Friday, June 23, 2017

June 22 2017 Langport to Bath

What an incredible day! There was so much which happened I really don’t know where to start, and there is no way that everything which happened can be given any justice. 
The ride was 44 miles (74 kms) with 3500 feet (410 m) of climb. The first half was across a flat valley where Langport is the valley is only at 40 meters according to Garmin.  It was great fun speed in down country lanes without a car in sight.   Well in truth it was probably the howling tail wind which made it seem so effortless.  The second half started with a 3 mile (5 kms) climb which at times reached 13% but averaged 8.5%.  After the climb it was down the old Dorset and Somerset railway line. This was a steady 1-2% downhill all the way into Bath (ok there was a couple of very short little places where pedaling was required).  This amounted to something like a 20 mile coast again aided by the tail wind which at times would line up with the narrow hedge rows and you would have to brake to avoid a run away. 
Thankfully the heat wave has broken and it was now overcast and only 18C and the east wind has shifted around to the more normal west wind. 
After leaving the Lilac Cottage the first stop was Glastonbury.  This being one of the Druid Holy days (summer equinox) all of the witches and warlocks (locals) were out.   We stopped in the town square and Jos, PatricK , and Agnes drank coffee and watched the crowd.  I  pedalled around and looked into the shop windows.  “The Cat and Cauldron”,  “Chocolate Love Temple” , “The Hundred Monkeys” etc.   A very interesting and unique place to say the least. 
The second stop was the Glastonbury Tor.  It is a 13 century tower which was built on the very tall and steep hill.  It has a very chequered past a Cromwell used the site to behead those who opposed him.  Now it is one of the “energy vortex centers” for the new age crystal folks and a holy site for the local witches and warlocks.  I did not feel the magnetic energy as the wind two feet up was just howling.  It was tremendous view and even though there was a heavy cloud layer you could still see for miles all around.
For lunch we stopped in Wells and ate Cornish Pasties.  These were a great treat.  These delicious treats come in lots of varieties but are usually some sort of meat.  After lunch we toured the Wells Cathedral.  The foundations were layed in 1150 and it was completed 1360.  It is considered to be one of the best examples of this type architecture.  The insides are is lovingly preserved and maintained.  To say that it is beautiful would be doing it an injustice.  Maybe awe inspiring might be better.  Around the corner and part of the grounds is the Prior housing which was built at the same time.  It is the oldest original street in Europe.  The street is constructed so that it narrows as you go up the street giving the illusion of much greater length.  At the start it is close to 70 feet wide and at the end it is no more than 20. 
After lunch we hit the big hill which was a 600 foot climb and aided by our tail wind was effortless.  Then onto the big downhill and the fun part of the day cruising along.  As we approached Bath we went through two old rail tunnels.  The first is the longest at 1670 feet.  It is lighted in side and has wonderfully smooth pavement.  Oddly enough there are strange little screens along the tunnel which play music and have odd scenes showing.  The second tunnel is much shorter and no music but lighted and with the same ultra sooth pavement.  The tunnels were great fun cruising along, barking and listening to the echoes.   
We are staying in a very nice turn of the century row house just on the edge of downtown Bath where we have three nights.    Two rest days and then off to Stonehenge.


Merle R. DiVita said...

Wonderful pictures, as usual, Terry! I especially thank you for the delightful photo of Mother Swan & her cygnets. ;) As always, enjoyed the commentary. My appreciation to Agnes, please. ~M

Anonymous said...

Terry & crew, I'm just catching up with the last couple of day's blogs. Looks and sounds like great riding on quiet roads. Glad that the heat wave has eased and everyone's more comfortable. Enjoy your rest days in Bath. Thanks for the blog and the photos.

Anonymous said...

P.S., Anonymous above is Ken C.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear the weather has improved and that you're enjoying the sights.

Mike B said...

In this case anonymous is Mike B

On The Road - Bob and Gail said...

Wow Terry what a great riding day this was. It's days like this, with quiet roads, terrific scenery, lots of downhill and the wind at your back, that soothe the soul and confirm why we do what we do. Love the names of the shops and as usual your story telling skills are top notch. The tunnel music was certainly a special experience - who knew?
Love the history of the church - no matter how many one sees, they continue to be a humbling experience. I thought the road near the Priory was cleverly designed. It's interesting that they were playing with perspectives, not only in art, but on a friggin road way back then. It really does look like a LONG way to the end.
Continue to enjoy - so happy it cooled down for you and the crew. Please give regards (and hugs too) to Agnes.