DAY 50: Tewkesbury to Brookthorpe (Gloucester) – 18.60 miles
Jill set me up this morning with breakfast and a feast of maps to help work out my route. This area is surrounded by so many different waterways as well as walking trails, way too numerous to mention. Again, I didn’t want to venture all round the houses to get to the Airbnb I was staying tonight but equally, it would be nice to follow the river for some of my journey. After breakfast and a further coffee stop in town, I actually set off quite late then wasted more time trying to find the right path down to the river. So it was gone 11am before I really set off. And to be honest, I was a little disappointed as – unlike the canal paths I’d followed earlier in this trip – most of my riverside journey consisted of one similar looking field after another. And even though the river was constantly to my right you often couldn’t actually see it… or any of the wildlife it was supposed to contain.
The only wildlife I came into contact with was cows. By now I had spoken to enough people about my cow run-ins and each time I have been told the same thing… you need to carry a large stick. So I found one to prepare myself but thankfully the first couple of fields I walked through, I managed to swerve them just enough to avoid any confrontation. On one occasion a confident cow did start to walk towards me but I growled at him with my stick in the air and he retreated. The skies were still overcast and my pack was feeling heavy again, so I took the first chance I could to stop for a pub lunch… Opting for the ploughmans so that I could eat half, and take the rest for a picnic later. I also managed to get another donation, which always lifts my spirits.
Since I’d been inside the weather had improved dramatically, so I decided to continue with the riverside walk a little longer. However it wasn’t long before I reached a field of cows who were not feeling so charitable. Right in my path I walked to the diagonal corner of the field instead, with the intention of cutting back across on the next field to get back alongside the river. Unfortunately this herd were more inquisitive and almost immediately started to walk towards me on mass, which meant when I reached the corner and could not close that gate, I quickly had to keep going… Eventually reaching somewhere safe, I was however now completley off my track, so quickly decided that my riverside adventure was done and with the help of a tractor driver, I managed to find my way back to the road. And for the next hour I enjoyed an area that randomly seemed to be the home for lots of horses… All different breeds, some big, some small but all friendly (behind fences of course). And then from one extreme to the other as I walked right through Gloucester city centre and out the other side. The place I had booked for tonight was deliberately south of the city, because it broke up my ongoing journey a little better. Due to the late start and extra riverside excitement I didn’t arrive at my destination until 7:45pm. A quick chat with the other housemate on my floor, Stephanie the trainee pilot from Mexico! And my host Jane and I was beat.