Almost there! Nancy Powell-Brace has now reached Taunton on her fund-raising marathon walk from Cleopatra’s Needle to the Wellington Monument in just one week. Having built an extra day in her schedule in case she fell seriously behind on any day, she will now head for Wellington on Sunday 23 September and hopes as many people as possible will accompany her from the town centre to the Monument to celebrate a remarkable achievement – not least for the fact that Nancy is 59 and has covered 180+ miles on foot since last Friday. Here she reports on her penultimate day:
What a fabulous day!
It started with a lift to Bridgwater from my niece with whom I spent last night. I completely forgot to mention the hospitality of Clem and Rich. How rude! And then I had to wait for 15 minutes for BBC Somerset. Now, I am not being funny (which normally means one is being) but I managed to be on time after walking from London so how come they were late coming from Bristol – in a CAR?
Anyway, two teenagers turned up and I was finally able to get started. They stayed with me for about a mile I would guess. They made me wear an extremely UNFLATTERING head camera (something called a gopro???) and they interviewed and took lots of footage to create a 30 second social media item. They were very pleasant and polite – and their footwear was diverse. I would love to have got a photo of one pair of winklepickers worn to walk a tow path but I felt it might be rude!
In the meantime my friend Carolyn Eaton from Bristol had parked up along the way and was walking to meet me.
It was a beautiful day, filled with sunshine and the Bridgwater canal is absolutely stunning – by far the best scenery I have walked through in eight days and even more rewarding and touching as we are now in ‘my’ county. If you have never walked the canal I thoroughly recommend it. Such colours and beauty in the scenery!
I finally made my rendezvous with Carolyn and off we headed – at a pace and in a HOWLING wind. Seriously, the grass and hair and back pack and anything else that moved was horizontal! The wind was so strong at times that one or the other of us was in danger of being blown over (and to blow me over takes some doing, let me tell you!). But the countryside was extraordinary and – again – the colours!
Carolyn was just the best company I could have wished for on this day. We spent the whole 13 miles in high spirits and good humour. She did flag, I’m not going to lie. I think it’s so interesting what psychology can do. I am fatter and shorter that her and Carolyn is fit. I mean, that girl cycles, plays tennis etc, but I find my dogged bloody mindedness outlasts other things. That is not me being smug. It’s a fact and it’s a lesson that we can achieve things if we really put our minds to it.
Taunton was a LONG time coming! Perhaps because I thought it was 8 miles and in fact it was 13. Perhaps because we were walking into the ‘hoolie’ the whole way and it made going tough; perhaps because the hurricane wind was driving the rain at us so hard it actually stung! Whatever the reason and however long it seemed it was huge fun and I was so grateful to Carolyn for being there. It would have been a scary, wet and windy walk alone.
One benefit of the ‘changeable’ weather was that when we did get wet we were dry in seconds as the wind blew. It literally went from storm to sun in seconds. Did I mention the colours of the canal and the greenery?
We finally arrived in Taunton and were able to call upon the services of brother Nick and a local taxi firm to get us home – Carolyn in a taxi back to her car which she had left near Bridgwater and me to the bosom of my family once again.
I had always built in a day extra in the walk to be used as a day of rest if I needed it or a day to catch up if I fell behind on my self-imposed schedule. I needed neither. I stayed on schedule from day one, a fact of which I am very proud and I didn’t wish to take a day’s rest during the walk. I really felt that if I stopped in somewhere as delightful as Trowbridge or Shepton Mallet, I might not get going again. I would seize up and lose focus. So I decided some days ago to take tomorrow as my rest day. I have reached Taunton, I have one more day which is the final push to Wellington and then up to the Monument and I want to store up my last energies for that. So tonight I shall be staying with family near Taunton, have a day tomorrow to gather my thoughts and reflect on the fact that one week ago I started walking to Wellington from the centre of London and then, on Sunday, my sister is going to take me to Taunton and walk with me the final stretch.
I do hope many of you will manage to be at The iron Duke on Sunday at 11.00 a.m. I have had such support and such good will throughout this adventure I would really love to share the last leg with everyone. It is not over yet. That is one BIG hill to get to the Monument. But, what a blast!
Bizarrely there’s not a huge amount to report today – just a mishmash of information that may or may not amuse and entertain. You can always stop reading!
Firstly, my much-maligned walking poles! Maligned by myself. Noone else. I take full responsibility and eat oodles of humble pie. When I was given these poles by the National Trust via Emma Jones, I was rather scathing. I would rather have had a waterproof or a back pack!
Little did I know! Those poles have been my life-saver every single day and I bow down to them in awe and wonder. I think about the end of a marathon where you see the runners wobbling all over the road – well, that has been me on many occasions and it has only been my beloved poles that have kept me upright.
They also come in to their own when looking behind you over your shoulder whilst trying to walk forwards. In the general scheme of things this is easy. Second nature. We don’t even think about the fact that it needs thinking about! Trust me, after 113 miles you need poles to keep you upright whilst turning your head, never mind navigate kerbs and holes in the road.
I’ve used my beloved poles to the extent that the rubber bungs on the end have worn away and they now have a spike like skiing poles. One day, if I ever walk anywhere again (which I doubt) I shall have to scour the nation for replacement bungs. Now, there a sentence I never thought I’d write.
Another little thought from the road: singing songs to keep you moving doesn’t work. The reason it doesn’t work is because you can actually sing your motivating songs at any speed you goddam choose. I’m able to sing ‘eye of the Tiger’ VERY SLOWLY.
Last but not least, I did extra miles today! EXTRA MILES. It was a short run today heading south and, because it is so near the end of the trek, I was right on it. I saw a signpost to the Coastal Path. It was only a couple of extra miles to Bridgwater so I thought why not! So I made my way up on to the River Parret and walked alongside banks and banks of mud flats for two miles. I’m sure it is very pretty when the tide is in…
I’m nearly there. Just one more day of the long bit and then the final push on Sunday. It’s very strange. Now I am in familiar territory seeing family and friends. It seems surreal that one week ago I was on a train to London which was late and the next morning at 6.00am I was heading for Cleopatra’s Needle. The in-between bit seems like a dream. Yes, still a dream and not a nightmare.
I don’t feel I have to do anything else now. I probably will, but I don’t have to. Well, to be frank I didn’t have to do this, did I? But you know what? Even now I still have utter belief and faith in the philosophy that got me in to this mess. If you want to do something badly enough you can! You can grit your teeth, head down and do it! If it’s hard then it is all the more valuable.
In three days’ time if anyone bothers to ask me what I’ve done recently. I can say I’ve walked from the centre of London to Wellington in Somerset, and I bet most of them will chuckle, not believe me and walk away thinking I am a bit crazy. Yeah I am! Thank goodness eh?
A right old mix of a day today! Once again my body amazed me. I had gone to sleep with cramps in both calves that I thought would keep me awake and were a bad omen for today. No such thing! Although I won’t fib and say that I sprang out of bed with vim and verve….more a steady roll into an upright position, ready to launch forth into the day.
I spoke with my lovely hostess Liz last night and she was adamant that the road between Trowbridge and Frome was simply too dangerous to be walked. Main thoroughfare with cars and heavy lorries speeding through, no pavement and, in places, not even a kerb. She volunteered to drive me past the dangerous bit to a village on the west side of the A360 where I could pick up the B roads to Frome and beyond.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not in this to get myself maimed or flattened, so I accepted the opinion of a local expert and Liz drove me to a village whose name I cannot remember! I do remember the enchanting cafe where she set me down to have my breakfast. Called Mes Amis, it was always going to have a few points before we started. However, two things I would Tripadvise if I wanted to be bothered: poached eggs placed directly in a cold plate is never a good idea. And poached eggs very clearly poached in cling film? I could think of nothing but Victoria as I ate a delicious breakfast of toast (too hard to crunch), avocado, poached eggs and crispy bacon. Yummy. Though a little pricey to be honest.
The road to Frome was pleasant and quiet. It was SO GOOD to be walking on tarmac again! Who would have thought tarmac would become my best friend! And Frome came round really quickly in about an hour.
After a restroom break I checked the route ahead on my phone because again, everyone I asked said to avoid the A360. So I searched out the B roads to Shepton Mallet and set off.
Once again the journey was long and tiring. I think I may have reached a peak at about 13-15 Miles. How in god’s name I ever managed 25 on that first day I will never know – and 20 on the three days following.
The route was up over the Mendips which might have been delightful except for the gale force wind blowing in my face. I was thoroughly grateful for the lack of rain but at times I felt like Sherpa Tenzing battling forwards with practically horizontal hair – in fact it was horizontal!
The Mendips are very uppy downy. Did you know? They go up and down. A LOT! I suppose that is the nature of hills but it was a slog. There was little time or energy to explore the enticing footpaths that seemed to criss cross the road. One day I might retrace this walk in a car and explore all the things I have seen. I will certainly go back and have a cup of tea with Ben Bennett (or was it Bill?).
As soon as Shepton Mallet was less than 2 miles away I stopped. I knew brother Nick was coming to meet me today (referred to as ‘brother Nick’ as I also have a brother-in-law called Nick) so I knew I was safe. Also freezing cold as the weather turned sour and the sweat on my back from the back pack turned to icicles. But safe.
I have never been totally certain of big brother’s sense of direction and he came from the wrong way about an hour after expected. But oh my! A warm car, biscuits and the adorable Blue. What more could I have wished for?
During the rather long journey to North Curry (that sense of direction again) we had long discussions about the coming three days and the best way to get to Wellington. Included in the conversation was a phone call from BBC Somerset trying to tie me down to a time and place to walk with me and film.
So a plan has been hatched which involves walking south west instead of south then west. Tomorrow I am going to explore the route from Shepton Mallet to Bridgwater then, on Friday, meet the beeb and my friend Carolyn at the docks in Bridgwater to walk along the canal to Taunton. That’s the plan at the moment. I just need to explore distances and make sure I can stay with my niece tomorrow night.
I am at my sister’s tonight. Brother-in-law Nick is stuffing me full of carbs, insisting that they’re essential. A hot bath has taken the cramps away and I am ready to plan the next stage. It has been a mixed day. Far better than yesterday that’s for sure. Some really buoyant times with the rot setting in really just towards the end. I met lovely people again. The lady in the newsagent in Frome from whom I asked directions went straight to her purse and gave me a fiver and the young, very handsome, stone mason somewhere up on the Mendips insisted on giving me his high vis vest to wear. He was extremely nice and helpful but I didn’t ask for his number. No really, I didn’t.
Its amazing to believe that there are only three more walking days on this crazy crusade. I should like to be home now, with my dogs, in my cottage. I miss them.
There is no other word for today but grim, just grim. It was a shame as yesterday was such a bonus. I had sailed along and felt so much better.
Geoff dropped me between Pewsey and Devizes and from the minute I started I knew my right leg was giving me jip. Even with the sticks my right side was really really painful. It was a struggle from the word go. Still, needs must when the devil does something or other.
I was determined to walk the whole length of the Caen locks. There are so many of them! I started off trying to take a picture of each one but it got ridiculous so I stopped. Halfway down I received a telephone call from Australia. Sebastian had always promised he would ring me to keep me company on my way and it was very nice to hear from him and catch up on all his news from Brisbane. However, it became rather difficult to manoeuvre down a slope with one stick on the ground, one stick flailing in the air and a mobile phone against my ear.
I felt very guilty but after 25 minutes I had to say that I needed to go. I was also desperate for the loo but there was no need to tell him that. There are no public conveniences along the canal. I understand that people in boats have their own private conveniences that doesn’t make it easy for a 59-year-old woman on a very long walk. I finally managed to slip into a campsite where there were some nice public conveniences. I’m sure you all wished to know that! It might prove useful to people who are idiotic enough to make the same journey.
It took a very long time to get to lunchtime. Part of the problem with the tow path is the surface. It is very stickyuppy. Quite large stones have been laid and they stick up out of the ground willy-nilly. This makes the going quite painful as they stick up through the soles on your feet even in walking shoes. This may progress very slow and quite painful.
I did have couple of highlights. I was delighted when two kingfishers swept past me in a blur of beautiful blue. I had really hoped I would see kingfishers at some point and, as this was my last day on the canal, I was very pleased to see them. I also saw a selection of herons. They are extremely elegant birds but really busy-looking. They tend to have long feathers dripping down in the most extraordinary fashion and it’s very difficult to understand what on earth they are for. I’m sure somebody will be able to tell me.
The weather held out during the morning but by lunchtime I was really struggling with walking. It’s strange. Nothing seems to get progressively worse or progressively better. One day one bit doesn’t hurt any more but another bit has taken over. Maybe by the time I get to the end all the bits will have had their turn and I’ll be fine.
I came across some repair work which was also interesting. The man wading through mud and mire told me about the process of repair. Apparently the deterioration of the canal edge is down not only to people driving boats too quickly but also a protected waterfall. What happens is the water vole makes its little holes to live in but then, when the boats go past too quickly, the water goes into the holes creating a vortex, eating away underneath the canal path so there is an ongoing battle to keep the canal path safe. Every day is a school day!
Trowbridge was a long way away – in miles nowhere near as many as some of the days I have already walked but it felt a long old day today.
I finally reached Trowbridge and then had to navigate that nasty bit from the edge of the town to the centre. Eurgh! Finally reached it, sat myself in Coffee One (the shame!) and found myself an Airbnb for the night.
Today was really rather tedious and really rather painful. My Airbnb host has suggested that the A361 to Shepton Mallet is not a good road – a main road with very few pavements. Later I shall explore the alternatives even if I have to get a bus to a different place and then walk from there. It still won’t be any closer so I’ll have done the same miles but not got myself splattered by an articulated lorry. I’m sure nobody would want that!
I could not believe it when I woke up this morning and could actually move. Epsom salts have a reputation well deserved. I had tea and toast before leaving and then my hostess Susan gave me a lift to the very edge of Newbury. This was definitely a bonus. It made all the difference between being able to cope with the day and not coping. I was ready to go.
I felt much better today. The sun was shining a little bit though there was drizzle in the air. I had a spring in my step as I started along the footpath, ankle working, brain working, walking sticks working – everything looking good.
After a few miles I came across Bill and Susan just about to go through a lock. I had promised myself from the very beginning that my one and only cheat on this trip would be to get a lift on a canal boat. It seemed crazy to walk that far along a canal and not do a little bit by boat. I had a word with Susan and she and Bill were happy to give me a lift to the next lock. Bearing in mind the next lock was visible from the one we were going through, it really was not that far. So I hopped on board and was promptly given a cup of tea. Lovely people, lovely conversation and I learnt a lot about the difference between a narrow boat and a barge. I then learned that Bill could navigate his narrowboat through just one door of the lock. It was very impressive to watch. They even gave me £5 for the cause.
When I got off I was in very good spirits. This made such a change from yesterday when I was not sure I would make it. I knew I had to get to Pewsey because Richard Fox was waiting for me there and so had a good reason to push on. It was very, very pleasant on the canal. People were very smiley despite the drizzle. One of the things that helped me today was listening to endless episodes of Just a Minute to get me through each half hour.
I walked for four hours before stopping for lunch in a lovely pub called the Royal Oak in Wootton … something or other. Nice food, very nice conversation – and they gave me my pudding as their contribution towards the walk. And then, the couple next to me from Canada decided to pay for my lunch as their contribution! So all in all, a nice stopover.
I did not have very far to go to meet Richard – ahead of schedule – and was amused when a barge came towards me and the American steering called out, ‘Hey, there are two men waiting for you at the bridge ahead!’ About 15 to 20 minutes later I could see, in the distance, Richard with Ron, his friend from the camera club.
After I had posed for photos we sat down and Richard fed me with two sausage rolls and a pasty which he’d brought from Wellington. (I bet you can imagine what state they were in), some ginger ale and chocolate cherry liquors. He’d been into Odette’s to ask what was best to bring me and had been told chocolate. Bless his heart!
There followed an utterly bizarre two hours. Richard and Ron were in a car. They were determined to get me to some accommodation for the night. My sister Natalie was also on the case but it proved impossible. We drove around the very beautiful Wiltshire countryside, through endless villages where nobody either did bed-and-breakfast or they were full.
Meanwhile my sister was on the Airbnb trail and there was no luck there either. Ron even suggested he would drive me back to Wellington to sleep at home and then drive me back to Devizes or Pewsey in the morning. Crazy! We finally ended up in Devizes. Richards plan was that I would spend the night in Devizes then walk back to Pewsey and then catch a bus or a train to Westbury. And then a bus back to Devizes. This was getting more and more bizarre. So we stopped in Devizes and had a cream tea and decided to think about it.
In the meantime my sister got in touch with some very old friends of ours, Geoff and Helen Eagles, who live in Wiltshire. They agreed to have me for the night. Helen would come and fetch me from Devizes and take me to their house and then Geoff would take me to my starting point in the morning. Old friends know instinctively what is needed.
So here I am sitting in my friends’ house. I’ve had a bath. I have had my feet soaking in freezing water. I have been given something to eat and I’m beginning to feel ready for tomorrow. Geoff will drop me off in the morning near to Pewsey.
In the sunshine and with a change of shoes, I did not hesitate to battle forth. I did not deviate from the path. I did repeat left right left right left right but I did not go round in circles. Although… my brother Nick is following me by GPS on his phone. I cannot imagine what his GPS was doing between Richard and Ron picking me up and the time I landed at Geoff and Helen’s. My mark must have been zipping and zapping all over Wiltshire.
I feel very positive after today – still walking and moving forward after such a terrible day yesterday – and that’s encouraging.
I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up this morning at how functioning my feet were. The usual arthritic seizure was far less prevalent after yesterday when I could barely put my feet on the ground.
But first, I have been asked ‘Who is Eddie? For the sake of a short explanation, Eddie is my adoptive son. He has been around for 28 years and is an extraordinary man with whom I should share genes as we are so alike in so many ways!
Today was tough, really tough. Having made a good start with my backpack on my own back for the first time, things deteriorated quickly. It was 20 miles today and for the whole of the first 10.7 miles there was nothing. I’d been lulled into a false sense of security in suburbia with shops selling water and lunch etc. On two cups of tea and one glass of water I had to walk 10.7 miles before there was any sustenance. Too far – and I will not make that mistake again.
The Kennet and Avon Canal is undoubtedly beautiful and when I had the time to look up from the path it was a delight. But the going was rougher and, having started well, my thighs and calves tightened up today much, much earlier than they should. This made the going very slow and tedious and with the uneven surfaces I was unsteady on my feet.
Victoria asked me before I set off if I had read ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’. I hadn’t, but if it is about the psychological revelations of being alone, the deep thinking, well, balderdash! I do not believe anyone on a quest has any space in their heads for anything other than how and where they’ll put their next foot down!
There were no glorious moments today but I was encouraged to keep going as friends Will and Laura were parking up in Newbury and headed east to meet me. Will is an ex student of mine from my Worle School days with whom I have stayed in contact and remained firm and fast friends. He now spends his life with the lovely Laura with whom I have been lucky enough to form a friendship.
But they seemed so far away.
I really was ready to sit down and weep. I thought about all those people you see out jogging, slowly, plodding, and you think, ‘Why bother?’ Well, that was me. I’m sure people passing were thinking, ‘Why bother? You’re barely moving!’
Will and Laura came into view and were incredibly patient with me as I shuffled the last four miles. Will is over six foot and so plodding along, literally at snail’s pace must have been hard work for him.
But we made it. We made it to Newbury. We made it to a Weatherspoons for some food and a cuppa and then they dropped me at my Airbnb where I discovered my feet, ankles and thighs are COVERED in a nasty, red, itchy rash. Oops. My landlady is a delight and has offered to take me to a pharmacist in the morning to see what’s going on but for now a bath with Epsom Salts has at least taken away the aching muscles.
I have always been super tolerant of cyclists and their ownership of roads, paths and wherever else they want to go! But they have a sense of entitlement that makes me angry and makes me think badly of them as a group – probably unfairly. They are probably nice people – and I know cyclists who are.
However, coming up behind someone on a narrow tow path and just sitting behind them huffing and puffing because they don’t get out of the way is unacceptable. Get a bell! Ring that bell as you approach and the pedestrian will know you are there and step politely out of the way. It’s simple. It may not be sexy having a bell on a posh mountain bike with your Lycra shorts and shirt, but it is practical, safe and in the spirit of co-operation on the byways and highways.
You may not know it but that person blocking your way might be deaf and wearing two hearing aids, might have already walked 66 Miles from Cleopatra’s Needle to Wellington Monument which, in case I forgot to mention, IS THE TALLEST THREE SIDED OBELISK IN THE WORLD!
I arrived in Reading at a much more decent hour. There was not so far to walk today so I don’t feel quite as immobile – but close!
Having walked in to Windsor to meet Eddie off the train we made sure we had a proper breakfast before setting off. It is so good to have these companions. But I tell you this: neither Jack nor Eddie really understood what they were letting themselves in for!
The route out of Windsor was not too polluted – the fumes from the A4 did get to me yesterday. It was far more rural and we were quite soon out in the countryside following pavements through beautiful Berkshire. Lots of bends, excellent! Except NONE OF THEM concealed a cafe, petrol station or shop. Whereas the running joke yesterday between myself and Jack was the observations of bus stops, today it was the complete lack of facilities. We didn’t get to stop after the two hours’ slot as there was nowhere to stop!
I was just embarking on the weirdness of the countryside when it got a whole lot weirder – literally. We turned a corner to be confronted with two severed heads of the Queen and Prince Philip standing at least 12 feet high in the front garden of a rather large house. Bedecked with floral wreaths and sprays they cut absurd figures in a front garden, especially as alongside stood a life-size bronze horse with a sort of medieval rider brandishing a shield and lance. Seriously! On further inspection we saw another mad bronze horseman….
As we stood their gasping out comes the owner who then involves us in a wonderful conversation about his life, his lake, his kitchen decor and his statues. He did invite us in for tea but we were on a schedule. We should have gone! We didn’t get a drink for three hours.
Berkshire has some beautiful countryside and some ridiculously fast young men driving elite cars badly. There was one point where we feared for Eddie’s life as he stood nobly on the kerb defending me against an oncoming Ferrari!
Eventually we took a slight detour to a village that had a pub that was open. We had a sit down and a bite to eat but then got back on it.
Like me, Jack just walked and walked; Eddie was often to be found on his phone looking up how far we had come and how far we had to go. This was great when we were doing well but tragic when we fell behind. Eddie had to be in central London by evening for the opening of the new Pauline Quirke full time school. He had to get to his car in Reading, back home to High Wycombe to pick up his wife and then get to Kings Cross so… unlike yesterday, today we were on a schedule.
I was determined to reach Reading on foot, and we did. As soon as we reached suburbia we hailed every person we saw to find out if we were in Reading yet and got the all clear from a nice man in his garden who insisted we were in Reading. I think he was ready to go and get his council tax letters to prove it. So we were OK to get the bus to the station. We had still walked the 18miles needed and both our legs were leaden. Eddie was suffering and I had done 25 miles yesterday.
I was glad we did. I am doing what I committed to do but I won’t make it unless I’m careful.
In Reading I had to buy some more shoes. To date only one pair are fit for purpose and so I trudged, SOOOOOOO SLOWLY to Sports Direct and bought an identical pair. Then it was a taxi to my Airbnb so I have been able to flop in front of the TV and give my feet a real rest.
It’s going well. I’m amazed at the distances we are covering on a daily basis. I had no idea whether this was really possible or whether I would fold after day one. Yes, it is only Day 2 but I’m alive, I’m seeing the English countryside and its faults (so many cars, fumes, such reckless driving both in and out of cities) and I am learning about friendship. If Eddie or Jack had come up with this insane idea, would I have volunteered to walk a day with them? I’d like to think I would but I’m not sure.
Tomorrow to Newbury. My Airbnb looks out over the canal and so at least I know I don’t have far to go to get under way.
It’s amazing how many people are around in London at 6.30am – and then, how few. Your first thought is – what are these people doing up and about? But then, thinking on the fact that it is such a huge city, it must be one of the quietest times. Quiet – with few places to get a cup of tea, that’s for sure!
So Uber gets me to The Needle with half an hour to spare and a short walk to Embankment gets me a sausage sandwich from Herman ze German – which is not PC is it?
A step by step record of the walk is daft but there are things to remember: seeing iconic monuments on foot is very, very different and quite stunning and having the time to look around and upwards lets you see the city in a new way. So it was all very interesting – for the first four hours.
Two hours’ walking then a break seemed to be working well. We reached Hammersmith dead on time and there was Howard Sayer to meet us for coffee. He stayed with us and walked to Brentford, another two hour stint. We passed through his football stomping ground and he was very excited. Then Howard left and the A4 began – and went on and on! EURGH.
A traffic-heavy, ugly, noisy 8 miles took us past Heathrow – demoralising and soul destroying, sapping energy just because of it being GREY the whole way. Furthermore, it’s a long, very straight road so all you could see in front of you was where you had to get too. Oh, for a bend!
We stopped for some lunch to break up the road and found a nice-looking pub called The Black Horse…..which served only curry. So that was what we had for the first meal on the trip. Curry! I don’t really like curry but we were starving.
Another two hours brought us to within sight of the M4 but Jack and I were both very tired so we stopped for our two hourly break at a McDonald’s and indulged in a cup of tea and an ice cream, both of which served as a real pick me up.
More A4. And more and more and more…
We were finally able to turn off onto the B something which ran parallel to the M4 until the very last moment when we veered towards Windsor.
By the time we reached the Windsor sign at 6.50 p.m and we had been walking for about nine hours and covered 25 Miles. We both sported a blister and Jack’s shoes were destroyed. Mine? So far I’ve only been able to walk in one of the three pairs I brought and they are fast wearing away so I think a new pair of trainers may have to be found at some point along the way.
Lovely Airbnb host, Bath!!!! Many cups of tea and bed.
I’m not looking forward to Day Two because of the traffic: the constant noise and pollution walking along the roadside is really significant. But I will have Eddie with me for company and more morale boosting – if I can walk at all. Needless to say the left arthritic ankle is suffering and I can barely put my feet on the ground at the moment.
Psychologically it is one day at a time and, as Jack says, the first day was the longest distance and so every other day will be easier……..perhaps!