Day 132: Worcester to Gloucester England, Tuesday August 29th
There was a light rain falling as we rode through Worcester looking for cycle route 45. Once we located it we made good progress along the canal to the pretty Diglis Marina and then out into the countryside.
We had noticed on the Sustrans site that the section of the 45 we were doing had two loops – places where we could take a left or right fork. The route description says absolutely nothing about this stretch of the route. In fact, I think it worth mentioning that the description of cycle route 45 is three paragraphs long (for 270 miles of cycle route). There is not one word about the route between these two cities. We love you Sustrans, but come on.
With nothing else to guide us, we decided to take the shorter of the two options at both loops. At the first loop, just south of Pirton, I missed the turn where the diverged paths met up again, and we continued back around the other side of the loop. We almost did a full circle before Deb realized what was happening and we turned back. Did I mention that it was raining and that my phone was broken?
The fork we took at the next loop took us into Tewksbury, which is a fairly big town. We figured that the other fork was longer, but avoided the busy streets. We needed to buy something for lunch, and Tewksbury seemed pretty enough, so we were still happy with our decision.
But after we left the high street, we couldn’t find any markers for route 45. Deb struggled with her phone and we had to turn back to find the little road we’d missed. Then that little road turned into a dirt path. This can’t be right, we thought. Deb checked again. The route was supposed to cross the river we were riding beside. But there was no way across. Back to where the little road starts we found a tiny note stuck on a pole, with a number for ferry information. Deb couldn’t get a signal, but we’d just been down the road and seen no sign of a ferry. A ferry? Where on the map does it indicate a ferry? Nowhere.
Even backtracking proved difficult, and when we got turned around again, Deb just about gave up. It was still raining.
But my warrior princess figured it out. And though it was a long detour, it was actually a pretty pleasant ride. And the rain stopped. Still, it was a pretty quiet lunch we ate in front of St. Peter Church in Bushley.
There were no more major problems (though there was a very muddy bridle path) until we got to Gloucester. We muddled our way though the city without too much difficulty, and even stopped at a canal-side brewpub near the docks.
The rest of the ride was along the canal, with no cars, just joggers, other cyclists, and dog walkers. We had to stop a couple of times to work our way through the suburban neighbourhood of our Airbnb, but we managed to get there before the sun went down.
We were greeted by Tony Latham, a retired filmmaker who now writes books, makes beer and wine, and has an incredible little garden where he grows more stuff than I would have believed possible. He also keeps a pretty great two room B&B. Our room had a view of the canal and an en suite shower and toilet.
Tony made us tea and we got to know each other. His movies were multi-language development films made in third world countries. He has been to many amazing places, including parts of Africa that are not easy for foreigners to see. His favourite places were Tuvalu and Bhutan. And he cans the fruit that he grows himself and fishes in the canal. I think Deb really felt at home.
Distance: 72 km