Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Rained off!

Sorry to everyone who was expecting to see some pics of our Sunday walk this week, rain stopped play! Next week will be slightly different because my Dad is coming to stay. We are collecting him the day after his birthday, but he has invited us out for a birthday meal. You never know, there might be some pictures of a meal out with the birthday boy/father!

As you know, another of  my passions is knitting. I have been using alpaca blended with BFL (blue faced Liecester) and marino, just lately. I had no idea of its history in Great Britian! I thought you might be interested in this..................

I have just been watching a TV programme, here in UK. It is called Great British Railway Journeys ( shown on BBC 2, series 2 episode 3).(this programme will beavailable at for the next 7 days from the date of this post! The presenter, ex MP Michael Portillo, took a trip round Yorkshire, stopping off at Saltaire. There he visited a mill where flax was origionally produced. This was until the owner, a Sir Titus Salt discovered the alpaca! Take a look at this letter:

When you have read that, take a look at these pics!
The last 2 of the mill, contain alpacas!

We were not the first to see the importance of apaca fleece! I was very excited by this find!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Another Hill Walk

Today's walk was slightly different, in that Brean is a big tourist area. Our other walks so far, may be visited by holiday-makers, but are slightly off the beaten track. Brean Down is the last of the Mendip Hills before you reach the Bristol Channel Our path today was well worn and defined without being way marked. From the summit Bristol can be seen in the distance, along with the Severn Bridge, which is a gateway to Wales.Looking inland,you can see right over the Levels.

Looking towards the beginning of our walk

If you look between the two larger buildings, you can just see the steps that have been cut into the rock for walkers. You can also see the zig-zag path where the steps continue almost to the top of hill. Once you reach the top, there is a walk of about 2 miles.
Looking inland, both Brent Knoll and Crook Peak are visible. Below, in the centre is Brent Knoll. In the distance to the left, is Glastonbury Tor.

Looking inland towards the Levels
 We visited towards late afternoon, otherwise we would have taken a shot of the fort, right at the end of the headland. The fort was built back in the 1850's under the rule of Napoleon 111. It is one of four forts built to protect the Bristol Channel from invasion from the French. Although well armoured, no shots were ever fired from the fort. However, at 5am on July 6th, 1900, there was a huge explosion .  Gunner Haines had fired his rifle into the ventilator of the  magazine of the large No. 3 gun,resulting his death. One wonders what led him to do such a rather stupid thing! 

Looking towards Weston-Super-Mare
 If you zoom in on the picture above, you can see Weston-Super-Mare. You can clearly see the old pier, to the left. In the centre is the new pier, the old one burnt down just over 2 years ago, follow the coastline along to the right and you will see the the wheel. It is owned by the same company as the new pier and was built as an extra attraction while the pier was being rebuilt. My Dad was staying with us just before the fire and we visited the pier the day after. Dad had become very excited when he realized how close Weston was by train, he said he remembered as a boy, rollerskating down the prom and visiting the pier! The reason for the fire was given as a fault in the fish and chip bar on the board walk. The smoke from the fire could be seen as far away as Bridgwater and even further afield!

Looking across the Bristol Channel to Wales. Zoom in and you can see The Millennium Stadium (rugby)in Cardiff.

The sunsetting over Brean Sands
Then we had a quick dash back to the car park which closes at 5pm. If you don't get back before closing, there is a £75 fine to retrieve your car!
Where to next week?

Monday, 3 January 2011

A New Year's Resolution

HAPPY 2011!!!
Brent Knoll

New Year's Resolution? Proposed by DD#3's boyfriend - that we walk a hill every Sunday afternoon during 2011 and accepted by all of us! You read it here, so you will be able to see if we kept to this!

Yesterday we went for a walk that we have been promising ourselves we would do for more than 5 years! Not far from the motorway, is a hill called Brent Knoll. It appears to stick up in the middle of nowhere. It is 449ft high. It was known by the Romans as the Mount of Frogs. Knoll means 'a smooth mound'. The top of the hill has an indentation and I remember asking Steve, if he thought it could have been some sort of fort at some time. Having read up on the history, it seems that both Bronze Age and people of the Iron Age used it for its advantage of hight. There is a ridge around the edge of the summit and slight mounds towards the centre. Roman coins were found there, in an urn, in 1610.

The light changed as we were there mid afternoon. As the sun lowered the views became dimmer. I would like to go again as spring comes along, as I am sure the views in sunlight must be stunning! You can see across the Bristol Channel to Wales, Exmoor, the Mendips, the Poldens and the Quantock Hills.

Brent Knoll was used for Queen Victoria's Jubliees and all other jubilees since

Glatonbury Tor, about 20 miles from the Knoll

The motorway, with traffic nose to tail. A constant humming sound, from the summit of the Knoll, about the only sound to break the silence!

Crook Peak from Brent Knoll

The distant light houses at Burnham. The nearest one is built on the side of a house and is several yards from the water. It is now surrounded by other buildings and the sea is not visible when viewed from inland. Burnham has a total of three lighthouses, the two in the picture and a light on the church tower.

Crook Peak
Today, because it was New Year Bank Holiday Monday, we took another trip to the hills, this time in snow! This is the hill we saw yesterday. It was a very steep climb at the start, but worth it when we reached the top! We left the car at the bottom in slight drizzle, but as we reached the top it became obvious that it had been snowing for a while at the higher altitude and was still doing so. 

Crook Peak dusted with snow

Looking towards Cheddar

Crook Peak is a limestone mound and is 628ft high.
 Coming down, we found an easier, less slippery path to follow. We came across a cave, on further investigation online, I discovered that this cave was not found until 1994. There are numerous (although we didn't see any!) ochre pits nearby, as ochre was mined here as late as the 1920's.

Watch this space and see where we end up next weekend!


Saturday, 1 January 2011


Well it's arrived! Happy New Year everyone! I hope it's a good one for all of you!
I don't have any photos to share at this time. There should have been some of Coldharbour Mill today, but when we got there it was closed. O think the weather in some places further south than us have had worse weather. On the drive down we noticed piled up snow! Ours finally disappeared December 23rd. The mill had a few fundamental problems, there was a burst pipe in the cafe, rather unhelpful for making drinks and washing up! Also a frozen leat which means no water to power the waterwheel for driving the mill! So no mill trip!

However, there was a good lesson in how much people matter in all this. If we had met my friend at the mill,we would have walked round looking at machinery, watched the steam-powered engines working, but I don't think we would have chatted so much! We found a nearby pub, had a bite to eat and chatted for about four hours! It was a good time. I think that's what the phrase 'quality time' means!