Hi guys…here is today’s update on our Day#8 of POF22.
The journey was planned to be a 30 mile+ walk straight down the Oxford Canal. It was to be simple. Setting out from Newbold and finishing in the Fairport Convention village of Cropredy. Ah well, all the best laid plans sometimes hit issues. More to explain later.
Let’s start with our traditional reporting on our evening dining.
Well we both went for the house chilli. Me a veggie and Big Al…well he only had a beef chilli topped with cheese and chorizo, that I’m pleased to say did not affect the trombone playing this morning.
Our days journey was very straightforward. No difficult points as you can see from below.
Fri 29th Newbold to Cropredy
Start Newbold Junc Brownsover road CV211HL ///rush.games.soap 10.5 Miles
Rugby road 2 miles
Crick Road 4.6 miles
1st Stop Flecknoe Station Road CV238AZ ///questions.woof.snored 12.8 miles
Daventry road 16.3 miles
2nd Stop Welsh road CV477SS ///founding.dozens.stocks 19.4 miles
3rd stop? Wharf Rd 27 miles Wharf Rd, Fenny Compton, Southam CV47 2FE ///tall.lollipop.mute
Finish Cropredy 8 Red Lion St, Cropredy, Banbury OX17 1PB ///daylight.inflame.corrects 33miles
The Dirt House Pub Southam Rd, Little Bourton, OX171RH Confirmed Dickie 07921512404
Alan was busy early on, ensuring that the necessary ablutions were disposed of and that the fresh water was topped up.
And soon we were on our way. I took to the canal and Alan set off for some supplies and to work out a CP#1 at roughly 8 miles.
The sites to see were, as it seems as always on this trip, of great canal pubs and neat engineering. It’s been a pleasure in that respect.
To be honest the first CP came quite quickly. I can say that it was really only the last 2-3 miles before reaching it, that I felt some more difficult terrain was to come. I wasn’t wrong.
Alan was waiting for me and told me that he had already lent our convenience (the loo in the campervan) to a passing runner who was being dropped off there by her partner. Nick kindly agreed to a donation. Cheers Nick! Ever thought about donating the car??!! 😊
Big Al fed me some hot cross buns and a cup of tea and I was off again.
And in fairness, the next mile or so was perfect. Good towpath, not too hot and the chance to meet these lovely people, Shaun and Elaine who immediately texted their donation to Ollie. Thanks guys! And thanks for putting the tee shirt back on Shaun! 😊
Then the trouble started. The canal bank and towpath became more and more overgrown. Nettles, bushes and brambles were everywhere. It became a challenge to navigate each step. I had to hold my arms in the air to avoid being stung and at the same time try to deal with a canal bank that constantly changed its width and camber. It was not the best of conditions. Take a look at the snaps below.
When you are trying to sustain a specific pace, this kind of terrain just grinds you down. My pace dropped from c. 3.3 mph to around 2.5mph.
It’s difficult to retain any momentum and frankly it wasn’t much fun!
On our look back after reaching CP#2, we calculated that I was in this kind of overgrowth for 6-7 miles.
And if it wasn’t miserable enough, it always drains the spirits to see a dead sheep!
So we sat down at the CP#2 and thought about what to do next. As far as we could see, nothing was going to change soon in the terrain.
So we took some ice cream….as you do…
…and decided to jump ahead a number of canal bridges and try to get to what we estimated would be better kept towpaths because they were nearer the towns on the way.
Thankfully it paid off. Unfortunately, we skipped around 7-8 miles in doing so but it meant that I did not have to negotiate several frustrating hours getting through overgrowth.
Thinking about it over a beer this evening, Big Al and I agreed, that this was our dark day moment of POF22. Just as it was last year on our last day in Cornwall on POW21 when we got stuck on A roads and Alan had a second puncture in pouring rain etc.. We figured it out then and we did so again today.
The rest of the day passed without drama and I can tell you it’s a great sight to see your buddy walking out to meet you at the end of the day.
The terrain today has taken it’s toll on my feet. The undulations as I have noted before really hurt you ankles, heels and calves.
It doesn’t look nice, but wasn’t serious to fix.
So that was our day. Around 25.3 miles walked and the day saved by taking a decision to write off what just seemed not worth attempting.
Hope that makes sense!
To all of our supporters of The Ollie Young Foundation, please keep in touch and thanks for any support that you can offer the charity. Nothing is too small, everything is appreciated.
Dale & Alan.