Yesterday’s walk beginning and ending at Cleeve Abbey was planned with a particular goal in mind. The steam train Flying Scotsman is ‘down the road’ in West Somerset from 5 – 12 September and we were determined to see it despite parking and viewing restrictions at the major view points.
Whilst not train spotters in the nerdy sense, Eric has a connection with the train as he regularly visited family in the North East as a small boy and is fairly certain that he would have travelled in coaches pulled by the iconic locomotive.
So it was that he planned our route to include an off-the-beaten-track opportunity to watch the train on its way from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead. The location wasn’t quite what we expected but we were happy enough to wait, by ourselves in a field sporting a sign to beware of the bull, the twenty minutes or so until we heard the telltale rumble on the rails. At least our research proved correct, promising the engine forward-facing for its westward journey.
The other variable influencing our walk was the weather and we were in luck. Although not perfect, at least it didn’t rain.
*flying scotsman spotted at point 3 on map above
Flying Scotsman aside, we thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon’s walk. The terrain was varied with some interesting features, including the ancient Monks Path, and there were a couple of extensive views too. The only part of the walk that we would avoid another time is the pathless 100m or so along the very busy A358.
Old Cleeve is an attractive little village – less of the chocolate box variety, more where you could live and be happy. It possesses the delightful Lysaght Club and Community Hall (also doubling up as village pub/bar) and a very friendly Short Mat Bowls team who ventured outside to talk to us (clearly hoping we might be prospective bowlers).
There’s an attractive mediaeval Anglican Church, St Andrews, too. Eric and I always look around churches whilst out walking; some have a more friendly feel than others. This one gave the impression of being cared for and inviting.