Today I walked from Gainsborough to Goole, a distance of some 24 miles. The first part was on a back road but very straight, and it was obviously popular with the boy racers. You feel quite vulnerable as a walker when a hatchback blasts past you doing 60mph. I was glad to turn onto footpaths and crossed many corn fields with tall upright vegetation that concealed you as in a jungle. Wheat fields and hay meadows took the remains of the morning. Near a town called Laughton I plunged into deciduous woods, eerily quiet apart from the occasional
tweet or squawking of a pheasant. The advent of autumn announced with the arrival of many different types of fungi. Emerging from the woods I arrived at the high sided banks of the River Trent and was to follow its course for the next 6 miles. Signs of flooding were still in evidence, even sandbags along a few house walls. I guess the most prolific wildlife of the day were the jet black slugs, there were hundreds of the things and inspired this poem:
I contemplate the lowly slug with fearsome reputation.
Perhaps he is a gentlemen in Darwinian mutation?
His shiny suit is casual brown and sometimes darkest black,
No condescending baubles to wear upon his back.
Slug dines at finest places, in palaces and parks,
Eating what's before him, without critical remarks.
He does not rush, he will not hurry
An aristocrat who refuses worry.
His variety is endless, no food can bring a halt
Apart from one exception, the white stuff we call salt.
Gentlemen leave their calling cards, wherever they may dine
And so does Viscount Slug, his signature is "Slime".
The last few miles into this highly industrialised port town were sheer murder. The shin splint that began to develop a few days ago was in full vigour making every step a challenge. I virtually fell through the doors of my B&B.
Pilgrim day 12
The final push for York. Like The Fighting Temeraire, this barge left dock early under the cover of deep mist and made my way silently though the long grass on the banks of the Ouse. It was soaking wet those first few hours which was balm to my sore left leg. The sun steadily burnt off the mist to reveal a beautiful day and lush green
pastures alongside the river. I met four different herds of cows on the tow path who were in bullish mood!! They would either sit on the top of the bank or group themselves en masse at the exit stiles refusing to move. It would not be until the last few steps they would get skittish and bolt past me. I felt quite small and vulnerable.
After 7 or so miles along the river I turned North for York. The day was the hottest one so far but the terrain mostly the harvested fields of wheat and corn. I made good time and Heather's texting told me we would rendezvous at the same time. As it was she beat me, and had to wait and watch as her skinny (lost over half a stone) limping, bearded husband crossed the finishing line. What a joy to finish and in the arms of the wife you love.