Since the hike to Bristol, it seemed only fitting to attempt the canal path in the opposite direction towards Bradford-on-Avon. Maddie graciously took me up on this quest. After visiting Henrietta Park and Sydney Gardens, we made our way to the path itself. We were quickly greeted by a canal boat market, where various goods were being sold and different instruments were being played. It was somewhat reminiscent of Glastonbury.
The canal path was quite busy. A balmy 75 degrees (Fahrenheit) seems to coax out the English. We even ran into a fellow ASE student who happened to be roller-skiing down the path. It was a gorgeous day.
After crossing a canal bridge that took us over the river (Maddie described this as a sort of water inception, with water flowing over water), the path we were on suddenly turned into a trail. Before we knew it, we were in the woods overlooking the canal, where we could see travelers in the distance continuing on their merry way on the opposite side of the water. We had missed crossing the canal, and now we were in a bit of a quandary, stuck in the woods. We decided to take a chance and hope that this trail would meet up with the canal path again. Little did we know that we would soon have our perseverance tested by various obstacles.
The first was, aptly, mud. Not quite Keynsham level mud that I had seen on my first canal excursion. But significant mud none the less. I have a tendency to approach mud with a fair amount of optimism (it is an adventure after all) but Maddie wasn’t as enthused as I was by the prospect of mud crossing.
Our second obstacle was a fallen tree across our path. This was much more suited to Maddie’s taste, and she easily perched herself on the tree, becoming quite fond of it.
At this point I had the Road to El Dorado song “The Trail We Blaze” stuck in my head. We eventually came to the end of the woods where we were greeted with a field that we began to cross. As we approached the opposite side, it became apparent that the whole area was enclosed, and no gate was evident in any obvious way. Rather than search for such a gate, Maddie declared that we would scale the wall. Which we did with a fair degree of success.
After this excursion we were now at a road that allowed us to return to the proper canal path. We eventually hit some nice shaded areas alongside the water, which made for pleasant traveling.
We soon made our way to the town of Avoncliff, where we stopped for some light food and air conditioning. We then forged onward, eventually taking a little trail to walk along the river rather than the canal, which was a more direct route to Bradford-on-Avon.
Keep in mind that during this adventure I’m hiking along with a trusty walking stick found during our detour into the woods. Walking sticks may make me a strange sight to more casual travelers, but they are quite useful.
Finally we reached our destination of Bradford-on-Avon. It was a pretty town that was fun to casually explore before stopping for a drink. Maddie introduced me to the refreshing deliciousness that is Old Mout cider, before we made our way to the train station for the final leg of our journey back to Bath. We ended the day with 10 miles, over 28,000 steps, beautiful pictures, and a great adventure successfully completed.