Before the memory of our weekend away in Minehead fades, I would like to provide a brief resume, to remind us of the good times to be had, once the present difficulties are over.
Day 1 (Friday)
The day had arrived for our much-anticipated winter walking weekend at the exclusively hired Minehead youth hostel in Exmoor national park. Bags were packed, walks rehearsed and a group restaurant booking made for the Saturday evening.
My only concern was that everyone would arrive safely after their drive up the (potentially pitch black) unlit forest road, leading to the hostel.
Upon arriving in late afternoon, we were to be greeted by the hostel manager, but he didn’t show up with the keys. However, after walking around the hostel building, we discovered the back door had been left unlocked for us - weekend on!
As members arrived throughout the evening, their evening meals were prepared individually in the self-catering kitchen. We finally settled into the cosy lounge with a glass of wine, whisky or coffee and good company – very nice.
I was relieved when our last member arrived at about 9.30pm. Luckily the moon was out, illuminating the unlit forest road somewhat.
I think we had all gone to bed by 12pm.
The forest road
Day 2 (Saturday)
Got up early – first one I believe and mad a cup of tea and porridge, which was eaten in the dining room. Within 45 minutes, most members had stirred and were active, making breakfasts, cups of tea or packed lunches.
By 9.30 we were booted up and ready to start our 13 miles trek from the hostel, through the forests south of Minehead, and up toward Dunkery Beacon in Exmoor national park. Some of us decided not to attempt the whole walk due to injuries but it was good to meet up with them halfway for the walk to the beacon summit.
Weather was reasonable for the first half of the walk, until we reached the summit, whereupon it rained for an hour. Packed lunches were eaten at a nearby car park, where some shelter was available. However, due to the weather conditions and limited number of daylight hours, we decided to return to the hostel via the much simpler B route. There ensued a 6 miles walk (in reasonable weather conditions again) back to the hostel, arriving before it got dark.
There was plenty of time for a shower, change of clothes and a sociable drink in the cosy lounge. We were also treated to a sale of surplus, unused walking kit from Dave and Mark, where many bargains were to be had. At 7pm taxis turn up to take us to the Yarn Market Hotel in Dunster for our evening meal. We appreciated the local taxi firm’s willingness to pick us from the hostel front door, contending with the the dark forest track. It was also nice that members had the option to have a drink without driving. We had an excellent evening and the staff were very professional and used to dealing with large groups. After our return to the hostel, the evening finished with drinks in the cosy hostel lounge again.
View from Dunkery Beacon with Bristol Channel in the background.
Day 3 (Sunday)
The hostel manager, by prior arrangement, kindly allowed us to leave our cars parked outside until 1pm. This enabled most of us to complete a nice 6 miles circular walk in pleasant weather via Dunster. A group photo on the hostel steps finished off a great winter weekend away, with most of our driving to be done in daylight.
This was a great weekend away and we look forward to doing something very similar next year.
Group photo – Sue took the photo and one or two had just left.
What a fab weekend that was and where, Andy are we going next January?
Thanks Evelyn. I'll decide later in the summer where next, but I was impressed with the Minehead accommodation, also there is plenty of good walking to be had in Exmoor.