Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Shipham-shape and just south of Bristol fashion

Robin and I decided on a last-minute Dartmoor training hike on Sunday, as it was a nice day, so we (the two of us, and Robin's girlfriend Alison) went over to Cheddar Gorge. Well, actually we parked up in a little village called Shipham here, and walked south-east along the West Mendip Way which eventually brings you out at the eastern end of Cheddar Gorge. Slight moment of deja vu on the way as we inadvertently crossed the path of a walk we did back in September - luckily, as it happens, as we were able to redirect another group of walkers who'd made the same elementary navigational error that we'd made at the time.

Then we walked up onto the clifftops at the south side of the gorge, tested out Robin's new compact meths-powered camping stove (basically a smaller version of my Trangia) by heating up some soup in it (that's what I'm drinking in the photograph) and then started down towards Cheddar village.

At which point it started to get quite slippery and muddy, and I lost my footing and did a highly balletic (though perhaps not as graceful as Darcey Bussell) splits routine, gently stretching various ligaments and coaxing several leg joints into new and interesting shapes, with the accompaniment of various crunching and twanging noises - imagine the sound made by an upright piano being thrown into a skip. My left hip is a bit sore today, but I don't think any major structural damage has been done, luckily.

Then we walked back up the road from Cheddar to Shipham - bit of a sting in the tail as it's uphill almost all the way. You could probably make this last leg (no pun intended) a bit more interesting as there are some footpaths, but we were a bit pressed for time at this point.

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