Day 1 Frome to Shepton Mallet

Should have been approximatey 13.5 miles…we did about 14.5 including detours!

Frome (pronounced to rhyme with broom!) is a pretty little town with lots of independent stores, historical buildings…and lots of hills!

We started our day seeking out the start point for the Mendip Way which conveniently has a cafe (Cheese & Grain) where we could buy sandwiches for our lunch.

After a false start of walking round in circles in Frome trying to follow little blue arrows, we headed into the countryside & had pleasant days walking!

This part of the route was largely wooded valleys which worked out well as we could avoid the light showers under the trees!

The area has an industrial heritage. As well as disused quarries there is a large working quarry at Whatley which had dusted the foliage on that part of our walk with limestone! We also saw a long freight train. Fortunately, the rest of the route was quieter & we didn’t even see many people.

We are regretting our lack of preparation & not listening to our own advice in that regard! Tonight we are relaxing by the open fire at a quirky place called the Dusthole in Shepton Mallet, nursing our achey limbs & bag sores!!

We are proud of ourselves for walking pretty much the entire width of OS map 142. But looking forward to a shorter day tomorrow!

R & L

Our trusty jetboil providing us a tea break before our descent into Shepton Mallet in the valley ahead. The view would have been spectacular if it wasn’t disguised in the clouds.

All packed & ready to go

We finally decided what to take & we’re pleased we could still lift our bags – whether we can walk with them, is yet to be discovered!

We always get asked how heavy they are – we reckon about 13kg. Not quite sure how we can need so many things!

Very important is to not risk running out of snacks! You can read about what we think make the best backpacking snacks here.

cup a soups & crackers for emergency lunches
snacks decanted into little clear resealable bags

After a good nights sleep at the Cornerhouse Inn in Frome, we are about to embark in the first section of the Mendips Way. Our feet are prepped – wrapped in animal wool and leuco tape. Just fuelling ourselves for the day ahead with a cooked breakfast!

R & L

Betty’s kitchen

Firstly, who is Betty?! She is my Skoda Yeti – and I love her because she is reliable and she has a decent sized boot. You can also take the back seats out, which is very handy to squeeze in lots of camping stuff!! But on our last trip she really excelled herself… and doubled as our kitchen!

An 84 litre ‘really useful’ box with some drawers from Ikea sitting inside formed our kitchen unit. I put a little peice of wood under the box to make sure that the drawers opened easily over the lip of the boot.

The top drawer had plates, bowls, mugs, goblets, kitchenfoil, the teapot and a collapsible kettle. I also stowed a hanging toiletry bag in there which I repurposed as an organiser for our cutlery and washing-up supplies. On arrival it hung from the Betty’s boot struts.

The bottom drawer was our food store. The square storage boxes you get from Lakeland fitted perfectly. We didn’t get round to labelling them, but the coloured lids allowed for a bit of colour-coding! Jars of spices etc also fitted nicely in there.

On top of the drawers I stowed my collapsible washing-up bowls – one for washing up (black) and one for our handwash station (grey). Our chopping boards also fitted there – we have a set of thin colour-coded ones from Robert Dyas, which we are very pleased with, plus a bamboo bread board. Down the side of the drawers, I stowed cleaning spray, salt & pepper pots and Henrietta, but at the campsite these things were in use and we used this space to store tins of food. (Spot the nice perch Henrietta found in the pictures above!)

Next to the ‘really useful’ box I put my outwell storage caddy with our pots & pans and other utensils.

It was very pleasing to set up the ‘demonstration’ table (we call it that because it’s height makes it look like you are giving a cooking demonstation to those sitting round the campfire!) at right angles to Betty. At it’s highest height the demonstration table (from lifetime) was tall enough to fit the big cool box (from iceytech) underneath and still be able to open the cool box.

Our stove (primus) sat on the table and meant we had a very practical cooking space. We had thought that the open boot would give a bit of shelter from the elements, but we didn’t get the opportunity to test that out as happily we were camping in a heatwave!

R

Look what we found!

Look what we found… a nice shady spot to camp in a heatwave! We had a lovely couple of nights at Pit Hill Farm – the campsite we stumbled across when walking the Wayfarers walk in Hampshire.

We kept things simple this time. We had a new simpler camp set up to try out (more about that next time!). We also tried out some new easy camping food called ‘Look what we found”!! Very easy to use and tastey too!

Very pleased with both our finds!

R & L

The glint of a teardrop!

In our last post we mentioned seeing the glint of the tops of campervans at Pit Hill Farm and going to explore. Not only did we find campsite but a friendly farmer who invited us to come and try out the site sometime.

We also found a friendly camper and proud owner of a beautiful new teardrop camper. I’d never seen anything quite like it, so I had to take some photos for you.

So compact and yet everything you need! And stylish with it.

We everso nearly went camping at Pit Hill recently, but a bout of COVID put a rain check on the plans. Hopefully we’ll try it out soon and of course we’ll let you know how we get on.

L