Distance 26.75 miles, cumulative 1,044.4 miles, time 10 hrs, walking time 8 hrs 49 mins, pace 3.1 mph, B&B Arden Cottage
We were relieved to escape Bridgwater in one piece after witnessing what passes for Saturday night entertainment in those parts.
We picked our way through to North Petherton and we crossed the M5 for the final time. Steve saw the motorway sign indicating 39 miles to Exeter, the closest we get to home on the route. Lynn dragged him on kicking and screaming.
Our route to Barnstaple now broadly follows the Macmillan Way West. Initially it was a bit of an obstacle course with fallen trees and funniest of all was a Mexican stand off with a family of cattle. Led by a very determined looking bull, keen to be all macho in front of his girls and children, they steadfastly refused to move off the path which was in a gulley with the fence on one side and a high bank on the other. Not fancying our chances in a fair fight, we detoured up the bank and the bull settled back down for it’s Sunday kip. We did not take any photos in case the bull thought we were going for our gun.
We entered the Quantock Hills at Broomfield, which had a lovely village green and church where we stopped and had some of Mary’s ginger nuts. It was good to get out onto open moorland and climb some hills after the Somerset Levels. We had our first views of the ‘proper seaside’ since day six when we left the Scottish East Coast near Brora.
We enjoyed panoramic views towards Exmoor, Minehead and over the Severn Estuary including the Hinckley Point power stations.
After a few solitary days on the trail it was refreshing to see plenty of other walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders.
We ticked off another steam railway when we crossed the West Somerset Railway. It is the longest standard gauge independent heritage railway in the UK at 20.5 miles running between Taunton and Minehead operating heritage steam and diesel engines. It has been used a lot for films and TV including: A Hard Days Night, The Belstone Fox, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Casualty and The Flockton Flyer, which Lynn had fun trying to pronounce after her customary few pints this evening (Dartmoor girls only drink pints).
We finished the day off with a fine Sunday roast before enjoying our last night in a comfy bed before Penzance.