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[personal profile] sweet_sparrow mentioned goats in a post earlier today, which reminded me that I'd never spammed you all with this set of pictures. This was a very early morning walk I did back in April, around the top of Cheddar Gorge in the Mendips in Somerset. The Gorge is, I think, the biggest in England, and I'd spent the day before exploring the caves (and yes, they do make cheese there - the caves remain at a constant temperature of 11ÂșC which is the perfect temperature for maturing cheese).

I left the hostel at about 6.30am, when it was barely light, and made my way to the foot of the Gorge. The afternoon before, it had been heaving with traffic and tourists. Now, not so much...





The chap in the National Trust shop the day before had recommended following the path in the opposite direction from the official guide - go up the path behind the Lion Rock, he said, and it's an easier climb and you get better views. Deciding to take his advice, I looked around for the rock in question, hoping it would be obvious.



It was still quite a climb through the woods, and I was glad there was no one around to see me huffing up the path. I came out at the top to the first touch of sunshine.



It was still misty ahead of me, though. I'd got used to mist by then, after a few days around Glastonbury and was quite pleased that it was starting to lift at all that early - in Glastonbury two days earlier, I'd sat on top the Tor watching much heavier mist rise until lunchtime. The north side of the Gorge, which the National Trust owns, is much lower and a little more wooded than the south side. The Gorge is constantly under threat from invasive species and a lot of the money raised from tourists goes towards uprooting damaging plants. They also have a fair few wild beasties grazing away to help. This chap didn't even look up from his breakfast as I walked past.



Although it looks incredibly misty, this was partly because I was facing into a low sun - turning around to look back gave a transformed view. Here's the same pony a minute later, with the sun behind me.



At the end of the Gorge, the path dipped down past these guys, who I'm fairly sure are some of the feral Soay sheep who live up there. You can see how much higher the other side is by the trees behind them.



At the shallow head of the Gorge, I crossed an empty road and headed up the path on the other side.



It was a very, er, smooth path.



At the top, I stopped to eat my breakfast. I was nearly done when I suddenly realised that I had company.



I rapidly finished my food and carried on through the woods, past a few more of the local residents.





It wasn't until I came out of the woods onto the bare greensward at the highest point of the cliffs that I met the rest of the family.










They then lolloped off to play the 'Hey, stupid human, watch me bounce off this cliff! Whoo! Made you look! Made you look! Watch me do it again!' game and I continued my wander along the clifftops.







Eventually I made it to the end of the path and made my way back down into the village to collect my bags. By that evening, I was in Bristol, by a rather convoluted route which let me stop for fish and chips besides this extremely ambitious pier.



Gosh, April seems very long ago. The full set from that walk are here although it's only more landscapes - all the little bundles of fuzzy evil are here already.

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rosiphelee

February 2012

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