It’s Friday again. This week, it sneaked up on me.

Monday morning was a complete indulgence. I spent all morning in bed, watching telly! I’ve never done this before, but I needed to catch up on recorded programmes. The weather was dire, the dogs were asleep and I had little else to do.

It was pure luxury! Not many steps on my fitbit though….

I spent Tuesday doing little jobs here and there, then drove up to Stafford to see my mum on Wednesday. By coincidence, my favourite work colleagues had all ended up together in the Leeds office on the same day – a rarity. I was delighted to receive an invite to join them for a farewell dinner, so I drove up to Leeds after a few hours in Stafford, driving back down again the next morning for cuddles with my beautiful baby great-niece.

Then I headed back down the M5 to sunny Somerset for teatime.

Phew!

My fitbit’s fibbing….

 

Steps 23 March 2017

So this week, I’ve done hardly any walking or climbing stairs. Instead, I’ve driven about 500 miles in 2 days. But my fitbit says I was walking, as shown in yesterday’s stats.

For example, according to fitbit, I walked more than 11, 000 steps and climbed 75 floors! In reality, it was more like 1000 steps and 2 floors. Naughty fitbit!

So, today, I thought I’d better test my fitbit, as well as getting out and about for a real rather than a fictional walk. This is especially important, as our impending holiday involves lots of lying about drinking cocktails in the sunshine, and gourmet meals at least 3 times a day……. heaven!

Where should I go?

Bearing in mind that my Friday Kimtime is coming to an end, I searched the map for places I’d meant to visit. There were 2 places vying for top spot; Brent Knoll and Bridgwater nature reserve.

If you’ve ever driven along the M5 between junctions 21 and 23, you can’t have failed to spot Brent Knoll. It’s a large, long hill (137 metres high) that sticks up from the absolutely flat Somerset levels. It’s the only hill for miles around, except for Glastonbury Tor which is about 15 miles away.

During most of my childhood, my Mum and Dad owned a caravan on a site in Mawgan Porth in Cornwall. We used to drive to Cornwall from Stafford 4 times a year for holidays, starting when I was about 6. 50 years ago, the M5 motorway went only as far as Bristol, so we used to drive on the A38 past what we knew as the ‘smelly factory’ in Bridgwater – a highlight of the trip for us kids! It was still there up until a few years ago and still smelly. It was actually a cellophane-making plant.

The M5 was eventually extended down to Exeter, and there was a place signposted as Brent Knoll picnic area. We always used to stop there, to munch a sandwich and use the loo, but we never climbed Brent Knoll. As an adult, I’ve lived nearby for over 25 years, but still never climbed Brent Knoll.

Decision made then!

How do I get there?

To get a view of the knoll, I drove up Canada Coombe, a small country lane in the village of Hutton that leads to the Roman Road, which has a great view of the Somerset levels. The  levels were shrouded in mist, but Brent Knoll was visible – in fact it seemed to be lit up through a gap in the clouds.

Distant view Brent Knoll

I’d done a bit of research before I left home, to make sure I could find the footpath when I got there. Up until then, I didn’t even know that there was a village called Brent Knoll. Apparently, it was formerly known as South Brent.

OS map of brent knoll
Ordinance Survey map of Brent Knoll

 

So off I went, down the A370, and along the B3140 through East Brent to Brent Knoll village. My research had told me I could park at the church and walk to the top of the hill via a nearby public footpath.

The village was very pretty, with very posh houses. As I drove through, I hit a slight snag – I hadn’t realised that there were 3 churches in Brent Knoll! I dithered about for a bit, then came across the village hall on the main road. It had free parking, so I stopped there instead.Public footpath sign

I’ve since found out that the green patch to the upper left of the number 34 on the map was the church I was looking for. I could see it up the hill and had guessed as much, but I couldn’t see a connecting footpath.

I wandered up the road and followed my nose up a lane on the left – success!

There was the sign I was looking for.

Going up!

There was no-one around – it was really peaceful.I walked along the path behind the church and it already seemed like I’d gone up quite high, with the view of the levels in the background.

Church view.jpg

Birds were singing, and spring was breaking out all around me, starting with a tree in full blossom next to the church.

Very pleasant – until it started getting a muddy ….. and a bit steeper….

I found myself puffing away up the steps, and having to stop quite often to get my breath back.

Eventually I reached what I though was the top, with a gate which announced National Trust Brent Knoll.

National Trust sign
Nearly at the top?

Nope! Beyond the gate was yet more mud and steeper steps.

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At the top

Finally, after another 10 minutes of puffing, I reached the top – and it was definitely worth the effort. The views were amazing!

Once I’d got my breath back, I had a wander around the edge of what looked like a shallow crater at the top. There was a memorial stone which had been updated with various events since being put there in the 1800’s, including a plaque for the queen’s 90th birthday.

The top itself was bare and lumpy, with short, very green grass. it looked a bit like a complicated hole on a golf course!

Further round was a stone plinth, with a plaque showing the features of the 360 degree view.

What you can see

It’s a shame it was a bit misty. I could see Crook Peak, the lighthouse near Brean and things that were closer, such as Sanders Garden Centre, Battleborough Grange and the M5 for a couple of miles in each direction.

On a clear day, it looks like you can see Glastonbury Tor and Cheddar Gorge, and down to Minehead in the opposite direction.

As well as being misty, it was very windy and pretty cold, so I finished my walk around the top, taking on energy as I went, ready for the walk down (a banana and a swig of coffee from my old and leaky flask!)

The walk down was a bit treacherous due to the mud, and my legs were wobbling by the time I got to the bottom! Still, back out of the wind, it was a nice walk.

Is my fitbit still fibbing?

So this was a real walk, unlike the last couple of days where my fitbit was telling me fibs! I think today’s figures are accurate:

 

A walk with the dogs later will ensure that I really hit 10,000 today!

So there you go – that was this week’s Kimtime.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it – feel free to comment here

I’m on holiday for a couple of weeks so maybe we’ll talk when I get back!