We needed a few days away. Currently we are setting up a new business, on training courses, working, working between work, training for various events and, with all that on our minds, sleep is fairly useless. We were out of sync.

Unfortunately, we are also short of moolah, which limits our options. We are not ones for gold plated service and all that “can I get you anything else, sir” but we do love a cracking location, good people, somewhere for me to run, somewhere for Tasha to do a bit of yoga and somewhere for Lily the lab to run free, wild and happy.

Welcome to the Rock Shack!

(https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/14839824?s=51)

A quick message to the fabulous owners, John and Jill, confirmed that Lily (she is a 6 month old, bubbly, randomly house trained puppy) was more than welcome. They have two dogs themselves, and their daughter, Alexis seemed extremely excited to meet Lily too.

We loaded up the car, unwisely choosing the convertible as the sun was peeking through. Romantic images of cruising down to Exmoor, sun in our eyes, wind in our hair and Lily hanging her head out the side like Bolt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRozjBQr06Y).

Mmmmmm …. yeah, that did not happen! 😀 It was a tad cold, windy and wet!

A really easy three and a half hour journey, from Milton Keynes to Torre and we arrived safe and sound. John & Jill had told us they would be out, but left relaxed instructions.

Walking up to the Rock Shack from your own private parking space is a short pretty little path through an arch of trees and bushes; magical as Tasha described and on to the little balcony of the Rock Shack.

Inside has been beautifully laid out and everything has been done by hand. It is warm, well equipped and so welcoming. John & Jill had left all the bits and bobs needed to have a Somerset cream tea with homemade jams. Sorted!

There is heating, electricity, hot running water, a kitchen area, a TV, wifi and a lovely little shower room. Everything and more than you will need.

Whilst chilling, the family arrived. The Kemps are so friendly, genuinely warm and welcoming people. Lily met their two dogs and that was that! They ran each other into the ground, slept, ate and ran each other into the ground …. Lily made herself totally at home including walking straight into their own home and “borrowing” a bone! Embarrassed! She seemed fine with it!

We lit our BBQ and settled in. Alexis joined us for a burger and, after a few beers the comfy bed was calling ….

I slept so well! No road noise, nothing …. just the peace of the countryside.

The next morning Tasha found the pillow had stuck to her head so I decided to take Lily for a walk over the hills. There are some lovely quick routes just around the Shack and the pretty village. There is no need to go further a field! The local pub sits on a bubbling brook, the hills surrounding you and a cider farm just around the corner!

Back to the Shack, running shoes on, a map lent to me and it was time to explore. I ran out to Watchet, along the Coastal Path to Dunster, around the castle and back through the deer park. I’ll keep the description quick but here is the route …. (https://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/3484902460/) …. it was gorgeous! Tough and the hills were mostly in the second half but it was worth it! There were so many routes to explore, I will definitely be going back! 

Whilst I had been out Tasha, had been chatting and a decision had been made that we were going to a Gong Bath in Minehead the next evening. Tasha had been doing her yoga in the garden and John told her of his experience and recommended it. I had never heard of this, and various images were conjured up! They were all wrong …. more on that in a bit!

In the afternoon, a trip to North Hill overlooking Minehead, led to a wonderful walk down the hill into Minehead and visit to a pub. The landlady was having her birthday, so cake and beer seemed perfectly normal! They also had a 7 month old Rotty pup, so that was Lily sorted! However, we then needed to head back up to the car …. Lily for the first time, was dragging behind. I picked her up and she almost fell asleep in my arms! back to the pub for Tasha and Lily whilst I romped up the hill luckily catching sight of the Exmoor ponies.

The next day we went to Kilve Beach, famous for being the Jurassic coast on the Bristol Channel. Grand limestone cliffs back the slate and shingle beach, with interesting rock formations sweeping the shoreline. There are impressive fossils dotted around, and plenty of rock pools to explore if you are looking for something to entertain the kids. Similarly, the ever-changing shapes and curves give plenty of material for keen photographers. Lily hopped, skipped and jumped across the stones to the sea and had a paddle whilst Tasha and I giggled all the way as we slipped, tripped and fell over the slightly muddy and slippy bits. On the way back we stopped in the beautiful Chantry Tea Gardens. Set up in the back of someones garden, you ring a bell and a lady appears from what I think was her own kitchen. We sat down in the sun, out of the wind and the Somerset Cream teas were brought to the table. The bushes all around the garden were full of birds, finches I think, who are quite happy coming up close if they think a bit of scone is available!

So back to Shack, ready for our trip to Minehead for the Gong Bath. For those of you, like me, who had never heard of this …. you are in a beautiful smelling room, lying down, with a pillow and a blanket. The “host” (I don’t know the correct term!), certainly in our case, was a lady with such a soft gentle manner and voice, I was almost away with the fairies before it all started! She had a number of gongs and instruments set up, told us what was going to happen and then asked all to lie down and relax …. then she starts playing.

It lasted for around 45 minutes! It was an amazing experience. If you fancy something very different, strangely relaxing yet, certainly for me, extremely empowering …. give it a whirl.

This was our final night and we still had not had fish and chips! The law had been broken! So we grabbed more than was needed, from a chippy in Watchet; they have to be from a seaside village, and headed back to our new home, the Rock Shack.

We had to return the next day. I personally could have stayed there longer …. 30/40 years perhaps! We had relaxed, spent time away from tech in immersed in nature, spent time to together, meet new and wonderful people and explored a stunning part of the world. The pace of life was perfect. We had spent very little, the Rock Shack is extremely good value, we took our own food and the only major cost was half a tank of fuel …. oh, and the Burger King in the service station on the way back! Oh, the horror!


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