Minehead 2017 - Friday 25 August

Arrive Journey Lodgings Higher Tn Finale Read Me

We Arrive in Minehead

On Friday, we descended on Minehead. Some by train and bus. Some by car. We arrived at different times, but the early birds had time to look around and explore Minehead's historic Higher Town. This was conveniently just a stone's throw behind the hostel. From here we had fine views over Minehead and towards the Quantocks beyond. What a good start to our away break!

The evening shed some gentle light on Minehead's famous church steps.

The first evening was also the occasion to think about the walks and activities for the next three days. Having been here eight years ago, I had some familiarity with the area and a reasonably firm idea of what might be nice to see. In the event, some of the "girls" made suggestions on the particular emphases we could place on our peregrinations. Many Thanks!

Our Journey

Three of us met up at Blackhorse Road (Victoria Line) where Nigel was able to collect us in his car. It was a good journey thanks to Nigel's excellent driving and the company. We took the A303, which was more direct than the motorways, and not unduly busy - a few hold ups, but nothing too serious. The journey took about six hours, punctuated by some convenient coffee stops. We probably saw more of the countryside than from the motorway. I mean, we even passed Stonehenge. Thanks, Nigel!

We met up at Blackhorse Road Station ...

... enjoying the interesting slant the Victoria Line staff put on the concept of "Service Information".

In the station entrance, there was even a maze to keep our minds busy.

The purpose of Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain, ...

... is a perennial source of conjecture, ...

... but here is more of a close up of where the Druids go on mid-summer eve.

Lodgings and Royal History

I took up lodgings in the "Duke of Wellington", a "common-or-garden" sort of place, but bang down-town, close to the hostel and close to the start of our walks and Higher Town. The place was quite inexpensive, but I've got a brain like a sieve about such things, so if you ask me about the price I won't be able dredge the answer out of my little grey cells.

The name of the establishment proudly ...

... remembers a British military hero of the past ...

... and looks onto the town square which remembers our august Queen Anne.

Poor Queen Anne, none of her many children survived,
and now the pigeons vie for the head of her statue as a suitable perch.

A short distance away, near Fausto's,
where Adrian had arranged our final evening meal (our sort of a "Last Supper"), "Good Queen Bess" - well, that's one of her appellations - is determined to make her presence felt.

Higher Town

To get a bit of very modest exercise after my jacket potato and salad (nothing too heavy), it seemed nice to visit Higher Town again after eight years. I wanted to experience again some of that West Country flavour and the fine views over Minehead. Others might, of course, have wished to concentrate on the churchyard itself, to see if, as night fell, there might be creaking gravestones, ghosts, skeletons and sundry apparitions. What more can I say, than "Chacun à son goût!" ?

It was getting dark as I ascended the famous Minehead Steps.

There's still a good view from the church door.

One of the imposing features in Saint Michael's church is the carved mediaeval rood screen.

In the middle ages, Minehead's church benefitted from the wool trade, and this example of the mediaeval carpenter's work is one of the splendid results handed down to us over the centuries.

The Fitzjames Missal dates from the early 14th Century.
All hand-written and produced (pre-Guttenberg) and in Latin of course;
colourful letters and "page surrounds" open many of the chapters.

There's still a good view from the churchyard.

The view gets more extensive as I walk up behind the church. The beach, the terminus of the West Somerset Railway and the outliers of the Quantocks are now prominent ingredients.

I go back down to the church. The lights are beginning to come on.

Night is spreading its tentacles over Minehead and the gravestones.

The church tower presides over all.

As the lights come on, the church steps look pretty ...

... and the church stands out like a beacon over Higher Town


It's been a nice start to our away break. Indeed, it turned out a good omen, for the weather was to be on our side for all three of our full days. How's that for Bank Holiday weather?! Tomorrow we would start to savour some of the interesting landscape in this part of Exmoor.