Day 14 of the #185milewaffle – Lechlade to Cricklade accompanied by Evan.
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Today started well – but turned into one of the most demanding sessions to date. Thanks to Camilla, proprietor of Wilson, her cousin in law Ed generously offered Evan for the day.
We set off to Kelmscott, rendezvoused with the lady from BBC Wiltshire and duly did the requisite interview before setting off.
I have previously observed and commented on the indefatigable nature of spaniels. Evan set a new standard.
I genuinely think he must have covered at least three times my distance, which makes it north of 50 miles before you come to all the time he spent in the river. A lot of the time he was invisible from the path, but trackable by his noisy progress up and down banks, along the river and investigating any neighbouring wildfowl or other creatures.
The only downside of all this was his regarding walking on the lead – of which we had to do quite a bit – as a barely tolerable preface to the next exciting cross-country episode, which in turn made for a somewhat strained shoulder as I tried to hold onto the missile that was Evan.
The walk itself was made trickier by the fact that here in the upper reaches, it by no means follows the towpath, and its twists and turns are by no means well signed. I realised to my embarrassment that I should have brought a map rather than relying like a softy on the signs to show the way. In this context, I completely missed one crucial change of direction where the sign had been uprooted. The unfortunate consequence was that I had gone 2 miles before I encountered someone who could put me right… and sent me 2 miles back again.
Extending a longish stage from 13.5 miles to 17.5 miles hurt; the more so given no companion for mutual entertainment or distraction.
Final irritations of no accessible lunch stop, some long sessions on the roads and the planned pickup from destination not being possible due to other pressures, all added up to a somewhat wearying day. Improved at the end by some more of the passing kindness that one so often encounters – a lady with a dog going out of her way to connect me to the only taxi in Cricklade, and Paul Buckland, who happened to sit next to me in the White Hart I was waiting for the taxi, quietly passing over a donation having known me for five minutes.
I can say that I have pretty well been able to deal with each day as it has come, without dwelling on previous scars, or anticipating what next. However, after today’s tribulations the realisation that tomorrow is suddenly the last day does bring a certain sense of relief!
Upwards and onwards
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