Dunster Loop #Exmoor #UKwalks

I’ve been queuing up a series of walks – mostly about 10 km (6 miles for us colonials), and this is the second.

This started out as a “pub walk” from the house we hired in Wootton Courtenay – and we did get to one, about seven miles in. After several missed turns and places where the map … deviated from the trails on the ground.

This shows our GPS trace overlaid on the most current Ordinance Survey map. These differences made it a bit interesting.

I covered the first part of the hike on an earlier post where we hunted a local pub. So you can read that post for details. We take this walk up at the village of Timberscombe.

Saint Petrock’s church in Timberscombe

We headed uphill on the wrong road, but eventually found our way to where we could see Dunster in the distance.

Dunster’s there, somewhere.

If you get to this carved bird (the buzzard), you’ve gone too far.

Some of the local landmarks have a decidedly sci-fi name. Is Gallox bridge in Gallifrey?

Gallox Bridge
Inside the Stag.

We stopped in the Stag – which is an excellent pub – and let two sweaty, dirty, and tired hikers enjoy their pints inside. It had a guitar in the corner so if you were a better player than I am, you could entertain the crowds (or if you were a better runner you might escape the disapprobriation.)

 

 

The path heads uphill, of course, from the town. It winds its way past St. Leonard’s well (Shades of Blackadder) along a ridge.

St Leonard’s well. Locked, but making the footpath mucky for the last thousand years.

There is an excellent set of views of Minehead from the exposed ridge. The sun is shining on Butlin’s holiday camp.

Minehead.
Minehead in the distance

We also wanted to look for this weird feature – seen on google maps.

Unfortunately, it’s nothing special.

Dunkery Beacon #UKwalks

I’ve been queuing up a series of walks – mostly about 10 km (6 miles for us colonials), and this is the first.

Dunkery Beacon is the tallest peak in Exmoor. We’d hired a house in Wootton Courtenay which is at the base of the peak, but if you’re driving there are other places to start from.  I would probably park at Webber’s post where there is a large parking lot, but no post.

We managed to arrive just after a heat wave; 32-35 is no fun without aircon. It was typical English summer weather; i.e.raining and cold.

The trail proper starts in a lovely grove of trees and then ascends a moderate slope.

Of course we started in the sun, but that was not to last.

Wootton Courtenay is there, somewhere beneath the clouds

We passed the ponies several times – this shot being on the way up.


These preferred Bracken to handouts, which was a relief.

The top is marked by a cairn. We used it to shelter from the wind while eating lunch.

This shows the path up the hill.

We followed a steep descent part way down the hill and made our way through delightfully pretty woods (Rowan and Holly so we were doubly safe from the foul spirits of the undead) to Webber’s post, and back to our house. If I started from Webber’s post I’d go across the hill and up the way we did rather than the other way around.

Of course, then the weather cleared.

The view from the Timberscoombe trail.

Peas Potatoes and Gutter Cleaning.

Ah, spring. Even though it’s early March, it’s already late spring in Georgia.

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The early Daffodils are fading.
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And the Cranes have flown off.
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Time to plant peas, potatoes and clean the gutters (again).

Spring Daffodils

Daff’s

It’s dull, drizzly, and grey. Here are the first of this year’s spring flowers to brighten things up.

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The trick, of course, is to get down where the flower is and shove the lens as close as maybe to it. These are on an eastern exposure of our house and in flower much earlier than most.

Sandhill Cranes 2017.

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The sandhill cranes have returned. We saw the first few birds a couple of weeks ago, but now they are there in flocks. When we drove through today, they were a tad more spread out than usual. These ones (above) were hunting the early wood frogs. I could hear the frogs while I took the pictures.
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These were across the street from the others. During the summer this hill is a cotton field, so I’m not sure what critters there are now.
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However, there must be something because the flocks were spread out over several fields. These were the closest to the road where there was a convenient place to pull over and take pictures. I used a 600mm sigma lens. I’m not thoroughly happy about the sharpness.

crane_map This map shows where to look if you’re interested in seeing them yourselves. Remember they are protected birds. If you continue to Centre there are some half-decent places to eat and the petrol is about 30 cents cheaper than in Atlanta.

Curious Wild Turkeys (video)

A flock walked by recently. Not quite as cuddly as cats, but neat nonetheless.

(sorry about the repost, but wordpress would not let me fix the image. ****** ***** **** ****).

Waiting for the Snowpocalypse

A humongous storm is supposedly coming. I feel more than a little like I’m waiting for Godot.

a country road
a country road
a tree
a tree

Nothing to be done.

We’re supposed to get 3-5 inches of the fluffy stuff. One can only hope. I was about to practice on my bike, but the sleet started.

First day of winter in Alabama.

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The first day of winter was warm and foggy this year. It lent itself to great atmospheric pictures, if you like that sort of thing. It’s the sort of weather where even mundane dirt roads take on a Tolkienesque touch of mystery.

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The lake is still out for the winter, but with the rain, back up to a normal pool. There’s a mudbank out there, but most of it is underwater.

dsc_0086The racoons still enjoyed it.

Lookout Mountain, Golden Colorado.

While making a flying visit out west for various personal reasons, I had a chance to drive up to the top of Lookout Mountain near Golden Colorado. I had to be a tad careful on the road up the mountain as it is a popular (and dashed strenuous) bicycle ride. Wild Bill Hickock and his wife’s graves are at the top, but I didn’t feel like paying the $5 admission to the museum.

The views are fantastic.

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This shows Golden, the Coors plant, and the Table Mesas. If you look carefully, you can see traces of the K-T boundary in the South Mesa (right hand one). They’re about as far down from the bottom of the cliff as the top is up.  It’s a line in the vegetation where the discontinuity traps water or lets the roots grow deeper.

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dsc_0063 Wild Bill’s grave.
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More views.

We did a bit of pub-crawling – which means something else when you’re walking this far from town to try the Cannonball Creek brewery.
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The view from the Brewery back into Golden

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A town scene. Historic means something else in the American west. Coming from the east where buildings are a touch older and knowing the UK pretty well – where things are truly old – I found this disorientating.

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A wild sunflower.

 

(and by the way – a liter engined car is perfectly fine in the mountains – don’t let the rental people upsell you.)

Loneliness

The Deer are browsing the acorns and getting ready for the winter.

Trumbull Stickney, 1874 – 1904

These autumn gardens, russet, gray and brown,
The sward with shrivelled foliage strown,
The shrubs and trees
By weary wings of sunshine overflown
And timid silences,—

Since first you, darling, called my spirit yours,
Seem happy, and the gladness pours
From day to day,
And yester-year across this year endures
Unto next year away.

Now in these places where I used to rove
And give the dropping leaves my love
And weep to them,
They seem to fall divinely from above,
Like to a diadem

Closing in one with the disheartened flowers.
High up the migrant birds in showers
Shine in the sky,
And all the movement of the natural hours
Turns into melody.