Friday, 24 September 2010

Day 36 Clevedon to Weston-Super-Mare

Today was a day of not many miles, but plenty of excitement. MacMillan Cancer Support hold an annual 'Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning' event and today was the chosen date for this year.

My morning started with a short walk to the local coffee morning at Challicoms of Clevedon, they are a business who very kindly do a lot of fundraising on behalf of MacMillan and other charities. While I was there I was very well looked after by all the friendly staff, particularly Liz, Nicola and Val. The coffee and home-made cakes were delicious. I spoke to Trudi, a local newspaper reporter, and we all posed for pictures. As I left I was delighted to be given very generous donations for MacMillan.

Before leaving Clevedon I wanted to visit the lovely Victorian pier, so I headed back down to the seafront, still wearing my MacMillan t-shirt and with my pack on my back. As soon as the staff realised what I was doing they decided to waive the entry fee and let me go on for free. After having a good look around and enjoying the superb views I was astounded when pier manager Linda presented me with a goody bag. It's contents included pier souvenirs, chocolate and Kendal Mint Cake. I left Clevedon a very happy man after the people at Challicoms and the pier had been so kind to me.

The shortest official walking route from Clevedon to Weston-Super-Mare involves a huge detour inland to Congresbury before heading back to the coast. You can't simply just walk along the coast here because the way is blocked by unbridged rivers. However, after a close look at online satellite images I could see there were some sluice gates on private land over the Blind Yeo river that might let me avoid the detour. I headed south west through country lanes until I came in to the area in question and took my chance. I passed through a farmyard, along some tracks, went through a couple of unlocked gates, found the sluice gates and crossed over the river successfully. If there had been someone around I would have asked for permission to pass through, but I didn't see anybody and I wasn't challenged. The last gate I came to before reaching a proper road again was locked so I climbed over, on the other side a sign said 'Private Track, No Access'. Oh well, it was too late by then and I'd saved myself several extra miles of walking by skipping the inland route.

Soon after I came to the village of Wick St.Lawrence. By chance I stumbled across another MacMillan coffee morning event that was being held in Wick St. Lawrence Church. I found myself invited in and was soon enjoying more food including delicious sandwiches, cookies and coffee with a very friendly group of ladies. They were busy preparing for their flower festival that's being held this weekend. Everybody was amazed that a MacMillan end-to-end walker just happened to be passing by. I found myself the centre of attention for the third time in a day and left with yet another generous donation in my pocket.

An hour later I reached Weston-Super-Mare where I happily met my parents as planned, they have arranged a B&B where we are staying tonight. Tomorrow morning I will drop in at the local Milk & More depot before setting off on the 30+ mile trek to Taunton.

GPS data click here

Mileage today; 11.24 miles, walking time 2 hrs 47 mins, average walking speed 4.0 mph

Weather; overcast and windy, max 16C

Cumulative mileage; 759.12 miles

Walking onto Clevedon Pier, a grade 1 listed building described by Sir John Betjeman as
"the most beautiful pier in England"

The spot where the long abandoned Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Light
Railway used to cross the Blind Yeo, I took my shortcut over sluice gates here

Wick St.Lawrence Church. I realised I'd stumbled across my second MacMillan 'Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning' venue of the day when I saw the balloons on the gate

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Exmouth, Devon, United Kingdom
Hi :) I'm a 49yo father of three from Exmouth, a lovely seaside town in Devon. In parts of Exeter I'm well known as the local milkman where I've been making traditional doorstep deliveries for 15 years.