Hike Northbound through Britain with Daryl May
Click for Southbound hike
Clifton suspension bridge, designed by Brunel and finished after his death.Public domain photo per  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License
DN14 Cllifton suspension bridge Wikipedia
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Day N14 - Axbridge to Bristol
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Southbound Home
Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Time of departure: 8.15 am
Time of arrival: 6.00 pm
Place departed: Axbridge, Somerset
Place arrived: Bristol, Bristol

Miles: 19.8
Cum miles: 231.0
Percent complete: 24.9

Bed sign Camden Guest House, Bristol – no stars
  Cost for bed and breakfast: 25 ($50)

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DN14 West country thatched cottage
This morning, I did something that made me gnash my teeth mentally all day.  I took the camera’s memory-card out and put it in the PDA to email my photos home. Somehow, all I accomplished was to probably lose all my pictures to date. Even after putting the card back into the camera, I could not retrieve the pictures. I put the card aside to work on back home, resolving to buy a new card in Bristol and leave it in the camera this time. The loss bothered me for months.  It was like losing a book after writing it. Then, much later, I happily met up with my old colleague and friend, Andy Powell, who recommended some recovery software, which worked well enough to result in the photos you see here.
 
From Axbridge, the route got hilly again, but only in a rolling sort of way. The A38 has a good footpath, and nav (navigation) was easy.  But a shortcut over farmer's fields - by public right-of-way, of course - seemed the perfect way to take a more direct route from Star to Dinghurst over Lyncombe Hill, and so access some country lanes on to Congresbury, pointing in a better direction to Bristol than does the A38.

Now my Ordinance Survey Landranger maps are not perfectly accurate when it comes to paths: they generally show the beginning and end of them well, but the routing between these "civilization" endpoints can be inaccurately shown. In this way, Murphy's Law of Maps is perfectly exhibited as conscientious use of the map just gets one lost. Thus I entered the path accurately at Star, and eventually exited accurately at Dinghurst - but between the two, I thrashed around finding my way out and battling barbed wire - costing me some minutes and some pain. Barbed wire and backpacks are quite incompatible.  I need to patent a backpack with wire-cutters on its rear, which instantly spring into action when the pack encounters barbed wire.

Shortly after, I was delighted to have an unremarkable but friendly chat with a man at Churchill Green, who was waiting to drive his granddaughter to the dentist.  “Nice day for it,” I said.

“Yes,” he replied, and incisively sprung to specifics.  “But I suppose it doesn’t really matter when it comes to dentistry.”

Having completed his dentistry driving, he passed me later at Congresbury, stopped, and offered to buy me a coffee, which I wish now I had made time for.  If he ever reads this, I hope he'll accept my apology. From such meetings, friendships are formed.

Exiting Congresbury, I came upon the Star Inn, unrelated to the previously mentioned village of Star.  Here the menu was all "two-for-one". So Daryl and Daryl entered the Star Inn.  Daryl had a prawn and chicken salad, and Daryl had a chicken tikki masala - and each Daryl had a large glass of water with ice. One of the Daryls then generously picked up the tab for both. Amply fed and watered in this way, the barbed wire encounter was soon forgotten as we both headed on major and minor roads to Bristol.    

I wanted to get to Bristol for its big-city amenities, and to arrive there by walking over the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, which Brunel started and others finished to honor him after his death.  It's a striking engineering accomplishment, in use to this day, for those who don't miss the signpost to the B3129, which would have put me on the right track to it from the village of Flax Bourton. In retrospect, it's probably not well-signed at Flax Bourton because the bridge is not on the main route into Bristol, is tolled, and isn't fit for heavy vehicles - and the bridge is even closed occasionally when the authorities fear that throngs of pedestrians will strain its 1859 structure - as has happened.

I never like to backtrack, and so I arrived in Bristol by other back streets and country lanes, and accepted a bed in a grungy B&B on Coronation Road because it was getting late and other B&Bs were full. I wish I were a faster walker, because an earlier stop would widen my accommodation options by leaving me the freedom to say "no" to some places, and “hell-no” to others like the Camden Guest House.
     Day N13                                 2007 and 2008 Daryl May                             Day N15