Yet another weekend of below par weather, but it won’t keep me indoors. There’s loads of snow hitting the north of the UK at the moment and I must be one of the few people I know who’s looking forward to it moving southwards. Going to have a proper go at building an igloo this year 🙂

After last weeks close call where the wind almost got the better of my tent, I thought maybe a more gently approach to getting outdoors this weekend would be nice.

clifton suspension bridge

The Stunning Clifton Suspension Bridge

Jumping on the train for just over 2 hours drops me in Bristol (a place I spent about 5 years of my life) to take a spin around the beautiful Avon Gorge and nearby Leigh woods.

Was originally thinking that a spot of wild camping might be on the cards, but with very little scope to pitch a tent along with a combination of cold and driving rain, I’m happy enough with a good hike around the area instead (roll on the summer).

avon gorge cliffs

avon gorge river

As with many of the cities in the UK, you don’t have to drag yourself far to find a little greenery and space. If the gorge and woods don’t float your boat, there’s always the downs to wander around (although best not done after dark).

The downs is jumping in the summer months and is usually packed with people flying kites, playing games and families just sat about enjoying the sunshine (not today though).

rainy clifton downs

Empty, Wet and Windy Clifton Downs

Chequered History

With Clifton bridge being an easy place to top yourself, there’s a permanent Samaritans sign either side of the bridge. This is a bit of a mute point as far as the bridge is concerned since they put up the sort of railings that would stop all but the most determined from jumping off the bridge.

Samaritans signpost

Samaritans Sign, Clifton Bridge

Its impossible to restrict access to all the dangerous points on the gorge though and I’ve always thought the Samaritans sign is a great idea.

Leigh Woods

With Leigh woods covering a good sized area you can wander for a long while before having to double back. There’s also routes that take you down to the bottom of the gorge and the estuary itself.

leigh woods avon gorge

Leigh Woods

Walking around the wood reminded me of the saying ‘don’t bring a knife to a gun fight’ as everybody else was wearing wellies while I only had my walking boots on and it didn’t take long to work out why.

muddy leigh woods bristol

Muddy Leigh Woods

Not only was everything very slippy from the week log rain Bristol has suffered, there were big areas of the paths that had what I can only describe as quick sand pools. Not afraid of a bit of mud, I carried on for an hour before things became too much and the cold mud started to seep into my soaks.

Was half expecting to take a tumble into the mud and its times like these that I don’t mind the extra weight of a complete change of clothes in my pack 🙂

Sleeping on Trains

If there’s one thing that’s a given with train travel, its that I will doze of at some point and wake up in the oddest places. The perfect route for me is the one where my stop is the last one, which makes living in end of the line Redditch a life saver 🙂

Losing the fight this week to maintain anything coming close to a normal sleep pattern, meant my day started just after 1am Saturday morning 🙂

Bulking up on brutal train coffee helps a lot and its saved me having to get a room when there’s no trains back from the places I end up now and then.

train coffee

Do It Yourself Coffee Kit 🙂

With all the walking around the gorge and the many hours spent checking out old haunts (along with a few drinks), it was a very long day. Getting the last train possible out of Bristol meant I was in need of caffeine or I’d snooze right through the train changes 🙂

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