Well, the pattern did continue and it did rain! Thankfully though it rained all night and had cleared by the morning, by which time it was only freezing cold! You know it’s cold when Steve is in layers of puffer jackets and still saying he’s cold. In fact he said a couple of times today, “I’m over camping at the moment! I’m over being cold and I’m over having to bend down all the time.” I don’t have a problem with the second point, since I’m short enough to be able to stand up in the tent, but Steve is always stooped. When we stopped during the ride he said again, “I’m ready for a break from camping, I’m over being cold and damp.” We have definitely not been blessed with weather on this trip and we are yet to have two days in a row with sunshine since being in England, but there’s nothing we can do about it, so we must endure!
We set off this morning once again under grey skies and a chilly temperature, but the bonus was that our campsite was situated right on the canal path, so our first 6km of the day was flat and lovely, riding beside the canal, so the legs had some decent time to warm up along an easy path.
We passed another interesting site, which was an old limestone kiln. These are the Waytown kilns and were constructed between 1810 and 1814.
The limestone was transported from the quarries above the canal and transported by packhorse down to the kilns. The large arches are the old kilns and the smaller arches provided shelter while the lime was drawing. It’s thought they were last fired towards the end of the 19th century. Here’s a bit of info about how the kiln would have operated in its day and what the lime was used for.
The route then turned us back onto the country roads with their twists and turns and ups and downs! The low gears got a workout again as we climbed the hills and banked around the steep corners. We had some nice downhills though, gentle, with wide sweeping corners and Steve commented, “That’s what we need, more of that!” It was nice to cruise down without having to constantly squeeze the poor brakes to within an inch of their life!
We had some more gorgeous scenery, with farmland and high hedges and a couple of times we came to a really interesting stretch of uphill road. It was like going into the wild wood, the road turned really dark as the dense trees blocked the light and the high rock walls created a sense of entering a dark tunnel. Oooohhh, spoooky, I thought! It was quite stunning to ride through and the photos don’t really do it justice because they don’t look as dark as it was in reality, but it was very cool to ride up that hill through the dark, with the imposing forest baring down on us.
We rode into the small village of Bishop’s Hull and stopped at the village store so Steve could find some elevenses. He discovered another reason why he’s better off living in this century and not in years gone by…there was a sign above the door of the shop “Mind your head. Low beams” and Steve had to bend over to walk around the whole little shop! He still bumps his head a lot now, but I think he would have had a permanent crick in his back if he’d lived when the population was obviously a foot shorter and every building was constructed with corresponding proportions! ‘Tis I who is obviously living in the wrong century! I’m sure I could have reached every shelf in every shop, if I’d lived here a few centuries ago! We stopped in a small garden in the village and commented on how quiet it was, barely a sound or a vehicle, so we enjoyed elevenses while looking at the buildings and listening to the silence.
A few short kilometres later we rode into busy, bustling Taunton. I left Steve at a bench while he did some route checking and I walked around the corner to a green grocer to pick up some snacks for myself. When I returned it was to see Steve chatting to a fellow cyclist who had seen the bikes and stopped to ask about our trip, which he thought was amazing. Once again, the bikes gave us another opportunity to meet someone and chat, which is always great. We then stopped beside the canal for a quick lunch and to decide what to do next. We decided to ride on to Bridgwater (I’m wondering why it’s spelled without an “e”!) and find somewhere to stay there.
The rest of the ride was excellent, because despite the strengthening wind and the chilly temperature, we were back on a canal path the whole remaining 20km.
As we rode along, we saw another local that we stopped and watched. A deer, which looked to be a young doe, was bounding across a field. How lovely and very special to see.
We passed walkers and cyclists and people with dogs who were having a fun and enjoying a boisterous swim in the canal (the dogs, not the people! Well maybe the people did once we’d turned the corner!) and lots more spaniels gallivanting along chasing balls and chasing them into the water, then emerging in a burst of wet, excitable liver and white, with ears flying. All very smile worthy! We carefully alerted people as we came up behind them and at one point I saw a fella in front of me, walking along hunched over with his hoody up and carrying his can of beer. I slowed down, thinking he may not hear me through his hood and I didn’t want to honk at him, but he stepped out of the way and I said “Thank you”, to which he replied, “Yer welcoom loov”. I just smile at the friendliness of people! I’m noticing the change of dialect as we head north and I’m loving it! I’m loving the people who tack on a “loov” or “loovly” at the end of sentences, such as buying something in a supermarket and having the checkout lady say, “Are you right to pack me loovly?” It’s gorgeous and just makes the people we’ve been meeting sound even friendlier!
We weren’t able to find anywhere to camp in Bridgwater, so we are spending the night at a small hotel called The Old Vicarage – doesn’t that sound lovely! It’s a very old building and the room has the Tudor looking beams and an old iron fireplace. It’s quite charming.
We rode 53km today and it was another really enjoyable ride. We still had some hills, but we also had a long stretch of canal path, which gave some much appreciated respite, as well as being beautifully scenic. It all just continues to be utterly delightful!
I thought I would finish today’s post with a bit of light relief. I saw these signs in Dorchester and they made me chuckle. You have to love a local council with a sense of humour!