LEJOG16: Cheddar to Kenn

It was a cold night which I only just survived thanks to my thermal baselayers. Unfortunately this meant a lovely layer of condensation both inside the outer and outside the inner. However it didn’t bother me because I had a bed for the night in Bristol planned thanks to my aunt Carmel and her partner Dave. So I just gave the tent a quick flap and shoved it in the two little bags I had created for it on the back of my pack.

I was looking forwarding to walking up Cheddar Gorge because I love rocky formation type things. However the route was knackering and didn’t really give me any decent view of the gorge. I did get to walk through a large group of feral goats who were so used to tourists that they didn’t even flinch when I strolled past.

I was happy to get up onto the moors ontop of the Mendip hills. Again even this tiny pocket of wildness made me feel exhilarated and relaxed at the same time. On the way down I joined the Sedgemoor over-60s ramblers club and had a chat with their leader and talked about the benefits of walking vs other forms of exercise. It was all going swimmingly well until I got a little lost onnthw way down the hill.

This was the second time that day I’d got ‘a little lost’. For me the phrase means you know roundabouts where you are, you’re not ‘completely lost’, but you can’t for the life of you find the right path or stile you’ve been told to go through. I find it better to wait a while, explore the options and make sure you’re going in the right direction rather than just charge off on your first hunch. I reckon it saves time an effort overall, having a think before stopping yourself getting properly lost.

So I ended up walking back and forth for at least half an hour before eventually rejoining my route. In this case I think I’m justified in blaming the guide book, because it’s descriptions just petered out at a point when they were needed most.

The worst part of this was that it delayed me getting to the pub for lunch! I can wholeheartedly recommend the Railway Inn in Sandford, very friendly landlady, and a perfect ham and cheese sandwich-thick granery bread, lots of butter, slabs of ham and enough grated cheddar to make your arteries wince.

The landlady was used to LEJOGers like myself, having seen quite a few over the years. she also had news on the last to past through before me-apparently the group of lads thst everybody was sceptical bout are still going! She hadnt seen anybody else tho-maybe it means the others have dropped out? Probably more likely that they don’t feel the need to drop into every pub they pass unlike some people…

The next stage of the journey was pretty simple, another regenerated railway line, flat and simple. I left it at Yatton, where I was accosted by a teenage boy asking me about my trip. He was planing his own 150 miles cycle ride with his dad, so we swapped tales for a bit.

I got into a but of a pickle when I came to the point where I had to go off road. I crossed a style but my way to the hedge opposite was blocked by an electric fence. I searched for an alternative route but couldn’t find one. I was livid-it was another example of a selfish land owner cutting off a right of way. How bloody dare he take away my birthright! This land is our/my land!

After consulting my OS map I saw a route via a B road that would takr me to my destination. It passed right by the land owner’s home and thoughts of hatred and vandalism flashed through my mind as I walked pass his front door. Just as my self-righteousness was at it’s peak I noticed a rotund man standing by the house’s driveway. Oh bugger, I thought, it’s the owner. Suddenly all my thoughts of retribution were dampened by the cold towel of cowardice.

As I walked past he asked me if I’d been trying to access the footpath. Instead of unleashing an indignant tirade at him I just meakly and spinelessly said ‘yes’. Then he proceeded to explain to me where the actual footpath was and how I could actually get to my destination. He was incredibly helpful and I thanked him profusely before sulking back to the road and making a much more succesfully second attempt. Which all
just goes to show that you shouldn’t jump to conclusions or graffiti anybodies home unless you’re 100% sure they’re a bastard.

In the evening I was picked
up by dave and treated to
a fantastic dinner of pork chops. My cousin Paige showed me her library of raised eyebrowns, and I was instantly jealous. Eventually I drifted to sleep in a soft, warm and dry bed, ready for another day.

3 Responses to “LEJOG16: Cheddar to Kenn”

  1. 1 Gayle May 1, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Electric fences are definitely easier to deal with when there are two people and a walking pole. One uses the insulative qualities of the walking pole to hold the wire down whilst the other crosses (whilst muttering “you’d best not let that wire spring back up at the wrong moment!”).

    In the absence of a spare person or a pole (and if I’m sure I am on a RoW!) then I go for the approach of just removing one of the (usually plastic) stakes from the ground to lower a section of fence, then putting it back in the ground once safely the other side.

    Did encounter a fence last year where the farmer had kindly insulated the section where the RoW crossed with a piece of hose pipe. Wasn’t until we had both received a shock that we concluded that hosepipe with metal reinforcement is not the best material for the job…

  2. 2 Graham Faithfull May 1, 2009 at 11:20 am

    A number of farmers in Dorset have have handles on the fence wire where it meets a right of way so you can disconnect the fence while you pass through.It makes life a lot easier.

  3. 3 Karen May 6, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I’ve been reading many LEJOG blogs over the years, and from what I can gather, it seems to me like Somerset is the worst county for rights of way being blocked. I hope the problem reduces as you keep heading north.

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