Walks in Cider Country (A Photo Essay)

WALKS IN CIDER COUNTRY

Below are a collection of photos from my walks in England which were my primary activity when not bartending at the local pub, enjoying Grandma’s company, drinking cider or trying to write but really just drinking way too much coffee.

Blagdon & the Mendips
Blagdon is a very small village in Somerset that my grandmother lives in (and her mother before that) and the Mendips are the hills just above the village. About 30 minutes south of the port city of Bristol, it’s a gorgeous, sleepy little place in the country that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Or maybe that was from all the delicious Somerset cider. With plenty of footpaths in every direction, I’d pack a can of cider and a book and spend the afternoons getting lost in the countryside.

The path leading away from Grandma's house. My Grandfather is buried in the church grounds.

The path leading away from Grandma’s house in Blagdon. My Grandfather is buried in the church grounds across the way.

Daffodils in full bloom. The first messengers of spring.

A countryside path with Blagdon Lake in the background and Daffodils in full bloom.

Nifty idea. I grabbed a copy of the Baghavad-Gita from here.

A repurposed phone booth on a walk through the neighboring village of Ubley. I grabbed a copy of the Baghavad-Gita before heading on.

A house in the countryside. Yea, I could see myself living here…

I finally made the connection between that extremely cute lamb and the thing I occasionally eat for dinner. Wish I hadn't.

To my dismay, I finally made the visceral connection between that extremely cute thing there and the tasty meal called lamb I occasionally have for dinner. Wish I hadn’t.

View of Blagdon lake from the south while walking up the Mendips.

A springtime view of St. Andrew’s church and Blagdon Lake from the south during one of my walks up into the Mendip Hills.

Smoke (or steam?) on the horizon.

Smoke (or steam?) on the horizon.

On to of Mendips. Wild horses can sometimes be spotted here.

On top of the Mendips. Wild horses can sometimes be spotted around here.

Picturesque English countryside...

Picturesque English countryside.

Boozy Somerset cider days. Me trying to be artsy.

Boozy Somerset cider afternoons = me trying to be artsy.

Cheddar Gorge and the Strawberry Line

The Strawberry Line is an old railway line that’s been converted into a footpath. It begins in Cheddar (yes, this is where the cheese originally came from) and was named after it’s staple cargo: strawberries. My favorite part about this walk was the Thatcher’s cider brewery at the end of it. It afforded picturesque country vistas as well though, which was a nice bonus. 

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On my way to Cheddar from Blagdon. This was probably a casualty from the terrifyingly narrow countryside lanes. I don’t know how there aren’t more accidents here…It amazes me.

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Spring in the woodlands.

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On top of Cheddar Gorge with the city of Cheddar in the background. This is where cheddar cheese originally got it’s name. One Brit (rather optimistically if you ask me) described it as the “Grand Canyon” of Britain…

A foot path called the Strawberry Line which was converted from an old railway named after the copious amounts of strawberries it carried out of Cheddar. This could have just as easily been a shot on many of the gorgeous unnamed footpaths I walked around in Somerset though.

A bridge over the Strawberry Line.

Countryside view from the Strawberry line. En route from Cheddar to Sanford.

Countryside view from the Strawberry Line. En route from Cheddar to Sanford.

House in Axbridge village which I walked through on the Strawberry Line.

A house in the village of Axbridge. To my horror, I almost left my camera in this village.

English countryside with Cheddar Gorge which I heard was once described by an optimistic Brit as Britain's Grand Canyon...

Countryside with Cheddar Gorge in the distance.

A well deserved pint half after finishing the my Strawberry line walk in Sanford.

A well deserved pint of cider at the Thatcher’s brewery after finishing the Strawberry Line walk in Sanford.

The first pint was deserved...this was cheeky.

Debatable whether this was also well deserved.

Torquay

I had the opportunity to visit Torquay on Britain’s South West coastline which offered a pretty impressive mix of country and coastal vistas. I was also pleased to find a pub at the end of this walk.

Torquay, described by the Brits as the "Jewel of the English Riviera". Uh huh.

Torquay, described as the “Jewel of the English Riviera” by the Brits. Another bout of British optimism? You decide.

On the Coastal path way.

Looking south towards Torquay while walking along the coastal path to Teignmouth.

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Island view on the coastal path.

Another view on the coastal path.

The path ascending in the distance.

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The countryside gives way to a coastal town on the horizon. I think that in the very far right corner you can just make out part of Teignmouth which is where I eventually ended up.

A short trip to Cardiff, Wales.

I took a day trip to Cardiff with Grandma to visit family friends and get back to my Welsh roots. During that trip we took a walk through St. Fagins Welsh National History Museum  which offers free entry. Definitely worthwhile for anyone interested in the history of the Welsh way of life and gorgeous gardens. 

The gardens at St. Fagans.

The gardens at the Welsh national history museum St. Fagans.

I call this one duck in a pond. Taken at St. Fagans a wonderful, open air national history museum in Cardiff, Wales.

Duck in a pond. 

Llandaff cathedral...apparently having one of these bad boys is a requirement for city status in England.

Llandaff cathedral in Cardiff…apparently having one of these bad boys is a requirement for city status in the UK.

English tea and cake with a friend. Great to look at but full of gluten! Trevor is a practiced astrologist and discussed my astral signs. I'm a skeptic but his analysis was inexplicably accurate and personal.

Tea time with a friend. Great to look at but unfortunately infested with gluten 🙁 This picture makes me smile because it was taken just before the plate and its contents all ended up on the floor. Trevor, the perpetrator and our host, responded with “Well it’s all a spiritual experience, isn’t it?” which cracked me up. Afterwards he interpreted my astral signs with an alarming amount of accuracy that I can’t really account for. 

Gear Update

When I left I published a post detailing everything I brought with me on my trip and my thought process. I’ll keep a running tally on that original post of what gets added and subtracted. Here’s what was retired from active duty by the end of this trip:

Gear MVP – The thing I most appreciated having packed on this leg of the journey were my Moab Rovers. Decent hiking shoes were a must for the countryside, which could be mucky at times,

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Hello. I’m Alasdair.

Hello. I’m Alasdair.

I believe that being aware of who I am and mindful of who I am becoming is the best investment I can make in my life —and that when we focus our efforts within, the rewards naturally flow outward to those we love and through the communities we belong to.