Fitbit results: 11.46 miles walked, 25,677 steps, ‘191 floors’ climbed, 3,866 calories burned.
At last, I am back out on my travels again after a busy couple of months followed by a few weeks of feeling ‘under the weather’. What better way than to get out walking.
This morning was a balmy 14c which is 20c warmer than it was midweek! I parked the car at Wootton Courtenay (Exmoor) and walked along the lanes towards Timberscombe and a short way on the A396 to Drapers Way. As you walk along this single track road, once reaching the stream at this time of year, you will be lucky enough to see hundreds of snowdrops along the roadside before reaching a wooded area known locally as ‘Snowdrop Valley’ where a path will lead you through carpets of white flowers which cover the ground alongside the river. During mid February each year, the road is closed to allow for the thousands of visitors who come to be entranced by this view. The flowers are earlier this year due the unseasonable climate over recent weeks but another week to ten days will see them at their best. After taking a few photos, I carried on up the lane and turned right onto a footpath sign posted for Dunkery Gate. As expected, it was extremely muddy and any such walking on Exmoor should be done with suitable footwear and a pair of walking poles if you want to stay vertical. My sturdy walking boots kept my feet dry and with laces tied tightly, my boots fought against the mud which was trying it’s best to pull them off me. The path is well signed by following blue markers. If you note the signposts with colours next to the destination, you shouldn’t go wrong.
Apart from one person on their horse, I didn’t see anyone until I reached Dunkery Gate where a few cars were parked up. I could see Dunkery Beacon was hidden by low cloud so stopped here to have my flask of coffee and a cheese roll before walking up the stoney track where at 1500ft the view around me disappeared into the mist. Once I reached the Beacon (1705ft), it was much cooler at 8c with a windchill of 5c. A viewpoint shows locations and distances of places you can see on a clear day but today was around 50ft. A group of young walkers doing part of a DofE challenge arrived, took a quick photo and headed on. I walked back down the hill ENE and soon enjoyed a good view towards to coast where pockets of blue sky were letting the sun through like spotlights on the landscape. Crossing the road and a bit further down, I saw a herd of deer with a stag keeping a watch on me to make sure I kept heading down the hill. It feels great to be back out on the moors again and I hope to return next weekend.