Today I was returning to Minehead having completed the SWCP there in August 2015. I intended to link up Minehead with my last finish point of Hinkley Point. To do this I set off very early from Telford to catch the 6:32 #16 bus from Cannington. To get to Cannington, I needed to use my bike for the 5 mile cycle. I had to equip the bike with lights, as it was still dark when I set off at 5:45 in the morning! I had parked in a layby, the same one I had used last Sunday ** More about this at the end of the report!!
I was the only passenger, for the most of the journey on the bus to Minehead and I had a nice pleasant conversation with the lady bus driver. We talked about walking, Scotland and dogs, the bus journey seemed to fly by. I got off at the clock esplanade near the rail station. The weather dull and grey with a stiff breeze that was freezing. I immediately had to get my jacket on. It would remain hazy for most of the day, so no views today.
I passed the Butlins camp and continued down past the golf course. I was walking directly into the wind, which did not help. Blue Anchor seemed to come very quick. Just past the hotel with the same name, a “precautionary” diversion routed the path up the A39 due to recent cliff falls. I noticed a couple of cars driven by lunatics going in my direction and with no footpath or verge I opted to risk plummetting to the beach below. Needless to say the recent cliff falls were about 10m from the path.
I arrived in Watchet and passed the charming sculptures of the Ancient Marioner and “Yankee Jack”, next to the harbour.
The next 4 or 5 miles was walking along the beach. I made swift progress even though, I trudged through some fine mud sections, as well as sand and limestone “pavements”. I by-passed the holiday park and holiday village, although I did see a couple of England Coast Path signs in the holiday park as I came in on the bus. Somewhere along the beach, the ECP from the land must have come down to the beach, because when I eventually left the beach, there was a warnings sign that the route would be blocked at high tide. I must admit I thought that the ECP did not necessitate walking on the beach.
I passed Kilve and could see the power station at Hinkley Point looming in the distance. At Kilve I spoke to a couple of chaps who were busy putting the final touches to a large bonfire/beacon that was to be lit at 19:00 this evening as a tribute to HRH Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.
The walking got alot easier as i approached the power station, where the path was diverted inland due to the building of Hinkley Point C.
As I approached the end of the walk, I could see two uniformed men who were peering into my car. From some distance away I shouted to them, asking who they were. They said they were the police and that the car had been there about 6 hours. I told them about cycling to Cannington earlier and they said they did see me! Anyway, I asked them if they were Avon and Somerset Constabulary. They said no , they were the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC)..
Any, I was annoyed and ranted on about this and that, including the fact that other walkers had been harassed and challenged by ‘security men’ whilst walking on public footpaths around the facility. They asked for my name, but stressed I did not have to give it, I did because I had said I had nothing to hide. They had put a note under my windshield…….. hpc , which I did not read it until I got home. It note goes on, stupidly about taking the bus or using park and ride. How residents could complain about someone parking legally in a roadside lay-by in the middle of the countryside is beyond me. I was not rude to them, just p***ed off. It turns out that these plods operate up to 5km from the facility and they come armed!!
I managed the 19 miles in 5.75hrs.
Distance today = 19 miles
Total distance = 1596 miles