As new members of the Bursner owner’s group we decided to join a Rally at Minehead, meet fellow owners and make new friends. The camping spot for 5 days was at the Barbarians Rugby Club where 12 motorhomes and owners got together, and after initially setting up our various homes on wheels we did what we all do best, gathered for drinks and a chat. In the morning it was time to explore, it was a fair walk into the town which we did, (but a much quicker ride by bus from very close by), there were shops and a steam railway station, charity shops and cafes, pubs and a promenade, and an impressive collection of numerous sculptured figures made from recycled gas canisters that were positioned around the town. We saw 15 and I know there were more.
We indulged our new hobby of Geocaching with a walk along the coast path in glorious sunshine before disappearing into woodland and a long slog uphill onto North Hill for a picnic with great views. The Caches were a good variety, cleverly disguised as rocks, in camouflaged plastic boxes, metal tubes, small metal canisters hung up in trees and a really big box with a numerical dial to open it.
Back down a long rough track down of uncomfortable stones into Woodcoombe and a cheap refreshing pint in Wetherspoons. Eventually we arrived back to the Rally site for a Somerset themed evening with a Ploughmans supper of cheese, chutney and rolls with many chilled cans of cider accompanied by the music of The Wurzels from the 1970s which gave everyone a laugh.
The following day some people visited the excellent Dunster Castle but having visited it only last year, Chris and I took the Exmoor Coaster bus to Lynmouth for a day out. The small town suffered devastating floods in 1952 and afterwards the river was widened and diverted to prevent a similar incident there in the future.
It is a very pretty village with individual shops, art gallery, restaurants, bars and a small harbour. High above is the village of Linton, connected to Lynmouth by a funicular cliff railway which is the steepest in the world and powered only by water. There are wonderful views from the high vantage point 500 feet above Lynmouth and it’s a steep walk back down, or a return trip back down the railway.
We squeezed in a couple of Caches at the bottom in Lynmouth and then walked back up to Linton along a narrow path, up over the top to the Valley of the Rocks where we found a beautifully situated cricket field plus a game in progress. After much sweating and chasing the winding path uphill to find an ‘identified bench’ and the next cache, there followed a long search and a lot of consternation, we had to leave without finding it in order to catch the bus back. All that effort in the heat so very disappointing!
After a great quiz night and a nights rest, we took a bus along to the village of Carhampton and walked across fields to Blue Anchor where we had a fabulous flapjack and drinks before setting off along the coast path back to Minehead, Geocaching along the way. The waters of the Bristol Channel were far in the distance and being a tidal estuary it was hardly a beach, but some sand and rocks with a golf course pathway and wild flowers certainly made it look pretty.
Walking back from Minehead we passed The West Somerset Heritage Railway Station. Steam trains travel from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard and it is the longest Heritage Railway in the country at 22.75 miles long. It ran from 1862 before finally closing in 1971, however it reopened in 1976 as a Heritage Line that is now run by volunteers and a Charitable Trust. The evening was spent playing Skittles at a nearby pub and we all had a great time with the men’s team beating the Ladies; however, I did manage to achieve the highest ladies individual score equalling the highest individual man’s score, so we both won in a way.
The rally site was very close to the village of Dunster so we set off uphill, it always seems that way, eventually getting to the start of a nearby walk ….. and a few Caches! The walk into the woods was lovely and cooler out of the sun. We saw a red deer and several ponies with foals and heard buzzards overhead. With the two caches found we headed downhill to Dunster Railway Station where we were so lucky to see a steam train coming in and heard the classic sounds and it pulled away again, then we found our 3rd and final cache near the end of the station platform.
The final farewell get together on Tuesday was held at the Rally site with a Indian takeway being delivered so everyone could be together and the dogs could enjoy a good run around amusing us all. It was a great few days in a swelteringly hot July, followed by a visits to see my Mum and sisters in Ludow 140 miles away, then to Shawbury another 37 miles north to visit my son Richard and Amanda, with a 4 more caches added. Finally 143 miles south to Slaughterford west of Chippenham to have a picnic with my daughter Jen and a walk introducing her to Geocaching where we found 6 out of 7 on a loop around fields and a river. I drove the short journey of 40 miles home arriving around 6.15pm and we ended up being invited to our neighbour’s BBQ, what a fantastic finale. Total round trip of 455 miles and added 31 caches in a variety on locations to our tally.