Anyway, after that I decided to walk the canal. You may remember some photos I posted a couple of weeks ago of the docks and the high-sided cutting in Bridgwater. That got me thinking about walking the whole length of the canal. Actually, it got me thinking about walking the canal in two halves. The canal is 23.5 kilometres long. Happily, there is a very convenient 'half way' point and that was where I wanted to get to as the first stage of my attempt. A few years ago, in a very spirited effort at public art, education and fun, someone decided that it would be a nice idea to map out the solar system along the length of the canal. They stuck a great big 'sun' at the half way point and then put markers at the appropriate points along the canal in each direction to show where the orbits of the planets come. At either end of the canal there is poor old Pluto, no longer recognised as a planet but still there even so. More of that later. It wasn't a great day, as far as the weather was concerned and there was rain forecast for the middle part of the day, so I had to get on with it.
I set out at about ten o'clock. It wasn't long before I was walking through the outskirts of the town. As is very common these days there is a lot of rubbish, in the canal, beside the canal and floating on the canal, but that eased as I got closer to the edge of town. Strangely, at one point there was a pile of books that had been thrown out by someone. I casually looked through them and saw a copy of Return to the Stars by Erich von Däniken. It was a bit damp but not wet, so I put it in my rucksack and carried on.
A cottage, idyllically placed beside the canal.
(I'm sorry about the quality of the photos in this set, it was a dull day and getting duller by the minute and I didn't have a lot of hope of getting anything spectacular.)
The canal passes under the M5 motorway. If you've ever been along it, did you imagine, even for a minute, that it would be a great place to store rubbish?
The bridge actually takes the motorway across the canal, railway line and the River Parrett, all in one leap.
Right out in green nowhere. The towpath is really good for most of the length of the canal, though it often doubles as a cycle path (I thought a cyclepath was an axe-wielding maniac!) and that's fine except they tend to come at you from behind, silently and quite fast. It could be said that you need hindsight to walk this path.
I loved the shapes of these trees and the reflections they made.
Run down and derelict it may be, but I thought this little cottage was cute.
This is an old wartime pill-box, put there as part of the defence of the canal if ever there was an invasion. Now it serves as a place for locals to write seriously unimaginative graffiti.
This was a wee sculpture on the top of an iron pole, unexpected and really neat.
Hee hee, I can see Uranus!
The silver ball is the size of the planet in relation to the size of the canal's 'solar system'. This also shows you how far I had walked so far.
In any regimented line of trees, I love the fact that there is always one that doesn't behave. I can identify with that tree.
Boats go thataway!
On the surface of the water you can see that it had started raining. From this point I, more or less, just stuck my head down and kept going. It was actually a good idea to keep my head down, if only to dodge all the evidence of incontinent dogs that had been that way before me.
This is Standards Lock, the first lock on the canal.
A very poor attempt at trying to camouflage a house. It looks kind of turquoise here but was actually a very yucky green.
After Saturn the planets came thick and fast, as did the rain!
To finish, a couple of photos of poplar trees beside the canal, backed by a very grey sky..
I arrived at the sun, neatly and conveniently placed beside Higher Maunsel lock at just about exactly mid-day. Two hours to walk almost twelve kilometres and to stop and take photos along the way wasn't bad. I know that it was flat most of the way but even so. My lift arrived in the, by now, pouring rain and I felt relieved and modestly accomplished by what I had done. If the weather is okay this coming, busy, week-end, I'll try to walk the second half, if only so that I can get to see Uranus again. I just wonder whether that's going to be the next destination for the doctor as well. I sooooo hope not, and it's probably where I will draw a very firm line.