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]

Thursday 15 May 2008

Day 31 - Hanmer to Whitchurch

15 May
Distance: around 8 miles
Number of very ignorant canal boat people encountered: 4

I am sitting on my sofa in my own house. Tonight I will sleep in my own bed. Nothing has gone awry. It was always the plan that when we reached Whitchurch we would pop home for a day.

Tomorrow will be busy doing repairs and making arrangements going forward before returning to Whitchurch early on Saturday morning.

But what of today. Did the farce on the Maelor Way continue?

No, it didn't. Not because the Maelor Way suddenly became a passable route (from the evidence we saw, today would have been worse than yesterday; at one point had we battled over an overgrown stile we would have found ourselves in a dense field of rape with no gap for a footpath). Instead we resigned ourselves to a bit of road walking.

No matter how much I looked at the map, I couldn't find a reasonably direct way to get into Whitchurch that didn't involve a bit of A road, and that was the most awful part of today's walk; that was one busy road.

However, I shunned the most direct routes so as to achieve a bit of pleasant walking and by going a kilometre or so out of our way we found ourselves on the Llangollen Canal.

Unlike our canal walks thus far, this is a canal with life on it. Right from joining it there were narrow boats moored and before long we were overtaking moving craft as they paused to operate the lift bridges. It really did amaze us though how many of the people on those boats went out of their way to studiously ignore us and our cheery hellos.

Our first port of call in Whitchurch was a map vendor, as I have become increasingly convinced over the last couple of days that I don't have detailed maps for the South Cheshire Way, which we'll be following for the next couple of days (I've also become increasingly concerned that it will turn out to be a repeat of the Maelor Way nightmare, but surely people use their footpaths more around here?). The second port of call was an outdoor shop for the purchase of a compass.
Having bought a decent Silva one I'll be making a special effort not to lose this one!

So, it's another rest day tomorrow, with a thousand chores to fill the day. We'll probably be hankering after the peace of the trail by the end of a morning of phone calls and sewing!


  1. Greetings,

    Us lot here in Rugeley have concluded that you two getting to sleep in your own bed (for two nights no less!) on LEJOG is clearly cheating! Terrible!

    However, the general concensus is that if you walk all the way back to Whitchurch, we'll let you off!! :)


  2. Two nights in our own bed? Nope. Just the one. To get back to Whitchurch in time for a 19 miler tomorrow, we couldn't stay at home for the second night.

    As for cheating - well it did feel wrong to be at home, but we are walking every step of the 1252 miles and we didn't see much difference, if we're having a day off, between getting a lift three miles up the road to some accommodation or popping home by train and a lift.

    It's a whole week now before we get pampered again (at Mick's Mom's house) but after that it's canvas (and the odd B&B) all the way.