|Fir trees on Stone Row, Culbone|
I went down to the Quantocks and the N Exmoor coast earlier this week with two purposes:
- distribute flyers and posters for my upcoming 'ROMANCING THE GIBBET' collaboration with Steve Poole (UWE) and Michael Fairfax (sculptor, weird sound maker) about the Walford Murder of 1789 (nice mirroring - 1798/1789)
- test the latest iteration of the RomLitScape both on the Quantocks and N Exmoor coast
I did a long ramble over the westerly Quantocks from Halsway Manor on the Tuesday afternoon (28 October 2014). This is a part of the Quantocks I don't know (I say I 'know' the rest of the hills, but in fact, I still get lost all the time. You descend one combe and then the stream quattrofurcates or something and as you can't see out of the narrow stream valley you follow the wrong stream back up and end up miles from where you intended to be).
The cloud was low and only the valleys were clear(ish). I'm not going to post my exact route (I may still use mark points on the route for a geo-caching version), but I ticked off Bicknoller Post, Beacon Hill, Round Hill; at West Hill where I'd wandered looking for a view over the sea I encountered three pre-elderly persons (as I get older the definition of 'elderly' recedes ever before me. It now means 'something over 80', which gives me a long time yet until I become that!). They were amicably (...) discussing the map and where they could be on it. The man had the map (as usual), and 'knew where he was' (sic) whereas the two women didn't have the map, but did actually know where they weren't, which wasn't where the man with the map thought he was (as usual). I showed them where they were on the map, exchanged comments on the view and left them to it. Later, I noticed they'd retraced their steps (the two women stood out on the dark moor - one in red, the other in blue), so hopefully they found their vehicle before it got dark. Back to Halsway by much the same route, taking in all the barrows I could find, but keeping to the high places.
Came down towards the straggled hedge of writhen beeches which I knew led down to Halsway and burst into a simple patch of green grass amidst a sea of withered, gone-over bracken. Diffuse light streamed out of a hole in the cloud and the whole vale opened out before me. What it is to be alone.
Drove on to and through Porlock, with dusk descending. Up Porlock Hill - DCL Motors in Egerton Road, Bristol, must've put rocket fuel - or maybe snake oil - in my 10yr old turbo-diesel Honda Civic in its recent service, It was actually accelerating up Porlock Hill - one of the steepest roads in the known universe - in 3rd . Blimey!). Off at the Culbone Inn, swerving around kamikaze pheasants intent on sacrificing themselves to The Great Vehicle in the Sky in the Hope and Expectation of the Life Everlasting, to Parsonage Farm. Mine hosts - Jeremy, Paivi, Sebastian & Maia - made me very welcome indeed and gave me a bed for the night. We had a soiree and drank, now let me see, it started off with gin and ginger beer, progressed onto a white then a Rioja and Merlot, ate incredible ham cooked by Paivi, and ended up with a pumpkin pie (Paivi - Linda McCartney recipe). Wow. Most grateful.
|you can stay at Parsonage Farm|
To get to either from Culbone on 'official' routes nowadays means a dogleg on the SW Coastpath up to near Silcombe Farm, then back along Yearnor Mill Lane, first stumbling across Parsonage Farm, then Ash Farm. However, there is still a path which leads directly from Culbone to Ash Farm. It takes off just above the church on the coastpath (Porlock direction) and is actually signposted 'Ash Farm B&B'. Only a 15-20 min easy walk. I rest my case, Mi'lud.
|Is this the way Coleridge trod to Ash Farm?|
|St John the Evangelist i' the Mist, Countisbury|
On the misty Wednesday, a walk - actually more a sort of scramble - on a round-route around Countisbury - Foreland Point.
|Great Hills of Shale!|
but then dissolves into bright blue air; and light, and life.
Less mist below
And more on top
I think the walk has recalibrated my head. I'm now thinking I should release the RomLitScape as originally intended. Any thoughts, anyone?
|lunch spot - cowering behind very prickly gorse|