Least said about today, the better; it can best be summed up by saying that the further you get from Uttoxeter the better things get. The beginning of the day is spent trudging along the edges of huge fields, trying not to twist an ankle or damage crops, and crossing stiles with what seems like unnecessary frequency. The view was all gently rolling fields of green wheat, with blue skies and little fluffy clouds in the background, but the cumulative effect was disturbingly like walking through a Windows screensaver.
After a few hours of this I was feeling very discouraged, and was relieved to read in the trail guide that today was probably the low point of the entire trail. I stopped at the Tescos in Uttoxeter (full of brand new housing estates but not any scenic views visible from the trail) for a much needed cup of tea, then promptly got lost trying to find the underpass under the A50 (for those following the route, the strip map should read ‘go down some steps to your right immediately after crossing the bridge) and had to retrace about 3k. There was then another battle through completely overgrown paths and the peaceful sound of a shooting range. Just as I was about to chuck it all in, the day finished with a very nice walk along the Dove with an encouraging view of the moorland hills of the Peak District in the distance, before arriving at the bridge near Ellastone.
Ellastone is pretty and the pub is nice-looking from the outside; Arran didn’t let me stop for a much-needed pint as we had to return to the campsite to get dinner for the kids. I was tired and fed up, but looking forward to some much better walking in the next few days.
HIghlights: No longer being in Staffordshire.