Thursday, 29 April 2010

Day 12 Berkeley to Norton

Well, I thought by now most of you have forgotten what I looked like, and were wondering how the miles and beating sun had affected me, well that's what today's photo is all about. I had actually taken 5 and this was the best, so any distasteful comments tomorrow, then the worst one appears. You have been warned! You could have had a nice picture of Gloucester Cathedral instead, but I know your all missing me. Today's 36.5km was on the alternative off road route, which had me swing away from the A38 to Slimbridge, the site of the bird place and pick up the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, which delivered me into the centre of Gloucester. The area was rich in wildlife, and not for the first time, as I passed some creature in the neighbouring hedgerow, did it decide to take flight and in doing so, make me jump out of my skin. After only a short distance on the canal, I was stop by a woman in a barge, would seeing my rucksack and the immense effort I was putting into carrying it, asked me about my destination. What was I to say, Norton, tonight's accommodation or JOHN O'GROATS, proudly I said the later, you don't really have to many opportunities to do so. To this the woman said 'another one'. Deflated, I enquired what she meant. She informed two days ago Steve has passed, followed yesterday by Andy and his dog, collecting for kids in Gambia. Both walkers who have blogs that I myself have been following. When she heard i was collecting for diabetes, she donated a pound, as her husband is diabetic. Off I went on my way following in the footsteps and paw steps of three fellow adventurers. Up until yesterday, no en route donations had been forthcoming, even thought I have talk to a number of people. But the donation from the barge woman, followed on from the owner of last nights B&B, who donated 10 pounds. Whilst on the subject of last nights accommodation, an extra 2 miles was walked yesterday, to the pub for the evening meal and back. This was the longest walk for food yet and I hope will not be repeated too often. Tonight's is 100 metres, hurrah!!! Back to the canal, and it maybe just a consequence but the last time it rained was when I was on the canal walking to Taunton, and there it was again, rain. Can't grumble, ain't done bad with the weather. So out came the umbrella again. As the rain was coming straight down and not blown from the side, the umbrella prevent me from getting wet all day, as well as not having to put on waterproofs, which despite being Gore Tex and breathable, still would have been unbearable given the temperature. Also, would have looked a knob walking around Gloucester in waterproofs, the bright hi viz yellow rucksack rain cover was bad enough!!! So, as I am walking the canal through Kidderminster, upto Market Drayton, through Lancastershire and down the Great Glen, you have been warned when its going to rain next. The umbrella did have an additional advantage, today was my first big meeting with midges, our little biting friends. They all seem to accumulate at head height, so I pushed through them with brolly in front like a big midge dispersing sail, seem to work. As you are aware, my MP3 player became detached earlier this week, this at a time when the opportunity for listening to music has increased. The back lanes of Cornwall and Devon never lent themselves to having earphones in. But, the pathed A38 and today's canal begs for music to be played, with infinite opportunities for a 'karaoke',(well how do you spell it, its not in the spell check). To achieve this with the lose of the MP3, I have called on the services of my phone, with its 100 or so song, not the 1600 on the mp3. This did give a problem last night where the battery on my phone was exhausted 1 mile short of the walks completion. I suddenly realised that if the B&B was not easy to find, then a quick call from the phone was not possible. Panic was calmed by a large "Pickwick Farm" sign coming into view, right where it meant to be. Today's music was managed with strict battery discipline. Not that it was necessary. The accommodation was extremely difficult to find tonight, the "crystal maze" was easier to complete. The telephone went un answered, my heart rate quickened with thoughts of wild camping without the camp, suppose that's just called wild... or find the nearest bus shelter, its gonna be a cold, wet, lonely, isolated, you get the gist. But this did not phase this explorer, that this trek had turned this normally mild mannered person into. (This explorer now coming with the developing apprentice 'explorer's beard' - a must)


  1. Interesting day Russ! Love the photo,so handsome, tanned and healthy, please a picture of Worcester Cathedral, every day seem such an adventure- multitude of midges, herds of elephants,(upstairs) cows and dogs WHAT NEXT????? Enjoy tomorrow. Love Pa & Ma

  2. Russ, You'll need a much bigger brolly than that to protect you from 4 buckets of water lobbed out of a Range Rover!
    - Gaydon Posse

  3. Russ,

    Don't worry about looking a knob in your Hi-vis – You look like a knob without it.

    Gaydon Posse

  4. I thought that last comment from 'the Birmingham Bowling Ball' wast most uncalled for. I shall be offering him outside for fisticuffs (after elevenses).
    PS, He and Mr. Potato Head broke one of your beloved T5's yesterday!
    Mally G, Gaydon Posse.

  5. Russ,

    I'll give Harry Hill a slap round the head when I see him at work on Tuesday.....Then I'll drag him outside, pull ot his toe nails and set fire to him!


  6. Russ,
    Keep up the great effort. Ray has not been himself since you left the office and the quality of his work has significantly deteriorated. Please hurry back.

  7. Hi Knob :-)
    Best blog post to date. But please ditch the brolley. You'll give us rough, tough walkers a bad reputation.... he he

  8. Ey up Russ,
    I don`t recall Wainwright with a brolley ? You`re getting close to Gods country (Stoke-on-Trent), obviously you`ll notice the air is distinctly fresher, the grass greener, etc. etc. You may hear the roar from the Brittania Stadium after 3 pm tomorrow (when Everton score !)I only found your website today - I`m impressed ! You`ve obviously got too much time on your hands at work !! Anyway keep up the good work Russ. Stokeybloke