Thursday, 24 July 2014

1st Puncture since we started

Sunday 20 July

With a reasonable night’s sleep under our belts we woke to a very heavy dew fall and mist so the flysheet of the tent was never going to dry before we set off on our walk. We completed the usual routine and packed away the soggy tent and went our separate ways, arranging to meet in the next village. I think I was only about two miles into my section when I received a call from Rachel to say she had got a puncture on the back wheel. She explained she had past a few cyclists earlier who had experienced a similar situation - obviously something in the road.

We met up and I donned the latex gloves and commenced the operation whilst Rachel mopped my sweating brow and passed the mechanical tools with precision as I called for them. I soon identified a small hole which was soon repaired and the offending item, a piece of flint, vanquished to the grass verge. We were on our way within 20 minutes.

Once again we went our separate ways and again arranged to meet in the next village, one we had been told about by Antony the previous day. My section took me once more up and up onto the ridge of the North Downs to pass through an extremely large wood, which with the heat of the day was a welcome to be in the shade. This area was very popular with other walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders, so a bit like the traffic on the M1 it was very busy compared to my usual quiet days walk. Half way through Rachel text me to say the village was indeed a chocolate box one with a cafe that sold scrummy food - I replied to say despite the large pack on my back I was running like the wind. Needless to say, once I arrived we dined like a King and Queen and the village was indeed a chocolate box one with a large central square and houses that dated back to 16th / 17th Century. Reputably the village is a popular location for period dramas.

Once our appetites were sated we set off on the last leg to Canterbury to leave the North Downs Way and follow the Great Stour Way along the Stour river. As we entered the City we asked a local for the most scenic route to the Cathedral, the end of our day, and were directed to follow the Heritage route though the Benedictine Gardens. Once we reached the Cathedral the walk was at an end but there was still 2 miles to the campsite. We gathered the now obligatory pasta meal ingredients and the even more regular, in more than one way, supply of fruit to make a salad with for pudding. The campsite was a 5* with fabulous showers and lashings of hot waters - can you tell that we now get excited at what most normal people take for granted. This venue was to include a rest day for me to let my legs recover after clocking up about another 80 miles walking. 

We slept like logs that night.
Haggered pilgrims

There really was a herd of Highland cattle under a bridge on outskirts of Canterbury

Distance 15.5 miles
Total distance since Helmsley - 481.75 miles

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