Monday, February 5, 2007

Day 17 : King’s Stanley to Tewkesbury

Wednesday 31st January 2007

Distance Walked: 25.4 miles
Start Time: 8:36
End Time: 17:15
Elapsed Time: 8:39
Weather: Bright sunshine and clouds. Feels like Spring to me.
Distance walked so far: 348.4 miles

A beautiful and successful day’s walking. Once again I flirt with the devious Cotswold Way and enjoy the spectacular views from the ridge above Stonehouse, before tumbling down through the leaves of Standish Wood onto the Gloucestershire plains below. Rather than take the winding route, I leave the Way for good and take verges and pavement straight into the city of Gloucester, the tedium of the three miles of suburbs lessened by the neat and friendly centre where I replenish my supplies of maps and food.

Then onwards, and at last to the River Severn, and it’s associated Way, which I plan to follow as it winds northwards into the heart of the Midlands. It’s instantly obvious that this area has recently been subject to very heavy flooding. The riverbank is an area of devastation. Brown-grey mud coats everything within fifteen feet of the water. Trees, plants, everything within touching distance has been drowned, and now stands dead and white and ghostly. The path consistently fails to support the weight of my steps and, in places, has been washed away completely. A high-watermark of debris, a jamboree of litter, clothes, shoes, toys and trees, marks the way.

Slipping and sliding, clambering over the fallen trees, I fight my way along the path. The signs tell me that no Elvering is allowed and, not knowing what an elver is, I hope that I comply as there seem to be an awful lot of men with shotguns in the near distance. But today is the first without pain since the very start and finally it feels like I’m able to walk comfortably. The combination of bandages and supports and lubrication has been carefully honed, and when the quaint and soothing town of Tewkesbury is finally reached as the sun sets it feels as if progress has most definitely been made.

Song of the day:

The Byrds
“The Ballad of the Easy Ryder”

The river flows /
It flows down to the sea /
Wherever that river goes /
That’s where I wanna be


Anonymous said...

kick some ass dave

Mark Moxon said...

"The signs tell me that no Elvering is allowed and, not knowing what an elver is..."

Ha! :-) I thought exactly the same at exactly the same sign, so I looked it up when I got home. Turns out that an elver is a young eel, and elvering is to elvers what fishing is to fish. Mmm.

Here's hoping the pain-free walking continues. Go Dave!