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Living near the Mendip hills gives ample opportunity to get out into the hills for some days out in the fresh air, and Cheddar Gorge is fairly high on the list of places to visit. Outside the gorge itself, you get away from the crowds and walk the gentle undulations of the Mendip hills. Yet you can find yourself looking down into the gorge from the high cliffs along its length, watching the Rooks, Jackdaws and sometimes a Kestral looking for food in the scrub and grassland surrounding the area. There are a wealth of walks to suit all levels and the landscape is never a disappointment.

Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge

The timing of this trip meant the Wild Garlic was just coming through, not the Bluebells. The woods leading down to Black Rock were covered in the green aromatic leaves of the Garlic. A wonderful smell as you sit to munch a snack on one of the rocks along the track. Spring is always a good time to get into the countryside, to see the changes happening, the world coming awake after the sleeping winter. And this years winter seems to have lasted longer and fallen deeper than most. Everyone has been waiting for spring to kick-start the year.

Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic

Spring

Spring

This was an opportunity to try my new camera, I’ve had my old Fuji Finepix F4/fd for quite a while now, and it has always done everything I asked of it. Surviving trips in rain and sun, up mountains and across the moors. It has however, suffered from dirt on the ccd and this time I decided to change it and look for something different. I wanted more flexibility and control, while keeping the compact size and ease of use. The cost increase of a bridge camera or an SLR is too much for the pictures I want, so the hunt began in the sales at our local shop. I found a Canon Powershot SX230 HS. Lots of knobs and whistles, including things I am sure are of no use whatsoever, so I’ll save another whole post about it for later. I’ve put a selection of the pictures on this post from the new camera, some better than others as I’m still learning all the functions, let me know what you think and what the bird is in the picture below.

Full zoom

Full zoom

Spring Lamb, looking for the cute vote.

Spring Lamb, looking for the cute vote.

Caution!

Caution!

You can see in the Facebook images that the white balance is off in some pictures, finding the settings takes more time than on my previous camera so I need to get that sorted. The zoom worked well as did the image stabilisation. More pictures and thoughts next time.

Earlier in the week, I had visited the best outdoor shop in the west, Outdoors and Active, Weston-super-Mare. They gave me a cereal bar to try out, a new type for them. Normally I am a traditionalist, I like Mars bars. Chocolate and sugar. Or a chunk of Kendal Mint Cake for a real sugar hit from my youth. I’ve found a new supplier so took the cereal and the mint cake to try.

The new one.  Raw Bite, spicy lime.

The new one. Raw Bite, spicy lime.

The Traditional.  Kendal Mint Cake, sugar and mint.

The Traditional. Kendal Mint Cake, sugar and mint.

I’m not a big fruit eater, so the lime bar was not my thing. The Mint cake does what it should do, lets you have a dose of sugar with no chance of melting or freezing. I’ll stick with the traditional. Or a Mars bar. I like oaty honey cakes but don’t want fruit in them. Maybe there’s another flavour I can try. If I find it I’ll let you know, because healthy organic stuff has to be good for you, right? The oats etc. give a longer term energy fix, while the sugar is fast fix, so both alternatives would be a better way to go. What do you prefer for snacking, nuts, chocolate, bran bars, sweets? Let me know if you have any secret recipes for flapjack bars, natural honey bars, things you like to take for a snack along the way. Thanks to Outdoors and Active for the tester, always good to try out new things. Pay them a visit if you are in Weston-super-Mare, best shop in the West.

Outdoors and Active

Outdoors and Active

Moving on, here are a few more pictures to browse including the fox I found strolling in the fields, both of us up and about before the crowds.

Waterworks Gate.

Waterworks Gate.

In The Gorge.

In The Gorge.

An Early morning fox.

An Early morning fox.

Stone Track.

Stone Track.

I really like the footpath leading up into the trees, the bones of the earth showing the lie of the rock underfoot, worn smooth by the footsteps of ages as they climb to work the fields or take in the air and scenery. Every time you head out for a walk there is something new to see, I love the details, small flowers, the workmanship of the gate in the previous photo, the changing landscape as we pass by places we have visited before, perhaps under a different light, less cloud or a lower sun. Each trip is different and worth the walk, each time we find some new corner to explore. I hope you get the chance to do the same soon. Enjoy the spring and coming summer, enjoy the journey.

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