Saturday 21 June
Today the sun shone into our tent as we woke up as it had done every morning so far - how lucky are we. Each day we have been applying suntan cream, and each day we look like we live outdoors - which we of course do.
Tony felt rather weary first thing, this being the start of the 5th walking day in a row ( rest day planned for after the 6th on this occasion ). During the day a change was made to the route so that the mileage was cut short so that Tony could rest. Our village of proposed campsite was Gunthorpe ( a name now etched in my mind… ).
We had done some research and this showed that there were 2 campsites in the village. I cycled ahead to identify the best and to check-in. The first turned out to be a static caravan park which didn't accept campers, and the second was a pub with camping field behind that had changed hands - would the new owners allow campers ?
We did see, though, that the lovely canal at Gunthorpe was very popular with fishermen and their ( all night ) tents. So, I cycled further down the tow path in order to find a quiet field ( away from the tatood fishermen and their beer crates ) where we could have another ‘ wild camp’. I found the perfect spot - a large field with low cut flat grass - perfect. I walked all round to ensure that there were no animals in sight, as there were quite a few fields interconnecting with open gates - there were no animals to be seen.
We set up camp, very pleased with ourselves that we were such good adventurers. Then, all of a sudden 2 cow shaped silhouettes appeared in a gate space 2 fields away ! Horror of horrors, they were walking in our field’s direction and there were hundreds of them ( ok, maybe 15 ). As you can imagine, my adrenalin kicked in and I started frantically packing all misc items that were both inside and outside our erect tent and fumbled to find my bike lock key ( had locked bike to itself - thought it a good idea at the time ). Tony was elsewhere at this point ( behind a tree, not with fear but call of nature ) and he didn't seem to have any sense of urgency whatsoever ( he would regret this later ). In the meantime, the cows had spotted me and had decided to investigate.
I managed to load all my bags onto the bike and wobble it erratically out of the field. I returned to the field to start taking the tent down, but Tony had done that and was holding it and all of his other worldly goods in his arms whilst pointing 2 x lekis directly at the cows who were by now within feet of him. Tony was making loud noises like they say you should to make cows move away, but hadn't decided whether to move left or right to get out of the field ( he was between long hedge field boundary and cows ). It seemed like fear had got to Tony too ! I braved a foot into the field and also did a loud shout so as to make cows move a bit further away so that Tony could come towards me to exit the cow’s territory. He managed to come to me in a very controlled walking pace - goodness I couldn't have done that !
So, we were out of cow hell, but now had no abode for the evening and it was 8.30 pm.
We went to the pub who’s predecessor allowed camping in the field at the rear, and the man at Portolini Italian Restaurant, he say yes ! ( and charges £10 for a square of grass with no toilet facilities ). We were simply grateful to have a patch of legal and animal free ground on which to lay our weary bodies.
Distance - tbc, after various GPS, Garmin apparatus has been charged / checked ...