PYW - A Somerset Easter 2010 - Lots of Cheddar! 

Friday 2nd April
The group of 9 who had already arrived converged on the market square in Axbridge at the appointed time (10.30) in pouring rain and hastily convened an emergency meeting in the nearest church porch to agree abandoning the planned morning walk in the expectation the weather would have cleared by 2.00 for the afternoon walk. With Stephen’s words of wisdom (“It can’t rain all day”) in mind the group turned into tourists for the morning exploring the delights of Cheddar Gorge visitor attractions. Some went into the caves, some sampled the free cheese and cider, and others played table football to pass the time.

Whilst waiting for the final 2 members of the party to arrive at the appointed time we were treated to the most intense hail storm in PYW history. Fortunately it cleared as we were ready to set off for our walk up and around Cheddar Gorge. We encountered alternate sunshine and showers (all very character building) as we enjoyed the views out over the Somerset Plain. Coming back along the other side of the Gorge, Debbie earned herself an extra £1 by accepting a challenge to walk out on a very narrow ridge in quite windy weather. We took advantage of the late hour by descending Jacob’s Ladder for free before dispersing to freshen up before the evening meal. Distance walked about 5 miles.

The evening meal in the Gardener’s Arms was enlightened by playing a version of Call My Bluff prepared by Pete. The only downside to the evening was a lack of custard for the puddings.

Saturday 3rd April
Another wet start as we congregated in Wells for the day’s walk. Meeting up with Alex (and dog Jaffa) from Lincolnshire group we set off out of town, uphill towards the hill behind Wookey Hole. Once more a mixture of showers and occasional dry periods were encountered. An additional hazard was provided by the steep slope up the final section of hill where an intrepid 3 (Stephen, Kirsty and Paul) managed to drag themselves up the slippy mud by hauling on the wire fence. The remainder took good advice and found a marginally gentler way up. The views from the top were most definitely worth it as Glastonbury Tor came in and out of view (depending on the cloud and rain). We reached Ebbor Gorge for a spectacular view into a mini version of Cheddar Gorge. After a brief stop as it wasn’t raining then, we resumed downhill into Wookey along a very red muddy track. Whilst the majority of the group enjoyed their packed lunch in the delights of the Big Top that is the Wookey Hole cafe, a more discerning group found a very satisfactory cafe off the beaten track for a cream tea lunch.

A short walk back down into Wells meant some free time to explore it’s history, mainly the Cathedral where the group sat enthralled by the chiming clock with the jousting horsemen. Distance walked about 6.5 miles.

Dinner was taken in The White Hart where the revised version of Call My Bluff proved more interesting. Unfortunately some of the seating wasn’t too comfortable as Sarah A was heard to exclaim that her “stool was hard”. Much laughter all round.

Sunday 4th April
......and the sun shone at last. Just in time for the start of the eagerly anticipated and thoroughly prepared (by Pete) Treasure Hunt round Cheddar. The 3 teams sought the clues high and low and asked the locals lots of questions. Some were just too hard. The results in the pub showed a clear win for the Paul/Ian/Alex combo.

After lunch the group converged again on Axbridge for the postponed walk from Friday. The sun still shone as they set out up another steep slope to the top of Callow Hill. Again fine views were had over Axbridge reservoir and even out to the Bristol Channel. Over the hill we found another good viewpoint over to Wales which Barbara decided was a good spot to break out the chocolate cakes. A bit of down and up walking brought us to the top of Fry’s Hill where some gambolling lambs had the group watching for ages. A steep walk down crossing at some unofficial places (e.g. a cow watering trough) led us back to Axbridge. Distance walked 5 miles.

The final evening was at the Riverside Pub although we avoided the noisy drinkers and sat in the quiet restaurant where the waitress soon engaged some of the men in the group in flirty banter. Excellent puddings!
We also learned a bit about life in the Youth Hostel. It appears youthful hostellers were entirely absent. The male hostellers also complained about the quality of the sandwich making by the female hostellers. Something about not spreading the margarine into the corners? There was also experimentation on biscuit dunking time during which sadly many a biscuit was lost.

Monday 5th April
The group dispersed but on their travels home some enjoyed Bath, in particular dining in the Pump Room, and others the wonder that is Avon Gorge and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.