Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Bath Skyline (Circular) – (Somerset) – 09/10/11 – 8.5 Miles – Helen

So yes things have been a little quiet on the blogging front as of late, especially given the walks that I have been doing (see list at bottom), are ones that have been covered many times before. So I decided what was required to invigorate the blog was somewhere untrodden, and looking at October’s Country Walking magazine I opted to do the Bath Skyline one (as featured on pages 44-48, and as cut out route (2)). Well alright I just happened to be in Bath this particular weekend for a long planned trip anyway, but hey why not run with it.

So if you are groping for the magazine even as you are reading this, the first thing to note is that we started/finished at point 3 on Bathwick Hill, as per route cut out. However to get to that point we actually started the walk at the bus station, which in itself required a mile each way to the official start (hence 8 miles, and add another half again allowing for us getting lost).

So as such our start point as per the cut out, was the one that really affords the classic view of Bath’s skyline. However as you have probably noticed already, the picture of me here isn’t as good as the one on pages 44-45 of Country Walking magazine. However I can come up with three reasons for this: (1) – Helen wasn’t standing on a ladder to take the picture, (2) – It was a bit dull and grey for our walk, and (3) – unlike CW magazine, I don’t have the facility to airbrush out the gasworks. Oh yes and if you are wondering why I am looking like the ‘elephant man’ it was because my cheeks were full of Galaxy Minstrels.

Now I accept that not all cut out walks in CW magazine are of uniform standard, however we found the instructions early on to be particularly ropey, getting lost immediately past Richens Orchard. However by a process of elimination we finally decided that when presented with three options ‘bear diagonally L uphill’ really means ‘bear diagonally R uphill’. Anyway given that this is a standard signed walk (as featured at the tourist information centre) the best option in fact was to follow the circular post markers.

There was a fair bit of climbing involved early on, which led to us briefly taking our jackets off. In fact we made such an attractive couple at this point, that we were stopped by a National Trust warden who asked permission to take our picture (God knows what for). However he went down in my estimation when he showed no interest in looking at the pictures on my camera screen. However he did say we had done the worst of the climbing at this point.

The wind was blowing up a bit and with one o clock fast approaching, there didn’t seem anywhere particularly suitable to have our sandwiches (save for a bench inbetween a load of American Footballers). Eventually however we settled on a wall in earshot of Bath Cats and Dogs home (guess which species made its presence most felt there).

As we made our way onwards towards Bathampton Woods, we came across a number of cavaliers, roundheads and student types, who eventually overtook us, before we in turn overtook them. By this time the mizzly nature of the day was making itself felt as we passed the TV mast. Thus when we reached the bench for the ‘great viewpoint’, both the weather and the canopy was giving us anything but. Helen decided she could live without the diversion off to Sham Castle (no doubt fearing being financially mugged at yet another visitor centre), and thus we headed back down towards our start point at the junction of Cleveland Walk/Bathwick Hill. The instructions surpassed themselves yet again at this point however, as we ended up somewhere else entirely. Following which the walk came to something of an indeterminate end as we wound our way through the centre of Bath looking at greeting card and coffee shops.

Walks since last blog entry:

2 x 7 miles – Osterley Park/Grand Union
1 x 9.25 miles – Putney to Osterley
1 x 4.5 miles – Osterley Park (inner/outer loops)
1 x 9.44 miles – Richmond Park (outer loop + rtn. Richmond stn.) – Helen
1 x 7 miles – Hellbank/Chatsworth (circular) – Helen (Molly)

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