Day 21: West Harptree – Bath 

Wednesday, 10/05/2017
Distance: 32,4 km (20,1 mi) for a total of 549,6 km (341,5 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 620 m (2030 ft)

Weather: Hoarfrost in the morning, sunny and warm all day

When I got out of the tent this morning I found the camping field white instead of green. On the sheltered side the tent only collected condensation but on the other side there was hoarfrost on it. As I couldn’t wait for the sun to melt this and dry the tent I dried it as good as possible and packed it still quite wet.

For today the Limestone Link would provide the handrail although I didn’t intend to stick to it slavishly. After navigating some very wet fields – no surprise given the morning view – I reached Hinton Blewett. The footpath towards Hallatrow didn’t look convincing and to give my shoes, socks and feet a chance to dry I took the road via Temple Cloud which had the additional advantage of being shorter in distance. Still in Temple Cloud I found this funny road sign,  somehow I doubt it’s official  😉

In Hallatrow I rejoined the Limestone Link for a really beautiful stretch. The signs pointed to the margin of the field whereas an obvious path, broad, flat and well used ran just a couple of metres away. So of course I took that instead of trampling down plants on a field.

A bit later and with the necessity to enter a sewage plant (it’s interesting to see where you find public footpaths!) it changed to an equally flat path along the remains of the Somerset Coal Canal. There were information panels at various points along this canal with explanations which I conscientiously read as I always do when coal is involved. This is perhaps a result of originating from a family of miners on my mother’s side as well as having spent my first five or so working years with the then still existing major coal mining company (not underground though).

When I was checking the map in Camerton I got into a short chat with a man on the street who explained to me where the path was running exactly and that I shouldn’t be surprised to cross through people’s back gardens. It was good he told me so otherwise I really would have thought I’d missed a sign. Then I lost the path due to confusing signage and closed gates and spent about half an hour to find a way over a wooded hill which perhaps would have been lovely if it had been less steep and not really suitable to be walked with a full pack. My efforts to find a way across proved fruitless in the end anyway, so I was happy when at least I was back to my starting position from where I could get down to the road.

Up to Combe Hay I acted according to the principle “No experiments” and used the road before leaving it again for entering Bath via South Stoke. Or at least I thought this was Bath, but perhaps I’ve been teleported somewhere else as this road sign seemed to say.

I’ve booked myself into the YMCA hostel and on arrival I was told that I was upgraded from dorm to a single room without any extra charge. Of course, I accepted. I even managed to get my clothes washed the evening before going out for meal and drink. I came across a small pub praising themselves for serving Bath ales of which I managed to taste two. The other ones are for today.

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6 thoughts on “Day 21: West Harptree – Bath 

  1. Oh, I do enjoy reading your blog. Footpaths in this lovely country lead you to a dead end and round in circles. One English sayings is to “lead you up the garden path”, meaning away from where you actually want to be. Proud signs point the way where it’s clear no one has walked for years, and other, clearly well-walked paths are totally unofficial. All this is so familiar to me, even within the village where I live. Good Intentions have the local authorities scurrying to put up nice new signs without first checking so see if the path is walkable. You have been very patient and will surely have walked more miles than the planned route would suggest?

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    • Luckily, I’ve already walked a fair amount of miles in this country, so I’m not too surprised by these effects. Annoying they are the moment you encounter them, that’s for sure, but I just take them as part of the overall experience.
      More miles than planned? No, I don’t think so because of the distance difference between the coast path and Exmoor. But for the rest I surely must be on the plus side.

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        • Well, thanks! I simply developed an interest in the country when I started walking over here. And if people continue to praise my English I’ll finally believe that it’s not just British politeness 😉

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  2. ps that traffic sign is almost official, for slippery road, and the tyre tracks on the proper sign do really cross over each other in that crazy way. what has been added are the ‘eyes’

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