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Day 4 - Wellington to Bristol              Weather icon, click for today's weather in this location Today's weather in Wellington

Tuesday 2 May 2006

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Map of third day of route, click to go to interactive map

Route Description

Having overnighted in Wellington, the route will take me through Taunton, Glastonbury and Wells before wending North into Bristol. This is a pretty short day to combat the third day blues! Although Henry will leave me on this day and head back to London, I will be staying with Diane and Paul in Bristol and have already been offered the use of the washing machine!!!

 

Route map.

Mileage: 70

Cycling time: 4 hours

Average speed: 17.5 mph

Top speed: 89.9 mph! - computers never lie!

Start to finish time: 6 hours 15 minutes

Worst, but also rewarding hill: Cheddar Gorge

High point: 885ft

Mileage to date: 222

Level headed, I resisted oblivion!

Today started in familiar style with a bowl of porridge and scrambled egg! Our hosts at the Backways Farm B&B were delightful and have given 20 to Crusaid so thanks to them. I found myself getting in a fluster as departure loomed and can only put it down to having to say farewell to Henry today as she returned to London. She has been fantastic - a real support to get me off on the right track so a massive thankyou to her.

Quickly leaving Wellington behind, with a tail wind allowing me to zip along at about 24mph, I soon arrived in Taunton, resisting the proffered oblivion of all the cider houses on the way! Here I had my first stop to meet up with Alan, Ellie and Nick. We met at the obvious landmark of Tesco and had a cup of tea in the cafe there (happy now Gordon? ;-)).

An hour later and I was on my way towards the much vaunted Somerset Levels. I have to say, if we are talking Holland, the Wash or the Fens, level the Levels are not! At least the route I took was decidedly bumpy. Nonetheless, I made good speed towards Glastonbury, passing Langford, Somerton and the curiously-named Huish Episcopi on the way. I learned on this stretch, thanks to a Somerton-located municipal recycling centre (or 'dump' to you and I), that, according to my on-board wobblometer, skip lorries create the most buffeting draft of all vehicles! Glastonbury saw my next brush with oblivion, but as a light drizzle had set in and I could scarcely see the mystical Tor, I wasn't at all tempted to select the local speciality cake for todays rating.

Soon at Wells (blissful flat roads and a tail wind for these 6 miles) I was ready for a few cathedral shots, including the wonderous scissor arches and a bowl of hot soup.

Then it was on to Cheddar and the eponymous gorge. Actually more of a parking lot in its lower reaches, I was rather glad of the gloomy weather and accompanying lack of traffic...it must be a nightmare at the height of summer! However, the climb was rewarding - especially as I was being motivated by Basement Jaxx on my mp3 (thanks to Rob and Kate for this inspired choice) - and I was soon emerging on to the top of the Mendip Hills. Beautiful scenery, and a change to a disco classics album (anyone who has the Priscilla sound track will know what I am saying - glitter-ball-tastic!!!) inspired me to burst into song - much to the consternation of the local horses, which looked on in horror as I passed!

I soon had a great view of the Chew Valley Lake and the remaining 12 miles of my route. Only the last 5 miles were on the hideous A37 - a gruesomely narrow A road with thundering trucks and ignorant drivers. However, the prize goes to an Italian camper van driver (sorry R & K) who was almost responsible for my final brush with oblivion by passing within an inch of me on a left hand bend. Fortunately, he came to a stop at some lights soon after and I was able to vent my fear and anger by banging on his window and using some words that even a non English-speaking Italian would understand!

Still seething slightly, I arrived at Diane and Paul's house in Upper Knowle, Bristol at around 4.15pm. Since getting here, I have been looked after royally - lovely shower, use of washer/drier, cake (see below) and the only recipe Diane could find which included both pasta and potatoes in the one dish - ironically billed 'an Italian classic'! It was a triumph!

I also met up with Calum, who is cycling with me tomorrow, for a drink and to make arrangements for the morning. This involved another four miles on the bike and a huge hill but I treated it psychologically as a 'stretch out'!

Thank you again for all the messages and continuing donations - it's great!

Cake Review - Pear and ginger sponge (courtesy of Diane). Lovely moist sponge, dotted with pears and just the right amount of ginger - 10 out of 10.

 Alan, Ellie and Nick in Taunton

Wells Cathedral

The wonderful scissor arches (bit blurry, sorry)

Cheddar Gorge on a dull day

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