Day 17

Bristol to Severn View – 15.6 miles (265 total)

Reaching Bristol allows me to declare that I have officially exited the South-West. Instead of travelling at a sideways angle in a north-easterly direction, I can now set course up the Severn Estuary, mostly walking the Severn Way, with the intention of heading north following canals as far as Kendal in the Lake District. Many people who tackle LEJOG make for Bath rather than Bristol, because Bath marks the beginning of the Cotswold Way, which, with some add-ons, links to the Pennine Way, a walk which finishes in Kirk Yetholm on the eastern side of the Scottish Borders. Having done both these walks before, George and I reasoned that using canals would give me a flatter, straighter and more direct route to Scotland. Also, it would take me over the border on the western side, thus allowing me to walk through my home town of Kilmarnock as I, hopefully, continue my journey to John o’Groats.

My walk through Bristol this morning was very pleasant. The sky was blue and the sun was shining for the first time in a while. It was interesting observing the city coming to life on a Saturday morning. Joggers would appear out of nowhere, earphones in place, then just as quickly disappear again; market stalls being set up hoping to take full advantage of the good weather; older folk (yes, older than me) in their gardens pottering – reminding me that I’ll need a JCB for the jungle that is my garden, when I eventually get home; a park area full of young children playing organised football matches with earnest coaches and cheering parents – none of the youngsters ever pass the ball, they all shoot at goal from any distance.

I passed a pub called ‘ The Scotchman and his Pack ’ – honestly! Mind you it looked as if it had shut down, probably because it should have been ‘ Scotsman ’ not ‘ Scotchman ’.

The Scotchman And His Pack

As I got further from the centre I encountered a couple of community events, one painting a fence in bright multi-colours, the other chalking cryptic symbols on the road surface.

Bristol struck me as an extremely cosmopolitan city, so many different nationalities and languages and colours. There were university-related buildings round every corner which, I suppose, could be a major reason for this diversity. I liked Bristol, it was an interesting place.

I headed towards the Severn Estuary, walking through Westbury on Trym and Henbury. I had clocked up more than 5 miles before I sensed that I was leaving the city. Once again I walked under the M5, then over the M49 before reaching a modern distribution park full of large warehouses and roundabouts. The first, of 2, Severn Bridges was soon visible. These bridges link England with Wales (on the far side).

The new Severn Bridge

On reaching the estuary I joined the Severn Way and started heading north. At Severn Beach I reached the first bridge but my destination today was the second, older, bridge, at Severn View.

The old Severn Bridge

There were a number of people about with some serious industrial-size camera equipment looking to photograph the wild birds. The ones that I talked to weren’t having a successful day – I, however, managed to grab a pic of some Canada Geese (I believe) on my iPhone.

Canada Geese (?)

The second bridge came in to view before too long, bringing with it a close to my day’s walk. Reaching it provided me with Kerching number 3: the Jubilee Way, which we walked in 2009. It ends at the bridge but we continued walking across the bridge into Chepstow in Wales. Tomorrow’s walk is a long one so I am hoping for a good night’s sleep.

My route for a few days