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We all need to change things at some point in our journey. Last week I took a visit with friends to a place we all know well. It is our home ground, our little hill on the doorstep. We come here so often it seems like a back garden.

Before this visit I took the time to not only look at the map, but also at some aerial photos I found on the internet, a bit better than google earth’s quality. I found some footpaths (animal tracks?) we had not yet trod. And a bit of the Mendips seen from a new perspective. A change they say is as good as a rest.

Yes the footpath is here!

Yes the footpath is here!

After leaving the car park, full of daytrippers, and skirting the edge of the peaks’ lower extremities we hit the flank to sneak up on it. You can see from the green grass that this is not a well used part of the network of tracks around the area, and since we are seeking that sea of tranquillity in the noise of life it is a good place to start. Spring has attacked and the birds are singing, trees are budding and flowers, well, flowering.

Hidden spaces in the woods.

Hidden spaces in the woods.

Wild Pansies.

Wild Pansies.

White flowers of the old hedgerow favourite Hawthorn.

White flowers of the old hedgerow favourite Hawthorn. The new-found track leading the way.

Gorse Bush

The Gorse bush, harsh spines but a great yellow colour.

The tracks up here weave through the bushes and trees, clinging on to the thin ground of this part of the Mendip limestone. It’s not deep under the surface and weathered rock shows up all along the paths. Looking in each direction as we gain height you can see Cheddar gorge one way and the Bristol Channel the other. Looking south you have the wide spaces of the Somerset levels, drained from marshland over years you can still see the marks in the fields where this is achieved.

Rock is not far below the soft earth.

Rock is not far below the soft earth.

The Somerset Levels

The Somerset Levels

Brent Knoll in the Distance.

Brent Knoll in the Distance.

We climbed around the edge of this end of the hills, gaining height quickly to look out and admire the April calm. Unseasonable, so little rain last week. This week has changed and we are now catching up. Farmers and gardeners are smiling again.

Looking along the hills towards Crooks Peak.

Looking along the hills towards Crooks Peak.

The two faces of a climb, Kaths’ beaming face and Johns’ leave me alone while I breathe face. Good far all levels of fitness this walk.

A happy smile

A happy smile

The air gets thin at this height.

The air gets thin at this height.

Cheddar and Axbridge

Cheddar and Axbridge

Last Leg to Crooks Peak,

Last Leg to Crooks Peak, lovely drystone wall and wide rabbit eaten grass track.

Once on Wavering Down there are more people, and it is easy to stroll along without wondering about losing the track, The drystone wall has been repaired over the last few years and is a fine example of the art. They have been burning the gorse, to clear the growth back, It can get a bit aggressive.

The approach to the Peak is impressive and just to prove we get sun here in England, my shadow on the ground.

Crooks Peak

Crooks Peak

That's me, and rocks.

That's me, and rocks.

The whole walk is about 5 1/2 miles, short enough for an afternoon. It does as ever, throw up fantastic views. And the company of friends is always good. Seeing a well known place though, from a different perspective made a difference to the trip. In walking as in life, straying to see the sights is a good thing.

Back on track this week, finishing work up in the UK, and next week we head South to France. I’ll post before we leave, and see what I can find on route to talk about. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

A short Haiku for you to mull over, for those who know the perils of the Gorse Bush!

Gorse.

Yellow violence
wearing green, a spitefully
casual catching.

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