|Day 19 – April 24||Keynsham to Yate|
|Weather: Sunny, hazy and warm||B&B: England’s Guest House (£26.00)|
|Departed: 09:15 Arrived: 15:45||Walked: 5 hr 13m Rested: 1 hr 01m|
|Distance Today: 16.8 mi / 27.03 km||Total Distance: 306.6 mi / 493.42 km|
|% Complete: ~ 27.08%||Pint of the Day: Bath Ales Gem|
|GPS Track for: Day 19|
What I’d hoped might be a relatively short day’s walk ended up being a fairly normal 17 mile plod. In the process I walked out of Somerset and into South Gloucestershire.
Some of my breakfasts are pretty rushed affairs but I took my time this morning and chatted with an Australian man and his English girlfriend. I was on my way by 9:15 and was soon following a towpath along the River Avon. There were several narrowboats moored along side and some owners had constructed permanent decks and had landscaped yards. I couldn’t help but be reminded of a Walking / Narrowboat holiday I organized in 2003. I hired two 69-foot narrowboats from a yard in Middlewich and for 7 days we cruised the “Shroppie” and Llangollen Canal. It was good fun but not the most relaxing of holidays as there were 25 locks to negotiate and that was just one way.
My time on the towpath was very brief and I was soon back on pasture land and making my way towards Bitton. I was following the Monarch’s Way but took a shortcut and then rejoined it just a mile or so from Wick. Along the way I passed a large enclosure containing at least 100 hens and what appeared to be two emus (or ostriches?). One of them was extremely curious and strolled over to check me out.
Not far from Wick was the tiny village of Doynton. I was making good time so I decided to stop in at the very friendly Cross House pub. There was some good banter on hand and I was especially pleased when they told me I’d be in Yate in less than 90 minutes. Three hours later I staggered into my b&b in Yate.
For the most part the three hour walk was uneventful but not nearly as scenic as the morning had been. The Monarch’s Way was well marked until I crossed the M4 (photo in gallery especially for the folks back at Highways!). The stretch between the motorway and the Codrington was bizarre, as if it hadn’t been walked in 10 years.
After crossing Kinggrove Common I entered Chipping Sodbury. My original intention was to overnight in Old Sodbury (just to the east) but everything was booked up and so I opted for Yate (just to the west). Chipping Sodbury does have hotels but they are all out of my price range.
The walk to Yate took about 30 minutes and to be honest was a bit depressing. For a moment I thought I was back in North America: shopping malls, big box stores and a car-centric transportation system. In fairness they did have walkways but I take no pleasure in walking when I have 4 lanes of traffic to the left of me and large parking lots on my right. Fortunately my very comfortable and friendly b&b is in a slightly older section of town. I have no intention of retracing that route on foot so I will grab a taxi back to Chipping Sodbury (the bus service on Sunday is very poor). Tomorrow I make a very brief visit to the Cotswolds.