This was a nice day’s walk, full of variety. It started with some more canal walking, with beautiful boats and friendly boat people, followed by a short stretch through woods.
Eventually I emerged at Bednall village. Many of the villages in Staffordshire that I went through have been competing in the Best Kept Village contest; however, Bednall has taken it to a new level by encouraging all the village schoolchildren to produce posters which are displayed on a big noticeboard. God knows what they told the children, but the tone of most of the posters was a cross between public information films and Stalinist propaganda, and they made me laugh out loud.
The highlight of the day was Cannock Chase, a lovely mix of heathland and woodland with broad paths running through it. It was very peaceful and made for fast walking for a few miles, before returning to the canal for the final part of the day.
Unfortunately, just after my last break of the day the heavens opened – it was raining so hard that rainwater was running down my face and into my mouth, and I was quickly soaked to the skin. I trudged (squelched) into Colton, a small village with two pubs but no shop. Unfortunately neither pub was open at 5pm; equally unfortunately Arran had gone to pick me up at Colwich by mistake! Home for a much-needed shower and a change into dry clothes, before tucking into a freshly-made chilli which Arran had prepared earlier. Definitely the way to a woman’s heart.
Highlights: Beautiful canal paths, with overhanging trees and wildflowers; bracken and running brooks in Cannock Chase; schoolchildren racing each other over stepping stones in the Sherbrook.