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  • Sophie Ruffles

A summer microadventure on the West Mendip Way

Can you have an adventure in 24 hours? Hell yes.

On a hot August evening, with lockdown freedoms allowed, my little brother and I set off on a quick child free adventure. We left the beautiful and imposing Wells Cathedral early evening and took to the West Mendip Way towards Weston Super Mare.

As we ran towards the magnificent setting sun, the Mendips alive with birdsong, we enjoyed the freedom of being out on the trail for as long as we wanted. We had bivvy bags in our backpacks and were ready to run until ready to stop.

We ran into Cheddar, the reservoir shimmering silver in the dying light. In search of food we

hit Tesco hard, eclairs, samosas and my champion fastpacking meal- ready to eat (ish) rice and a can of tinned fish.

Well fed we climbed out of the gorge and found a quiet spot to sleep while racers enjoyed the winding road and sound of hell the gorge to speed their cars and keep us awake.

I am yet to sleep well when bivvying but a poor nights sleep is just about worth it to wake with the gold light of dawn.

We set off early and found a petrol station for coffee and breakfast before hitting the last 20

Miles, skirting the edge of Crook Peak and towards the sea.

The trail into WSM is unexpected, the estuary feel, the fishing boats that give way to the Sandy beach of uphill and the end of the trail.

We were hot and tired after 30 miles of running. With our feet in the sea and ice cream on our mind, we checked the bus time and realised that we had 20 minutes to get the bus back to Wells or wait a further 2 hours.

With parenting duties to get back to, we chose to Chuck back on our Sandy shoes and leg it 2 miles to the bus stop. We made it, just, as the bus was late and had to spend an hour swearing buckets in a mask. Thank god distancing meant no one was allowed to sit near us.

This was a short adventure that packed a punch. A national trail, wild camp, epic sunset and sunrise. It had it all.

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