3 October 2011 (Monday) - Cheddar Gorge
Another 8am brekkie. This one was somewhat marred by having to make polite conversation with the normal people who were also staying in the B&B. But with brekkie scofffed we soon set off.
We gave ‘er indoors TM sat-nav one last chance, and it’s fair to say the device exceeded the misgivings of even it’s staunchest critics. It waited until we came to the second roundabout of the journey, directed us back to the first roundabout, and then tried to get us to drive to and fro between the roundabouts.
I'd had enough, and I got my sat-nav out. That gave us some no-nonsense directions, and soon we were in Cheddar. We parked up, and managing to shake off the old biddy who wouldn't shut up about the courtesy bus tour, we paid up and were soon in the first cave. Apparently opened up in the early 1900s by some bloke called Gough, the cave had a really good audio tour, and had loads of bats flitting about. Despite the ill-behaved schoolbrats swarming, we were in this cave for over an hour.
We then went over to the Museum of Dull Drivel. Some sad act was loitering outside, dressed up as a caveman, and I explained to him about the flint tools he was brandishing. We then went into the Museum of Dull Drivel. I suppose it wasn't that bad, but compared to Gough's cave it was dull.
Cox's cave was next, and with no audio guide, that too was dull, The cave led into the Crystal Grotto: a cave with a few scary statues strategically placed here and there. This was quite entertaining.
From here we thought we'd scale the steps to the lookout tower. Several hundred steps took us to the lowest part of the hills overlooking the gorge, and having had a quick look from the lookout tower, we walked, scrambled and climbed up even further along the Cheddar Gorge Walk.
The views from the top of the hills were wonderful, but we were somewhat dismayed by one small fact. The walk was billed as a circular walk. Up one side of the gorge, along, down to the road, back up the other side, and back to the village.
There was an endless stream of people walking back from the direction in which we were heading; all complaining that they weren’t going to do more hills. From where we were, we could see across the gorge to the footpath on the other side. Not many brave souls had got that far. But we weren’t going to back out. So having climbed up several miles to the top, we then went down to the road, and then went up an equal number of miles on the other side. And came down again. But it was worth going back up again: if only to see the goats.
The walk was billed as lasting for two hours: we took two and a half. It was a good walk – but in retrospect the good weather helped a lot. I could imagine that the weather could make it a very miserable walk indeed.
Once back down we popped into a nearby café (selling “Styles” ice cream!), and we realised we’d then done all of the attractions. The courtesy bus tour wasn’t running today, and to be honest I couldn’t see exactly what good the bus tour would have been – you could walk the length of the touristy bit in just five minutes.
So we perused the gift shop, and set off back to the B&B. We’d originally planned to visit Wookey Hole today as well, but we didn’t have time to do it all.
The journey back took twice as long as we were expecting: we got caught in traffic in Bath. But once back, we set off to the Crown, for another very good meal. And some zider. After all, you can’t go to Zumerzet and not drink zider…