Thursday, 11 August 2011

Day 58- Shustoke to Stratford- Upon- Avon

Jade was obviously in a lot of pain this morning and was in tears just trying to get ready. I really didnt know what to expect today....things weren't looking good. I was also worried because last night we had a look at the maps and discovered that the nearest campsite was in Stratford. I didnt for a second think there was any chance that we would make it there as it was about 30 miles away, but Jade made it clear that she would not wild camp for a 2nd night so Stratford was our aim for today. I didnt mind trying to get there as i would also love a shower but i just didnt see how we could with Jades leg how it was......30 miles is a really long day with 2 working legs!

When we were all packed up we sat down and had another look at the maps and made the descision to follow the road for the first half of the day rather than the heart of england way. Jade was finding stiles and steps a real struggle with her bad leg and we thought that if the heart of england was anything like the staffordshire way there would be lots of them, so it would be best to steer clear.

We left just before 9 to start our long stretch of road walking. We walked through some little villages and then through a place called Meriden that was signposted 'the centre of england' which we thought was really exciting!! Now we had passed both the centre of britain and the centre of england! In Meriden we found a shop and brought some food for lunch including some massive sandwhiches. We also found a cafe and stopped for a nice rest and cup of tea. From here it was on to a place called Berkswell and then from there it was lots more fiddly bits of road until we met the Grand Union canal. By the time we got to the canal it was 3:30pm and we'd probably already walked at least 12 miles. By now my legs and feet were already feeling quite achey, walking on tarmac is not particularly enjoyable! However, i think it was a good decision and that if we took the heart of england way it would have taken a lot longer to walk the same distance. 

So, at 3:30pm we felt like we were starting another days walk. We weren't on the Grand Union canal for long before we switched onto the Startford- Upon- Avon canal. It was very pretty along here and also really busy with lots of barges travelling one way or the other. This canal took us all the way into Stratford and it was a very long afternoon! I think we were all feeling achey and tired,  although at one point Jade suddenly had a massive spurt on and was walking so fast that me and mum couldn't keep up with her! I dont know how she did it with her bad leg but i was very impressed! The last 7 miles were an absolute killer and seemed to be never ending, but we'd got this far so we were going to get to the campsite. To keep herself distracted Jade made lots of phonecalls and it seemed to be a really good idea, it kept her going and kept her happy.

By the time we got off the canal i can't describe how shattered and achey i was but we still had to find a shop and then go and find the campsite which was marked on the map as on the racecourse. Luckily we were passing right past a morrisons anyway so we stopped there and me and Jade went in and left Mum outside with the bags. We tried to be quick but i think it felt like ages to Mum who was sat freezing outside! By now it was pretty late and i just wanted to lie down. Bags heavy with food we put our bags back on and set off for the campsite. We followed a sign for the racecourse only to find that we were at a bit of a dead end. Great! This is when we realised it wasn't going to be simple. It was now also getting dark and starting to rain! We decided to just knock on one of the houses and ask for directions. A lovely man answered and looked surprised to see us, he said he hadn't expected to open the door to 3 beautiful ladies. That was very kind of him but in reality i think we looked tired and smelly! We asked him how to get to the campsite and he ummed and arghed trying to decide the best way to send us then gave us some directions. We followed what he said and ended up on the cycle track that seemed to run alongside the racecourse, so we could see where we wanted to be but just couldn't get in there. We could also see that the campsite was at the other side of the racecourse to us. We just wanted to go to bed!!

There were 3 teenage boys walking up the cycle track towards us, one had a can of beer in his hand but the other had a carton of orange juice....they looked harmless enough so Jade asked if they could help us. They said they knew the way and walked us down to the path we wanted to be on. This path ran right alongside the racecourse and we followed it up and went through a kissing gate and i was thinking yes we are finally there, but then we got to the next gate and it was locked!!! My heart sunk. We were there but just couldn't get in, it was so depressing! I just wanted to sit down but i knew i wouldn't be able to get up again. Feeling sad we all turned around and started walking back the way we had come from. We then did some map reading in the dark and rain and realised we were going to have to walk all the way round to through the town then down to the other end of the racecourse. So, after a MASSIVE detour we finally arrived at the campsite at aboutr 10pm!! We were so tired and i'd never been so happy to see a campsite. After dumping our stuff me and Mum went to see if anyone was about to pay but as suspected it was so late that there wasn't so we just put our tent up anyway. Luckily we didnt need a key or code for the toilets however, Jade went off for a shower and came back in tears, through sobs i could hear her say...."tokens." So in the end none of us got a shower tonight but to be honest by now i didnt even care i just wanted to sleep. In the end we didnt even cook dinner either. It was so nice to get into bed but everything was aching. It had been such a long day and we had walked about 30 miles. I dont know how Jade did that with her leg but she did so well. However, her leg definately wasnt loking good and we decided that we'd have to take her to the hospital in the morning and then just see what happened from there.

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