The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Day 9 - Berkhamstead to Stoke Hammond

30 March
Distance: 20 miles
Number of wannabe killer geese: 2

I'll start with another 'Thank You', this time to Simon and Jane who put us up (and put up with us!) last night. A bed, food, company and lifts were provided, for which we are very grateful. They even solved our mopping-up cloth problem by donating a J-cloth to our cause, whereupon I promptly threw the less-than-effective predecessor away.

Simon had us back in Berkhamstead this morning before I realised that the J-cloth was still sitting on the breakfast table. Doh! This is getting to be a bit of a farce now; you'd not believe how many times I've gone into a shop to buy a replacement only to realise later that the one item I'd forgotten was the main one I'd gone in for.

As for the walking, it wasn't as interesting today. Almost the entire day was through rural areas without even any villages adjacent to the canal. Moored craft were far fewer too, and of those there were, the variety was not so great. Bird life was still good though, and moving craft passed by every now and then.

Having passed two geese which really didn't want us anywhere near to them, we found ourselves at a lock for 2nd breakfast (our breaks today being timed according to mileage rather than time). We'd just finished up and were meant to move when a chocolate lab, thinking it was still in time to be in with a chance of a morsel of food, came rushing over. Unfortunately, said dog had apparently been rolling in dog poo and had covered itself quite liberally. Rushing around us, it managed to transfer some of that poo onto us. Urgh! Thank goodness for the wet wipes!

Six miles later, the mileage had arrived where elevenses was permitted, but with no convenient bench next to the mile marker, we decided to continue to the next lock (lock gates making good seats - at least until a boat comes along to use the lock).

Our excitement was perhaps a little disproportionate when we spotted the sign on the 'lock keeper's cottage' and realised that it wasn't a cottage but a pub. Having passed no other such establishment all morning (although we did pass a tea room at second breakfast time, but it was shut) our plans for elevenses were quickly abandonned in favour of lunch.

Only seven and a half miles then remained, but they were covered with pounding feet. Dead flat walking, where the feet are always hitting the ground at the same angle and the same muscles do all of the work is always hard on the body, I find.

The miles were made even harder when about an hour after lunch the heavens opened. Into our waterproofs we hurried, and remained in them for the rest of the day.

It was, therefore, a welcome sight when our campsite came into view. It's turned out to be an expensive bit of grass, without the facilities to even vaguely justify the price, but as I lie here listening to the rain pitter-pattering on Wendy's head I have to conclude that I'd rather be here than still being out walking, seeking a corner of a field in which to secrete ourselves.

Rumour has it that this weather is going to persist tomorrow. Oh joy...

(Oh and by the way, having passed a Tesco this afternoon, I finally achived a J-cloth purchase)
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. Love the blog so far. Can I make a request? At the beginning of each day's writing, can you put the day of the week, the cumulative miles walked and the number of miles to Cape Wrath? Only a suggestion.

  2. I am also enjoying the blog. I can understand Litehiker's thirst for more info but I think you are doing extremely well to post every day at reasonable length. It can't be easy when you have everything else to do, as well as having the difficulty of typing on a fiddly little keyboard. Bravo! Keep it up.

  3. Nah! We all know that Mick does all the work in the kitchen and Gayle sits in the study tap-tapping away at the computer. (Or should that be click clicking on the phone?)

    More stats! (You know you want to...)

    Lovely trip so far - don't let the weather make you down-hearted!"

  4. Well done you two. It must be a great relief to have finally replaced the non-absorbent cloth.
    No mention of a breeze down your way, so your weather must be better than ours!!!
    How come?

  5. I suggested it because, when I was blogging my LEJOG last year,. I was asked to give more information. I was using a tiny Blackberry most of the time. It was a good discipline and a way to relax in the evenings. Mind you, I was on my own.