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]

Friday 6 November 2009

The Trent & Mersey

Having announced that I was taking myself out for a walk this morning, Mick asked where I was going. I gave the matter some thought and reeled off four options.

A while later, as I laced my shoes and put on my jacket, I still hadn’t made a decision but surprised myself by asking Mick whether he could give me a lift down the road to the next village. A fifth option had apparently popped into my head, which would have been dismissed for the certainty of being chased by three large horses. Getting a lift 3 miles down the road would avoid the horse situation.

As I set out into the gloom a few minutes later, it occurred to me that my concern about the horses had prevented me from thinking through the rest of the route and the fact that it often features cattle, sometimes of a troublesome nature. It also passes through some areas popular with dog walkers, so killer dogs were a further danger.

Just as these thoughts were in my mind, a dog suddenly started barking ferociously about three feet away from me. Having returned to land after leaping six feet in the air, I calmed myself as I realised that the killer beast was securely behind tall palings.

Minutes later I was looking to be doomed to be a nervous wreck when I heard hooves stampeding behind me. Looking over my shoulder I identified the source of the sound as four horses, and gave myself a good talking to as, being on a narrow green-lane, it should have been quite obvious that they were safely in an adjacent field.

It seemed inevitable after such a start that I would come face-to-face with the hugest bull known to man upon entering the first field.

Happily, all of the first set of fields were empty and even more happily all of the dilapidated and missing stiles have been replaced with sturdy new ones.

The 7 miles didn’t all pass off entirely smoothly. Although the only cows I encountered were so small as to be no threat at all, I did have not one but two dogs turn from their owners and stride out at top speed towards me. Both turned out to be less threatening than their approach suggested. The second one turned out to be very friendly indeed – so much so that it left a lovely muddy paw-print on the front of my bright orange jacket.

Anyway, enough words, here are a few (poor quality) snaps:


Into the misty gloom


Friendly cows


Swans and ducks organising themselves by colour


I like this bridge-bridge-lock combination on the Trent & Mersey, but I’m sure that I’ve got better photos of it



The water in all of the local ponds was remarkably low


  1. Hi Gayle,I normally just lurk to read your blog and I'm glad the blog is back after a long break -I've missed reading about your walks.
    I am also terrified of cows, uncontrolled dogs and horses, but I am determined they will not spoil my walks - we've been chased loads of times this summer, but I'm not sure I am brave enough to tackle them on my own.

  2. Gurnsey cows by the looks of them. Usually I have no problem with beasts, normally I just talk nicely to them. Mind, a sheep on a wet and windy night sitting outside the tent grinding its teeth gave me the willies until I picked up courage to shine the torch out of the tent.