|Day 21 – April 26||Dursley to Gloucester|
|Weather: Cloudy w/sunny breaks||B&B: Abbey Hotel (£35.00)|
|Departed: 08:45 Arrived: 15:00||Walked: 5 hr 30m Rested: 1 hr 00m|
|Distance Today: 17.6 mi / 28.32 km||Total Distance: 339.2 mi / 545.89 km|
|% Complete: ~ 29.99%||Pint of the Day: Sharp Doom Bar (bottled)|
|GPS Track for: Day 21|
For the first two miles I walked through largely built-up areas as Dursley and Cam have grown together over the years. I eventually reached some green space and followed a track towards my second encounter with the M5.
Last time I went over the M5 but this time there was a small underpass accessible from a footpath running off the track and parallel to the motorway. Unfortunately, as the picture above depicts, the path was horribly overgrown with thorny plants. What should have been a 30-second jaunt proved to be a painful 15-minute hell realm as I carefully picked my way through the brambles. The only tools at my disposal were my map case and the soles of my shoes and on at least two occasions I lost my balance and almost fell into them. I approached this challenge much as I did the Monksilver Ditch – with sheer determination and a tirade of carefully crafted cussing.
Having passed today’s test I headed towards Slimbridge and Shepherd’s Patch where I linked up with the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. My spontaneous decision to modify my route meant I was walking without a map for several hours. I had made a few notes and rough sketches but I must admit I felt a bit adrift without my OS Explorer map. I was fine once I reached the canal but it was easy to get lost on the lanes in and around Slimbridge.
Once on the canal I followed the towpath for several miles to Saul Junction. I had planned to head towards the Severn River at this point but one of the bridge operators suggested I stick to the towpath all the way to Gloucester. I’m glad I followed his advice and within a few hours I was entering the outskirts of Gloucester.
I crossed over the canal in the old industrial section of the city which is in the process of being redeveloped into residences. They’ve done an excellent job of converting many of the old mills into blocks of flats and I’ve included photos of a couple of buildings that will likely be redeveloped in the coming years.
As I crossed the bridge I experienced my second “Dr. Livingstone I presume” moment of the trip. I had exchanged emails with Bill many months ago and as recently as this morning but it was by pure chance that we crossed paths this afternoon.
Not only did Bill have a couple of bottles of Sharp’s Doom Bar in his daypack but he also treated me to a guided tour of Gloucester AND a drive to my accommodation to Tewkesbury! We walked around the city centre admiring the old buildings and then visited the magnificent Gloucester Cathedral. A truly wonderful end to the day’s walk – so thank you Bill!
I’ll be catching a bus back to Gloucester in the morning and Bill will be joining me for part of the walk back to Tewkesbury.