Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Day 10 : Tiverton to Taunton

Wednesday 24th January 2007

Distance Walked: 28.7 miles
Start Time: 8:26
End Time: 5:35
Elapsed Time: 8:51
Weather: Mainly clear, crisp and sunny. Invigorating.
Distance walked so far: 222.2 miles

There was a time when the British were so ridiculously confident that even the most outrageous schemes were accomplished before it was acknowledged how mind-boggingly ambitious they were. The Grand Western Canal is a rare example of a scheme that never quite came to fruition. The plan was to create an inland waterway route to connect the Bristol and English channels as a way to prevent the loss of shipping along the south coast. Only a small section of the canal was ever built before the advent of the railway made it obsolete, but for the walker it means that the first 11 miles of the route to Taunton are a breeze.

Then it all goes wrong. The canal just stops, suddenly, in the middle of nowhere, and after having enjoyed some mindless walking along the flat nature reserve that the towpath has now become, the remainder of the day is spent slogging along the lanes again. Somewhere along the way I pass into Somerset, but my feet feel flattened by the time they finally reach its capital.

Taunton is a neat and tidy little city but, after a full day of walking, the last thing that’s needed is to trudge through miles of bland suburbs before reaching the town centre. It’s dark and, once again, I’m limping by the time I’m finally done, but thankfully my one-woman back-up crew is in town and accommodation has been sorted, and even though the night is spent in the smallest hotel room you’ll ever see, there is a bath and a chance to tell tales of the journey gone and still to come.

Song of the day:

The Woods Band

Dreams / Where can I buy them /
Please don’t hide them or I’m lost /
Dreams, oh, who sells them /
Go tell them /
I need them at all cost /
Without them all is lost and I won’t live forever

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