For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

****************************

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Needle Sports, Black Diamond poles, and the Winster valley

Circumstances prevailed allowing me to explore the Winster valley on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week with Pete.

I use Black Diamond Explorer flicklock poles and the hardened tips are now non existent.



Needle Sports at Keswick are retailers for Black Diamond - they have an excellent website and tend to  stock bits and pieces as well as providing their own opinions on much of the gear. I have often bought from them over the years. I rate NS as an excellent outdoor shop with experienced outdoor enthusiast staff with good product knowledge and reliable advice. 

Wednesday saw us off to Keswick where I learned the only solution was to replace the whole bottom section of the pole at £25 each, so I  decided to carry on until disintegration forces pole replacement. The new and improved equivalent Black Diamonds are approximately £70 per pair. I would not have any other poles - they are sturdier than their competitors having been designed to double up as a ski pole, and the flicklock system has never collapsed on me. In my opinion the Leki type twistlock system is a design disaster. If the pole sticks in soft ground behind you the natural action is to twist as you pull to retrieve, thereby untwisting the locking mechanism. I fell onto a Leki pole in the snow descending Creag Meagaidh several years ago, and the one thing I can tell you is, that even allowing for the annoyance, they do make a very satisfying cracking sound when they break.

After our trip through The Lakes and back Winster valley walking was reduced to only a couple of miles, but we continued again on Thursday and Friday reaching Winster village before returning to the car.
For anybody with ambitions to live the quiet country life on the edges of The Lake District the Winster valley would be well worth considering.
A good bit of Lake District slate walling


Whitbarrow ridge - a special location I have enthused about before


The unpleasantly named Cowmire Hall - home of Damson Gin.
Unusual three storey house for this region

Bowland Bridge...

...and our River Winster looking upstream from the bridge

Unusual gate hinge through a hole in the stone


Fortunately there was a footbridge to the left.
 There is an interesting Geocache here which can involve getting the feet wet


We followed the instructions and it didn't work...

...then we found there were two levers and we had used the wrong one.
I don't cease to wonder at the ever increasing complexity of gate catches. This must have cost a lot to produce and it wasn't by any means easy to use.

Winster House with additions for holiday renting

Birket Houses - very secluded.
 I could not find much about it on the Internet, except that it is a listed building. I think it is split into several residences.

"No public right of way"
I don't think they need to worry about anybody trespassing into this gloomy brambly jungle

Grand Designs?

Friday, 23 August 2013

Grumbly Knee gets a shakeup

Thursday 22nd August 2013

Thursday walks with Pete have resumed. Yesterday we wandered in the fringes of The Lake District, often more rewarding than fighting to park, ascending constructed staircases or badly
eroded paths, and jostling past ever larger parties of senior citizen ramblers.

Witherslack, and the Winster valley lie within the national park and provide distant views of the Kentmere and Fairfield hills with constant reminders of the park's geology and flora.

The River Winster is modest in size relative to the expansive, flat bottomed valley it inhabits which must have housed an impressive glacier in the Ice Age. Further walks north and south of this middle section will hopefully follow.

My other half, Grumpy Knee, has never been silent since his operation. I have tried to refrain from reporting about him recently for fear of GK getting delusions of grandeur,  so I tried to "walk through" his grumblings with my recent exploits, but I am afraid to say he is still an unwelcome companion. This year GK has been kowtowed to with flat river and canal trips, and yesterday's walk  was deliberately mainly on Tarmac and decent paths. We only saw seven cars throughout, and nobody else walking.

Anyway, GK was recently summoned for his "annual" check-up (from a year last May), and visited a new consultant surgeon last Friday, who turned out to be a very practical, broad speaking guy who I imagined would have pragmatic, lateral thinking solutions to any physical problems - the sort of chap you would be thankful to be stranded with on a desert island. A bone scan, x-ray, and blood test have been ordered and GK now has another appointment on 6th September. I think GK is a bit frightened of this potential taskmaster.




The wide, broad bottomed Winster valley

River Winster - sparkling clear water

Tributary tumbling down from the steeper western valley side

Distant views of Kentmere and Fairfield hills

We popped in for a look at Witherslack church - plain and simple

----------------------------------

A good idea spotted on another walk a few weeks ago

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Severn Way and Monmouth and Brecon Canal slideshow

Here is the slideshow for my recent Severn Way and the Monmouth and Brecon Canal walks.

I said in a post that I may tell the story of the Severn Bridge disaster but it is neatly summarised on a photo of a panel. What struck me about that story was that it happened in 1960, well within my memory span, and I had never heard about it before. What a story - talk about things going from bad to worse.



Click for slideshow, then click on first picture to watch fullscreen

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal - day 2

Goytre Wharf to The Coach snd Horses Inn, Llangynidr, Sunday 11th August

This canal is approximately 45 miles long so it divides into 3 x 15 miles which is more than the 12 mile target I am setting myself at the moment. You can't just stop for the night when you have walked your daily target, so mileages get messed about which found me walking about 17 miles today, and tomorrow to finish in Brecon is about 11 miles. The plus is that I am now fitter after nearly two weeks walking to have tackled some of these longer mileages. You youngsters who read this stuff will one day come to reassessing your realistic daily mileages . It is sobering to find when you think you are walking fairly quickly you are consistently being passed by local dog walkers.

Welshpaddler enlightened me about the jazz festival in Brecon so I expected the worst at The Coach and Horses at Llangynidr and they were full, but in line with my Welsh experiences they took the trouble to phone a nearby b an b and another inn which were both full, but they then let me camp at the pub.

I am now eating and drinking well at The Coach and Horses and they had no problem finding me a table with a plug point to charge up the millstones round my neck




Sent from my millstone
Sent from my iPad

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal - day 3

The Coach and Horses Inn (Llangynidr) to Brecon - Monday 12th August

Camping at a pub has one drawback. In the morning I, like most people, have lavatorial requirements,, and this morning was no exception. My brother and wife live in Hereford and I had arranged to travel there by the 1:25 pm bus from Brecon so I wanted an early start to cover the ten or so miles without having a panic situation with the bus.

Pub camping also entails setting off without breakfast, which others seem to cope with, but not me, so I have to grin and bear it. I trudged up the canal hungry and wrestling with the lavatorial problem which I knew would require unpleasant compromise to resolve.

Five hundred yards up the canal there was a lock with keeper's cottage and adjacent buildings... could there be a PC? Yes, but it was locked, and for use of canal boaters only. I then remembered buying a British Waterways key at a marina miles away on The Cheshire Ring Canal walk several weeks ago. With characteristic pessimism I said to myself there's no way this will work. I scrabbled in the depths of my waist bag, and wow, I was in! These facilities are spacious and comprehensively equipped with a w.c., shower, hot water, and pristinely maintained, but they are few and far between, so the chance of finding such when in desperate need is remote.

That key cost £7, and I reckon it's the best money I have spent for a long time.

The final ten miles are attractive with the canal elevated above the country to the right, and hills above on the left, largely lined with trees permitting early morning light to dapple through onto the water, and giving window pictures of the Brecon hills and the lush blueish green Welsh countryside, and I was taken back to warm memories of my walk round the Welsh border and a caravan holiday at Brecon with daughter, High Horse, and Springer Spaniel, Jake several years ago.

Although the walking was pleasurable I knew for certain I would be able to get a bacon butty and tea in Brecon, and that occupied my thoughts most of the way. After four and a half hours I was there by 11:30 am at bridge number 167 and hunger was satiated.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Monmouthshire Brecon Canal - day 1

Newport to Goytre Wharf

The only place in Newport to stay was the Travelodge, but it was full. I settled for The Queens across the road which is part o Weatherspoons. The room was ok but there was some kind of extraction fan machinery outside on the roof which made a continuous humming noise all the time I was there.

I went into the so called restaurant and took one look and walked out. It was full of Friday night undesirables, especially guys in their late forties pretending to be young swingers wearing silly clothes with dyed hair, pony tails and jewellery. I wandered round the town for half an hour and things were hotting up, and everywhere else was even worse then the Weatherspoons, so I had no option but to return there.

I reckoned fish and chips was the item they could do least damage to, but they had run out of fish. I had lasagne and was nearly sick, not particularly because of the food, but mainly the environment and mindless people in a huge multi table setting accompanied by lots of hysterical noise. So much for Newport, and I am a big fan of the Welsh.

I was off to a good start. Tesco Express open at 6:00. I was there about 7:00 to buy breakfast which I ate three quarters of an hour later after tracking down the elusive start to the canal and finding an old bridge in a pleasant environment contrasting with deprived Newport centre.

The canal is largely overgrown and not navigable for a long way but paths are good and the scenery pleasingly Welsh - it was like coming back home.

I had previously identified an Italian restaurant, Canale, at Goytre Wharf and spoken on the phone. Proprietor Rocco had said I could camp there. I had a great welcome and a perfect pitch. The restaurant/café serves the many day trippers who come to thi beauty spot. Rocco agreed to serve me a meal after he closed down. I understand he cooked a special, genuine Italian Pasta Napoli with chicken, proscutio, and mozzarella. A large glass of Montepulciano accompanied. I chatted with Rocco who had a restaurant for twenty two years then retired and bought this place which includes a cottage where he lives. This was the best stopover for a long time.
Sent from my iPhone

Friday, 9 August 2013

Fwd: Severn Way - day 12



Sent from my iPad

Begin forwarded message:

From: Conrad Robinson <conrob@icloud.com>
Date: 9 August 2013 17:51:12 BST
To: Conrad Robinson <conrob@me.com>
Subject: Severn Way - day 12 - Friday 9th August

Oldbury-on-Severn to Bristol

An early start and sight of the Severn bridge across to Chepstow gave me Bristol in my sights, albeit with a bit of cheating.

At the bridge I could not see signs for the SW and assumed the path went underneath, although later inspection of the map shows the route I couldn't find. I was faced with a scramble up red clay banking to gain a concrete abutment with galvanised tubular railings and a zig zag metal and concrete staircase with an interesting traverse near the top. There were "do not enter" notices, and some of the fencing was over eight feet high, but I found my way round those. This was all most entertaining, my very own via-ferrata, or via-galvanica?

As I clambered over the last forbidden, locked gate there was a small maintenance service van parked in the service road, and I thought they were waiting for me. They had not been alerted, but realised what I had done and expressed disapproval, but became quite pally after a bit of chat giving me info about my route ahead; one of them had done The Coast to Coast (W's I think, not Pacific to Atlantic).

Now then, I never set out to walk the whole of the SW, having started at Shrewsbury and not in the remote Welsh Hills.

At Andrew's Road Station the SW leaves the Severn, which by now is really the Bristol Channel, and wanders inland through suburbia and then back to the Avon Gorge, then another meander through townscape to finish in the centre of Bristol. I did want to walk through the Avon Gorge, but not through all that built up stuff. I found that after four hours walking I could catch the 12:00 train one station before Andrew's Road at Severn Beach, and get off at Sea Mills and walk through the gorge to the Clifton Suspension Bridge. That all worked fine - I even saw some rock climbers.

A hard ascent from the Avon to Clifton and a trog through town got me to Clifton Station where I caught a train to Temple Meads station Bristol, where nobody asked for payment. I then continued by train to Newport is S. Wales where I am now booked in. I intend to walk the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal over the next three days, so if you are reading this Bob (Welshpaddler) and want to get together email me at conrob@me.com and I will send you my phone number.

I had this Plan B in mind from the start but was not sure if it would work out. I have to be back home for the "annual check up" on my knee by the specialist by Thursday 15th - the op was actually done last May - good old NHS.

Sent from my iPad which is not close to my heart because I keep it in the right hand pocket of my walking shirt.

Severn Way - day 11

Shepherd's Rest (Slimbridge) to Oldbury -on-Severn. Thursday 8th August

The Tudor Inn last night can cover for 150 and has won many best pub awards, which doesn't necessarily mean much. There are various rooms and conservatories where one can eat, and when I asked if I could have a table with a plug point to charge my two oblong flat things the girl was helpful and I ended up in The Barn (just another room) on my own with peace and quiet, or so I thought.

In the main bar some way from me a lot of hysterical, and silly, louder and louder, laughter was coming in response to anything said by anybody in the party, surely everything couldn't have been that funny. It was like that Blackpool slot machine with the laughing policeman multiplied several times but at a much higher pitch. I went through to get another beer (Hule bitter, a well rounded traditional ale from a very local brewery), and discovered that all the noise was coming from a group of about six lads and lasses in their twenties from Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, all with their logoed, cotton polo shirts and fawn shorts. Goodness knows what Peter Scott would have thought of it.

The service here was fast and well done with food at a good standard and there was no pressure to hurry. You just order each course as and when you want it. I had a glimpse into the kitchen - it was massive and something like the engine room of The Ark Royal. There was no messing about here - they were efficiently geared up to produce a high volume of orders quickly.

The Way continued down the Sharpness Gloucester Canal. When you see the speed the tide runs at you can appreciate the need for the canal if you want Gloucester to be a port. I saw no boats coming upstream to Sharpness - I reckon the Severn must be very tricky to navigate. Where I am now it is massive, more than four kilometres across. On the canal there is the site of a dreadful bridge disaster, but I can't recall all the details, but hope do a separate post when I get back home.

I am now booked in to a b tand b in Oldbury-on-Severn and am looking forward to good eating at the acclaimed Anchor Inn.

Later:

5 x king prawns crispy battered, with Chinese cucumber, two dips chilli and chilli and plum , two home baked breads to mop up with.

Smoked haddock salmon prawn eggs fish pie, rosti potato

Conversation in pub. Two guys just like two Ronnies, the talker knowledge box, and the credulous listener. Many others hilariously so close to two Ronnies party speak.

Good local ale. Butcombe brewery, estd. 1978. A first class pub.

Eve Maloney, B and B in the village was great considering she had just returned from hols. In Maine and was really suffering from jet lag.

Butcombe brewery (1978)

Sent from my larger oblong flat thing.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Severn Way - day 10

Upper Framilode to Shepherd's Patch (Slimbridge)

I keep remembering things I meant to include on previous posts.

A couple of days ago I saw a Kingfisher, or rather a blur of colour as it went low up a tributary river then disappeared in the banking. I waited several minutes with camera poised but no luck.

Yesterday on returning to visible Severn after a diversion I thought I was walking the wrong way. The flow was going to where I had come from - the tide of course.

Last night at The Ship I had a novel strawberry and Stilton salad as a starter which worked well. Chicken breast with strips of thick cut bacon and cheese with carefully prepared chunky chips made a good main course. The Ship is family run and friendly, a bit different, and a menu with alternatives to the standard list everybody knows by heart. Certainly worth a visit.

A comfortable walk today saw me at the large caravan and camping site here attached to the Tudor Inn. The last 4km of the walk was down the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal - it was like coming home. At first I called at the canalside Black Shed café which looks like something left over from WW 2, where service was a bit abrupt.

I pitched the tent but it was too hot to sit inside, so I am sat in the pub typing this while ominous clouds threaten outside - it is very close.

Research for tomorrow looks like I will land at Oldbury-on-Severn where there is a pub, but I don't think it does accommodation and I haven't been able to find anything else so it looks like a bit of improvisation will be needed.
Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Severn Way - day 9

Gloucester to Upper Framilode - Tuesday 6th August

The Severn takes a big loop to the west from Gloucester but after yesterday's experience of local path maintenance I walked on roads out of the city to Hempsted and the road end. The SW path from here was again a nightmare jungle and I took another alternative walking down the Gloucester and Sharpness canal ON A WELL FOUND towpath, then to Stonebeach by road. From here after a three hundred yard jungle thrash I was back on easy ground. That jungle could have been avoided by continuing on the road to Weir Green.

Walking for the rest of the day on the raised bank was easy and enjoyable with much improved weather. Once again I met nobody walking on the SW all day, but I did have two exciting encounters.

Entering a large field a herd of about ten young bullocks were already looking frisky. When they saw me they immediately registered their terror by running amok. They all scattered, desperate to escape, some leaping and breaking a fence into the next field, and one that just burst it's way through a barbed wire fence, who needs wire cutters, just get yourself a well trained young bullock. In the next field was a large herd of cows, perhaps forty. Terrorised by the young bullocks it was Way out West stuff with a full stampede all heading off into the distance of the very large field. Whether anybody headed them off at the pass I will never know. Next I saw the rather pretty young farmer's wife emerging from the farm, and I reckoned I was due for a telling off, but it turned out they were her neighbour's cows and she is fed up of them breaking bounds and upsetting her peaceful herd. She said I had done everything right as she watched me trying to be as unintimidating as possible by diverting my route and taking a wide berth, but all to no avail. We had some further pleasant chat and I was on my way.

Approaching a stile into a field entering Epney there were two large, thoroughbred racing type horses, and they like the bullocks were all frisky, must be something in the air. They wouldn't budge as I climbed the stile, but I shooed them off, and it was like the start of the Grand National. They set off galloping down the raised narrow banking, fence on the left and shrubbery on the right. They covered the two hundred yards to the next stile in seconds, and then turned coming straight back at me at full gallop - my god, the noise, power and size of these beasts was frightening. As I covered that two hundred yards the horses repeated their racecourse three times - was I glad to be over that next stile.

The Anchor Inn at Epney was not particularly welcoming and they charged me £3 for a pint of orange and lemonade - that is now a record.

Just the opposite another half kilometre down the road at The Ship Inn where I am now booked in with a good welcome and a spacious double room. This is becoming a real luxury trip with hotels and b and bs, and a bit expensive, but I think I've got to the age where I am less inclined to live the hard life, and the walking is hard enough with this knee which continues to bother in varying degrees all the time.

Tomorrow I will end up only about 6 kilometres from where I am now in a straight line, but I have to take in a 12 kilometre loop on the river.

All goes well: tech fully charged, clothes washed, sun shining, and I'm well fed and watered, looking forward to tomorrow.
Sent from my iPad

Monday, 5 August 2013

Severn Way - day 8

Tewkesbury to Glocester - Monday 5th August

I watched the Countryfile forecast last night.

This morning I had all wets at the ready, made special arrangements to protect my tech from water ingress, and psyched myself up to walking a whole day in non stop rain.

It wasn't raining when I set off at 7:45.

Easy, flat field walking lasted until 2:00 pm then the downpour came, and at the same time still on the  SW I entered the worst section of footpath I can ever remember. ( I have just lost the rest of this post which was complete - DAMN DAMN DAMN!)

Here we go again.

At Walham a public footpath linking to the SW had been blocked with barbed wire, and I diverted on a private lane only to be accosted by the lady owner who permitted me to walk through to the SW. For about a kilometre from Walham north of Gloucester to near the city centre the footpath was TOTALLY overgrown. A plant similar to hogweed dominated at anything up to eight feet, interspersed with convolvulus, brambles and others I couldn't name. Nettles were over head height, and in the end I  just waded through them despite only wearing shorts. This is a major UK long distance footpath, and so close to the city centre this is a disgrace for Gloucester Council. I will be writing to them.

I arrived at Gloucester TIO, in the still pouring rain, dripping, bedraggled and with blood streaked legs burning all over from nettle stings, and tried to persuade them I was a suitable candidate for someone offering a bed for the nigh. The lucky winner was The New County.

Today I walked for over six hours on this national long distance path and met nobody, neither was there any place for refreshment on the route apart from three pubs which were all closed. I think that
would be unlikely on a dreish day in The Highlands. The pattern has been similar during the eight days so far - quite lonely walking.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Jungle

I wanted to put this pic on the last post, and have now made use of the hotel's free WI-fi which has made things a bit easier.

It is worth clicking to enlarge to see a typical example of some of the stuff I have had to battle through.




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Severn Way - day 7

Upton-on-Severn to Tewksbury - Sunday 5th August

Today I am a wimp.

From Upton I walked on easy going field paths for an hour. As on every day there was a testing section of more than head high jungle well laced with nettles, and then the rain, and then more flat boring fields with jungle to the left preventing views of the river. After a total of four hours walking, three of which in fairly heavy rain, I arrived Tewksbury and installed my dripping self into a café.

I was aiming for a non-accommodation pub with campsite another eight kilometres away out in the middle of nowhere. Locals told me the rain was forecast to continue heavy for the rest of the day. I felt indecisive and guilty at the thought of packing it in for the day, but I was not relishing pitching the tent in the rain. The Tourist Info. Is always closed on Sunday, and I was not getting enough signal to research on the Internet for accommodation alternatives. I prized myself out of the café and set off  without having made any decision. It was only 12:30. I came across The Bell Inn, entered, bartered them down by £10 on their opening offer for a double beded room and here I am  with a bath in the en-suite that I have taken advantage of. Now, as I look out of the window at 3:15 it has stopped raining, and I am even more overwhelmed with guilt.

I have really got my teeth into this walk and am ambitious to see it through to Bristol, but today's performance is just not good enough.

I have now been walking for seven days and have hardly, at any time, had a decent Vodafone signal despite being in sizeable towns and cities like Stourport and Worcester, and here in the centre of Tewksbury, but I can't even send an email. goodness knows when I will be able to post this write up. I reckon V are getting money under false pretences.





Saturday, 3 August 2013

Severn Way - day 6. Worcester to Upton-on-Severn

Saturday 3rd August

I was told at The Farriers where I stayed that a nearby café would be open at 7:30am. When I went out to dine I looked at the door and it didn't open until 8:30 - I was booked at The Farriers without breakfast.

The recommended Talbot was mediocre with poor service, and ONCE AGAIN, loud music.

At home, and almost everywhere, at night, I hear that wretched repetitive cooing of the pigeons or their near relations. In my room at The Farriers this was replaced with endless seagull squawking.

At 7:15 am I was asking the bin men if there was a café open. They told me of one that opened at 7:45, but slightly in the wrong direction. Off I went, and at 7:40 the lady told me she could serve nothing until 8:00. A nearby ambulance driver told me about a Texaco station a kilometre down my route with a bit of doubling back - all that took a lot of faffing, but I needed breakfast and liquid to carry.

Enjoyable walking followed with one five hundred yard exception of total jungle considerably taller than me and completely overgrown - this was without doubt still part of the SW, and apparently in situ to avoid a crop field close to the river. Further on the path doubled back on itself for half a mile to avoid another crop field which was irritating, but i suppose you can't perfect a whole route like this without some refusal for permissive paths. There were no places of refreshment for the whole day, but I had biscuits, almond slices and Fanta.

A noticeable feature today, and yesterday, was that almost everybody encountered averted eyes and failed to pass a greeting. Overall I reckon ninety percent of people, out in the country, over many years experience say hello - strange?

The Tourist Info office at Upton-on-Severn was open! It does close on Thursdays. Upton is a one hundred percent foreign tourist, English history attraction, as well as being an active boating centre. The TIO's fist attempt sent me to The Star Hotel where a huge base-beat speaker on the pavement was blaring out rap, with an attendant crowd of drunken, low life, twenty odd year olds smooching, screaming and shouting, and being generally vulgar. I turned and went back to the TIO.

I am now booked into a quiet and peaceful b and b at the other end of the high street, and close to The White Lion, " where the locals go when they want to eat out".

Despite all my moans, which are the items which create interest for readers I am enjoying this trip.

Sent from my iPad

Friday, 2 August 2013

Day 4 - Hampton Loade to Stourport on Severn

Thursday 1st August

This is a reconstruction of Day 4 post lost in the ether, and you will see from its length why I was so cross.

I had to walk on the wrong side of the river as far as the new bridge near Highley, the old one having serviced the coal mining of yesteryear. I met a local guy walking his dog and he told me the whole history and some, and then pointed out the astounding level the river reached in last year's floods. The river must have been more than fifty feet deep in places.

Before Arley I met a serious day walker who was training to do the West Highland Way, and he had done a number of other long distance walks including The Dalesway. We had a good chat. He told me about the tea room at Arley a couple of kilometres down the path, so my walking became more purposeful. As I write this the walker (Keith) has now put a comment on my latest post.

Good news and bad news at Arley tea shop. Yes they did bacon butties, but the lady who makes them would not be there for another ten minutes; anyway it was worth the wait.

I had been feeling some pain in my little toe so removed footwear and found my sock covered in blood from an incising toenail. Elastoplast, scissors and much dexterity were needed for the surgical operation, creating unexpected interest for onlookers at other outside tables.

Two miles from Bewdley SW signs disappeared in a shanty town park and I hailed a guy with a Springer Spaniel and he showed me the hundred yard link on the road. We ended up walking together to Bewdley. I had a Springer for sixteen years and it was a joy to watch this three year old enjoying every moment - his tail never stopped wagging. My new found friend had worked on theme parks all over the world and we had lively conversation all the way. Bewdley has attractive riverside frontage with decent pubs and cafés and I sat in intense sunshine with a pint of orange and lemonade.

The remaining few kilometres to Stourport-on-Severn were excruciating with heat, and I who is normally frugal with drinks ON WALKS had to stop three times and rest and take on liquid which thankfully I as carrying.

Stourport is awful - a huge fairground amusement park, littered streets, lots of noise, and rather similar to Blackpool. The postman identified the only three b and bs. The first was full, and she told me the lady at the second had gone on holiday, so I trudged in the heat to the third, Oakleigh House, a grand old early Victorian house in its own grounds. I knocked with the large iron knocker with no response, then tried another door with a bell, and nothing again. I sat despondently on a wall when, tout-à-coup, the proprietor appeared from round a corner,and there was a vacancy. The house had grand high ceilinged rooms with elegant furniture in scale and many interesting paintings.

I ate at Ad Gustum, a splendid little town centre restaurant run by a young Polish guy, who was sadly underpricing which makes it unlikely he will survive. I had a black pudding and and new potato starter fixed with an interesting finely chopped salad. A chicken stroganoff main course followed, and then a well presented banana custard with crushed biscuits. All that was accompanied with four small Heinekin bottles, i.e. two pints, and the bill was only £23. I recommend this place if you are there. There isn't much else in Stourport, so I can't recommend going there, but you may be forced to for some reason one day.

Sent from my iPad

Severn Way - lost post

Thanks to Welshpaddler I now realise I have lost an entire post for day 4. I wrote it up in BlogPress and received a successful notification of its posting.

I am so so annoyed.

I will try to recreate it, but I do not have the kind of memory to recall it verbatim but I will give it a try.

I hate BlogPress. Will go back to email in future.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Severn Way - day 5

Stourport on Severn to Worcester
Friday 2nd August.

Downstream from Stourport the river is seriously navigable so the character changes, with regular
passage of pleasure boats, especially canal narrow boats. Going downstream they are much faster than I walk, whereas on the canals I am usually faster.

Walking has been on good paths today with much variation. The pub at Holt Fleet where I crossed again to the west side was closed, and I was hailed at by the landlord from a balcony on high to tell me so - he seemed quite pleased about it.

The SW diverts from the river for three kilometres wandering through a large camp site come industrial estate. I illegally availed myself of the campsite toilet. At the far end a little café servicing the industrial estate appeared - it was like finding the sixpence in the Christmas pudding - tea x 2 and a muffin, and a cheery youngish proprietor who was impressed with my venture and gave me a banana for later (here we go again Gayle).

Shortly after that the path had been diverted within a huge area of gravel handling, earthmoving and general destruction of the countryside, and I lost my way a little. The GPS showed me right in the middle of an unusually large white space on the OS map, like the cherry on a Bakewell Tart. Fortunately I could see a distant church which was on the SW and crossed the large field to put me back on course.

Another pub turned up south of Bevere Lock (yes they have locks on the river). There were people at tables outside but something seemed not right. I got down the corridor in the pub, everything was tatty and there was a lot of coarse noise from the bar area and I turned and departed, then to find out there was a scruffy caravan and camping site attached. I think that was one of the best decisions I have made for a while.

Worcester was busy but a much more sophisticated place than Stourport. For once the Tourist Info Office was open and did its job. I am booked into The Farriers in the centre of town and hope to go and look at the cathedral before eating. A most enjoyable day.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Severn Way - day 3

Coalport to Hampton Loade - Wednesday 31st July

At Coalport YHA last night I shared a room with a young BT Openreach engineer who had learnt his trade with the Army signals. He was actually working so BT didn't seem to be generous with accommodation allowance. He had a 600 cc motor bike and surfed and backpacked so he was quite good company.

The Cumberland sausage, mash and peas at the YHA was unremarkable but at £12.50 for two courses and a very good coffee it was value for money, and I was able to have a full breakfast at 7.30.

It has rained non stop all day. A large part of the route to Bridgnorth followed a disused railway (National Cycle Route 45) running parallel to the Severn Way alongside the river. I tried to do the right thing for a while on the river path but it was ghastly with wet overhanging grass and branches above providing a shower every thirty seconds better than Mira, so I fought my way up a crop field boundary back onto the track. In the eight kilometres and the two and a half hours or so I was on this track I didn't see one cyclist and no walkers, only about three cars.

I landed at Bridgnorth at 12.00 and seriously thought of getting a B and B. My brother did his National Service here i think and I had a grey mental picture, but it seems bright, full of history and surprisingly touristy. After regrouping in a café I phoned the Railway and River pub at Hampton Loade and was told they had an en-suite room in a cottage for £40 within 5 minutes walk of the pub.

Walking from Bridgnorth was much as I had imagined the Severn Way... for a while. Good paths through open pastures mixed with short stretches of woodland were pleasant with the now large and powerful Severn on the left. Then I came to the largest field of wheat I have ever seen in this country, and welcomed the twenty foot wide margin left for walkers, but after about half a mile if was back to the overgrown strip with grass and foliage at more than waist height, and although going underfoot was better than might have been expected I was wet through on my lower half just wearing shorts. My Marmot waterproof jacket has done an excellent job today.

The pub was on the wrong side of the river but accessed illegally by a waterworks bridge involving climbing two sturdy steel gates.

From appearances the pub looked fine with a decent friendly atmosphere inside, but...

The elderly landlord offered to drive me to the cottage. His car was a tip inside so I wondered if that was an omen for the rest of his organisation. The windowless room had that familiar, unused, damp smell and everything looked as though it had come from an inferior second hand shop. The fan in the bathroom reminded me of the motor bike noise we used to achieve on our bikes by fixing a piece of cardboard to interfere with the wheel spokes - ah well it's better than the tent in this pouring rain. I'm off on the trek to the pub now - see how long it takes - I think it may have stopped raining. More to follow.

It did only take five minutes.

Fishcake starter with above average salad - lots of red onion, then baked ham with two eggs, chips and peas, ordinary but properly done and good portions,with friendly service and a couple of pints of Crooked Spire - 3.6%.

No rain on the walk back. Forecast for tomorrow - hot.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone