For the fifth year running, I had signed up for Weston Hospicecare’s Mendip Challenge event. I read that over nine-hundred people took part this year, walking anywhere between five and thirty-miles on the day. I was set for yet another thirty-miler and hopped on to one of the four coaches laid out for our early start.
One week earlier, the south-west of England had suffered its heaviest dosage of snowfall for a good number of years (dubbed: ‘The Beast from the East’). Portions of the M5 motorway were, closed as many counties slowed to a standstill.
Worst of all, this walk was cancelled and immediately postponed for seven-days. But when the time came, the weather was greatly improved.
I hadn’t been out walking for a few days, despite having a lot of time to myself. I may refer to this time as ‘chilling out’, when in fact I was probably binge-watching Dartmoor-themed videos on YouTube!
Here I was though, standing at the close of 2017. Not willing to join the walking group on a windswept, snow-beaten trek up Pen Y Fan that evening… I decided to stay close to home and rediscover the Mendip Hills.
There was a time when I would walk up to Crook Peak on a regular basis. Since those days, my desire to explore further afield has grown and I’ve often come close to taking the local hills for granted.
It was Boxing Day. I didn’t fancy travelling far and I knew that, wherever I would decide to walk, there were likely to be others around. Sticking close to home but with a physical challenge in mind, I drove down to Axbridge.