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]

Saturday 17 May 2008

Day 33 - Whitchurch to Weston

17 May
Distance: 19 miles (19.5 if you include the heads-up-bottoms incident that saw us walking down a lane in the wrong direction)
Number of overly inquisitive calves: 5
Number of overly interested bulls: 1

My sister deserves a double thank you today. Not only did she give up her bed for us last night, but she also got up quite some hours before her usual rising time this morning to drive us to the station for our early train back to Whitchuch.

It was just gone 8am as we donned our packs and set out from Whitchurch, soon after finding ourselves navigating the entire length of a golf course.

Fields then became the theme for the day as we took to the South Cheshire Way. As with the Maelor Way, an awful lot of those fields contained very long grass - at times up to our hips.

Unlike our wadings on the Maelor Way, this grass was wet: very wet indeed. Within a short distance our trousers were drenched and water had seeped into our shoes. Much squelching and sloshing occurred.

Still, at least it wasn't raining.

Then it started to rain...

Rather belatedly (probably three hours after it would have been sensible to don them) we decided that the best way to tackle the long grass and crop fields was in our waterproof trousers. As an added bonus to keeping the legs more comfortable, they also gave the nettle-proof qualities that proved to be, at times, necessary.

There were definite similarities today with the Maelor Way experience. As well as the long grass we had to contend with nettle beds, ploughed fields and wading through crops. However, two things made this a much happier experience (even with the wetness from all directions): for one thing we had a proper 1:25k map and thus could easily navigate across the fields; secondly the vast majority of stiles were in good repair and all save one was passable (the exception was one so overgrown with hawthorn as to make a diversion worthwhile).

It didn't take us long to realise that this is dairy farm country. Fortunately the biggest stampede in our direction was curtailed by an electric fence, but we did get marginally delayed by a milking-time procession. It was during that procession that the odd-one-out-brown-beast amongst the friesians took a bit too much interest in us. Noticing its large stature and lack of udders I made a girly retreat until one of his lady friends caught his attention.

That 3km from our destination we found ourselves walking in a westerly direction down a lane was inexcuable. Fortunately for me it was one of the occasions when Mick had also looked at the map so I didn't have to take all of the blame...

In Weston we're staying at the hotel. That's our second hotel in a week, once again caused by a lack of obvious B&Bs. For the second time we've managed to find a hotel room that doesn't have a bath. That must be quite a feat.

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