29 September 2010

Birthays, Severns and Rightwards Distractions

Day 27 – Worcester to Stourport

Today was a good day for many reasons!

Not least of which is that today is my 24th birthday. Hurrah for me! Besides being another year older and wiser (well older anyway!) I’ve also had a cracking day on the trail and I’m sitting in my tent right now another day closer to that distant finish line up North.

After a lovely night in a fancy hotel last night (repeated nights camping on a Thermarest really make you appreciate a real bed!) and a delicious hearty breakfast this morning I had expected that my folks would say their farewells and head off back home. But today is my birthday and so not only did I leave this morning with my dad once again in tow but also with promises of a nice pub dinner somewhere tonight after we rendezvous with my mum and my Nan at my campsite in Stourport.

Of course, even the very best of hiking companions are going to struggle to make a dreadful walk any more than bearable, but happily today the route was both pleasantly varied and delightfully stress free. After hacking my way through the shrubberies of the last few days, today has definitely been something a welcome relief.

Credit must go to the Severn Way, whose winding course we have been following all day. Granted I only picked up this lovely river-side trail yesterday, but I have to say that the walking along it thus far has been great. It’s brilliant to finally be on a trail that genuinely seems to want you to walk it and credit must go to whichever local group does a great job keeping the paths clear and well way marked.

I’m a big fan of river walking as it’s a sure fire way of spotting a bit of wildlife as you tick off the miles, (even if it’s only the occasional curious duck) and watching the hustle and bustle of nature going about it’s business is a great distraction from weary feet! It also makes navigation a doddle, as was the case today, just keep the river on the left (or right) and put one foot in front of the other until you get where you’re going.

The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted that I described today’s walk as ‘pleasantly varied’ and so it was, although I admit it sounds largely river based thus far. It’s true, that to the left of us the river Severn dominated the view all day but the right was another case entirely. Worthy distractions rightwards included (in no particular order):

- Worcester (admittedly somewhat viewable to the left too, but you get the point)
- A working quarry (rather boldly the Severn Way cuts right through the middle rather than skirting around it)
- A vast and rather intricate horse jumping course (sadly sans horses)
- A pub with a beer garden dominated by roving gangs of turkeys and peacocks (odd, just odd)
- A slightly decrepit and rather creepy looking funfair (Scooby doo and the gang would have been right at home)

Bit of an odd mix all told, but combined with the view to the left and a spot of chat with my dad it served to keep my mind off my feet and my legs for the whole day, which is all you can ask really. When we rounded the final bend and strolled into camp I was surprised to find my tent assembled and waiting for me, it turns out my mum and Nan had got there a bit early and rather than going for a nice cuppa they had set to work putting my camp together for me. Bless ‘em!

A lovely pub meal later and we finally parted ways after what has been a great little birthday. The parting is only temporary though, I’m only a few days away from home now and I must say that I’m really looking forward to a couple of days to recover and reorganise before I resume the push North. If every day is a pleasant and trouble free as today, I’ll be there in no time at all.