DAY 57: Pawlett to Stogursey (sleep Minehead) – 18.30 miles
The sky this morning was full of summer, and you just knew it was going to be a nice day. After our Pontins buffet breakfast and check out, mum drove me back to the middle of the road, where I picked up walking from yesterday. Taking the A road until Bridgwater, I met up with mum one more time for a coffee break until heading off-road to pick up the River Parrett Trail. After previous experience following pathways rather than country lanes, and my recent River Severn Trail cow encounter, I had vowed not to go significantly off-road again. However the alternative road option towards Minehead was just as in-direct and now I had the Ordance Survey detail downloaded on my iPhone, if I did get into trouble I should be able to easily find a way out. Mum was going to meet me in Combwich for lunch and I thought I could easily make it there in a couple of hours.
To start with the banks of the river on both sides were quite industrial and it was frustrating to pass by the coffee place me and mum had stopped at a while earlier just across the bank on the other side, but the going was good. And even as the river started to wind more and more, and the ground underneath became more and more full of stinking nettles, I still ploughed on ahead. Knowing that I was making slow time I then tried to straighten off one of the river bends by heading straight across one field of cut corn. It was easy enough to traverse and – so I assumed – easy enough to exit on the other side. Unfortunately I ended up going round in circles, trying to find an escape on the other side and frustratingly ended up about an hour later back where I started. I phoned mum and told her not to wait for me any more, but to continue onto Minehead to check into our AirBnB place. I would let her know when I was back on the road.
Very much behind schedule now and kicking myself for trying to be clever and not simply heading west on the shortest way possible (even if that was just on a boring road), I finally got within one field of Combwich only to find my way blocked by another herd of nosey cows. I extended my selfie stick and tried to act mean and confident as I started walking through, but the large scary herd still came at me and there was nothing else but to retreat back through the gate. Realising that to go backwards now to try pick up another cross country trail would take ages, and could even take me through another field of cows, there was only one thing left to do. Relieved I still had internet connection, I was able to find the number of the nearest farm and rang to request back-up. Speaking to Val on the other end, I said I was sorry for being so stupid but she was very understanding and said if I waited until she had picked her daughter up from school, she would come help me across the friend. And this is what she did. By now it was an hour later and typically just 10 mins before Val did arrive the herd had started to drift away naturally – so I never got to see first hand how to treat these curious wild animals. But anyway she got me across and I was able to continue into the village. Thank you Val, if it wasn’t for you I’d probably still be there!!!
By now it was 3:30pm, mum was in Minehead and after nearly 5 hours of physical excursion, I had hardly covered any ground at all! Loading up on pork pies and flapjack from the Combwich village shop, I then hit the road heading west and pounded that pavement until I completely ran out of steam. Thankfully the roads were quiet, the villages I was passed were idyllic and the weather still glorious. Mum met me just outside the pretty little village of Stogursey and we headed straight out for something to eat. Such a novelty to have the use of a car, it great to be able to visit somewhere completely different that I didn’t have to walk through. Catching the last of the summer ray’s as we wandered around the seaside town of Watchet, we stopped at a pub for dinner… Driving onto Minehead as the sun was setting, by the time we arrived at our AirBnb all I wanted to do was be horizontal.