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 25 March 2011

Day 5 - Swanton Morley to Pentney

24 March (0710-1615)
Distance: 22.25 miles (tot: 88.5)
Weather: wall-to-wall sunshine
Number of freak ferrule-loss incidents: 1

In a continuation of the theme, we woke up to a clear blue sky and a heavy mist, but this time there was quite a layer of ice on the tent too. I thought it had felt a bit nippy around 4am.

Having been awake since 4.30 (the side-effect of being asleep by 8pm), at 5.45 I decided we may as well get up and opted to prepare breakfast in the warmth of the (heated) toilet block. I then had to wonder why, when we were the only people there, we hadn't just spent the night in there.

Getting an early start on our longest day yet, our immediate plan, to start the day by going via the village shop, didn't quite work due to a bit of confusion between 'right' and 'left' on my part (ooops). Rather than doubling back when I realised my error, we put our faith in one of the villages later in the day having a village store (and so it did, albeit it was slim pickings).

Part way through the morning we picked up the Nar Valley Way which we followed, save for where it put in some big detours via villages which we didn't feel the need to visit, and at 11am we were pleased to see that we had covered half the distance for the day. I always find that, from a psychological point of view, long days are best tackled by getting the bulk of the miles covered before lunch.

Lunch fell after 17 miles in the village of Castle Acre where we did take the time for a quick look around the castle. Admittedly, had it been a shorter day (and had we not have had our packs on) we would have spent much longer exploring not just the castle but the nearby priory too.

In between the castle and the priory, just as I was feeling dead on my feet and very hot and bothered (it was a very warm day), we found The Ostrich - a pub which refreshed us with cold pop and food.

Although the only really notable features of the day fell within a half-mile stretch in Castle Acre, the whole day was pleasing. It remained so for most of the final 5 miles too (the last half mile was along a ridiculously busy A road and although we avoided the road itself it was an imposing presence). Most notably during the afternoon the surroundings became much more green and rolling with fewer vast brown fields. Also notable during the afternoon was a very long snake that I encountered in some woodland.

It was some particularly nice woodland that finished our day too, leading us to Pentney Park, where the campsite was kind enough to recognise that as they weren't busy they could allow is to pitch on an electric hook-up pitch, rather than making us stay in the tent area, well away from the toilets. Having covered over 22 miles my feet didn't want to walk any further than necessary to go for a shower.

Soon after setting up we were being whisked off to Sally's for tea and within half an hour of getting back there was the gentle sound of snoring coming from our tent...

(As for the ferrule loss incident, I don't think I could have managed to put my pole end so perfectly straight down the 'key' hole in a manhole cover again if I walked across that same patch of grass for the rest of the day!)

(Conrad: you did more ascent on Wednesday than the entire first 100 miles of our walk!)
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. And there was me worrying that the couple of days I have planned (Challenge) of 16.2 miles, not consecutively, might be pushing my luck...
    Looks like you're having a great time so far, keep it up!

    (7 weeks, and counting, eek!)

  2. Castle Acre - a little bit of Paradise...
    Keep walking now: No slacking!

  3. Great to meet up with you and many thanks to for a fantastic meal last night.

    My pics from our walk together this morning and the trail are up at I managed 24miles in the end before Sally rescued me.

    Hope to see you both soon

  4. not many walkers come near my house so i jumped at the chance to invite you to dinner ..... as you may have noticed by the lack of wine glasses, I get very few visitors here.

    Good to here you slept well !