Along the Great Western Canal

The night before last the rain held off and I slept like a log. As I was preparing to get up, the sky opened again and the tent got soaked. The is becoming a recurring problem. Luckily, the evening before was dry and windy so I erected the tent as soon as I found a reasonable spot and let the wind whistle through it. By bedtime (about 7.30 pm) it was dry enough to put the inflatable mattress and sleeping bag in.

The wild camping was OK but not up to my usual standards. I was on the edge of a field next to a canal but did not have the views – maybe I’m getting too fussy.

I’ve covered more miles today – just over 16.2. I was speaking to my friend Andy on the phone yesterday and we discussed my average daily mileage. Andy pointed out that as soon as I got on a way-marked, flat trail my average would shoot up. Well today I was following the Grand Western Canal towpath and The West Dean Way over flat and mostly dry terrain. Andy was right and I reached Taunton a day earlier than expected.

In the morning I found myself getting agitated by the noise of the busy road and it got me thinking that the sleepy canal was once a very high-tech transport system that now becomes a means of recreation. In a hundred years or two I wonder if our road system will have returned to nature and if people will be able to dowse the magnetic changes imposed on the bedrock by the thousands of cars and trucks that have belted up and down it? And I wonder how people will get themselves from A to B?

When I see an old windmill in the countryside I have similar thoughts – did people object to having a high tech monstrosity built in their back yard? Will future generations view an old wind turbine as quaint?

interior of Greenham church facing altar with ceiling beams and large hanging discs
Greenham Church

Tonight I am spending the night in a friend’s house in Taunton. The tent is drying, the sleeping bag is airing and my clothes have been washed. Oh and I have a bed to sleep in – Luxury!

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