Cliffs, Coasts and Cider: Minehead, Feburary 2016
Hello again Ramsoc!
Our blog series continues and I have taken up the task of writing about our weekend away to Minehead, in the Exmoor National Park between 5th and 7th February 2016 (apologies, I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to detail like that, and I will probably remember it for a long while yet – strange, I know).
This weekend took place a mere two weeks after the end of exam season, so we were naturally all excited to escape Nottingham for a weekend as a chance to catch our collective breath. I assume the club has visited Exmoor at least once in the past, but it was only last year that we started going again. As I was on my year abroad last year, I obviously didn’t go, so naturally I was enthralled at the prospect of visiting an entirely new area. There has to be some perk of doing a four-year degree after all.
My first impressions of Exmoor (months before we went) were already positive – from the photos I could see it was a beautiful area by the coast with some dramatic, rugged scenery, possibly enhanced by the delightful weather conditions.
Fast-forward the clock twelve months and Ramsoc was off down South again – I have to say I saw a rather novel aspect of travelling down South with Ramsoc, having spent most of my weekends away with the club in Snowdonia and the Lake District and enjoying the delights of both those national parks (not forgetting overpriced meals at Knutsford Services on the M6 of course – what I regard as an integral part of a weekend away).
After a nice, smooth journey we arrived at our hostel in Minehead, which is situated at the top of an unmade track just outside the town itself – I think awkwardly located hostels have a certain charm, though I’m not sure whether our drivers would agree with me. We rose the next morning bright-eyed and enthusiastic (aided by a caffeine injection) and set off on our walks, ready to explore.
On the Saturday, I was chosen to assist my colleague Ellie leading Walk 3. I can’t really put a gloss on the weather conditions we had that day (they were less than delightful is all I’ll say), but being Ramsoc, we don’t let that stop us (well, nine times out of ten anyway) and we had a great walk along a part of the South West Coast Path and thoroughly appreciated the scenery we were so privileged to see (as much as the wind and rain: meteorological partners in crime would allow). Our group merged with Walk 4, led by (former President) Tom and (current President) Richard, and we all walked back to the minibus – not enamoured by the prospect of negotiating a main road in such conditions. I must admit I was quite pleased (read: elated) to see the minibus again, but I will concede that Ramsoc wouldn’t be quite the same if every day were clear, still, and dry. After all, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing (just throwing a random quote in there – I’m not an undercover Cotswold Outdoor employee trying to increase sales through psychological manipulation – or that’s what you think at least…)
We spent the evening by the fire, chatting and singing songs (there wasn’t actually singing but I thought the image sounded rather nice) and enjoyed some well-deserved cider – fitting given that we were in a large cider-producing county: a convenient excused if ever there were one (psst…I’ve just seen that my cider wasn’t actually from Somerset, so shhh!).
The Sunday morning saw us up and away again, not willing to concede defeat to the British weather so quickly. Fortunately, it was somewhat kinder today, which made for a great walk skilfully led by Nastia (the woman behind our mascot Ram’s excellent hoodie – see our Facebook page for a photo) with veteran members Richard (Wallis) and Sarah (Day) also present. The better weather conditions helped do justice to some of the magnificent spectacles (thank you online thesaurus for that synonym for scenery) of the North Devon Coast as well as an interesting Roman fort a bit of history is always a nice touch. We concluded our walk with a quick drink in a rather upmarket (that’s an under exaggeration: they had three peacocks roaming around on the terrace, which was rather strange).
After that, we set off back to Nottingham, happy to have sampled the delights of Exmoor with the added sense of achievement that came from battling the elements. Credit for this is due to leaders, drivers, first aiders and committee members and of course all participants on the trip for making this all possible – you really are a credit to the club.
While I’m here, I’ll take the opportunity just to say that we’ll be away again from 4th – 6th March in the Lake District for our next weekend away. That’s Friday 4th March to Sunday 6th March – got it? I bet you’re tempted already…
In the meantime, don’t miss our weekly Sunday walks to the Peak District!
For now, I will sign off as I have maybe rambled on a bit (pun not originally intended, but now completely intended), so I look forward to seeing you on one of our trips soon.
Thank you for reading,