic walk.