Distance: 28,6 km (17,8 mi) for a total of 776,6 km (482,6 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 400 m (1310 ft)
Weather: Sunny and dry in the morning, later getting more cloudy, rain starting in the evening
When my alarm set off at 5 o’clock in the morning as usual I couldn’t convince myself to get out of my snug sleeping bag as it felt quite fresh outside. And in addition, it already looked like there would be some morning sun later which would take out the remaining dampness of my kit. So I allowed myself another hour of relaxation at the cost of having a late start.
I had hardly left the campsite and made my way along the road to rejoin the HoE Way when I passed a solitary house and the man standing in front of it in the garden bid me a good morning and asked about my whereabouts. When he heard of my walk he was thoroughly impressed and even invited me to breakfast! When I refused and only asked for a glass of cold milk he was really sorry he couldn’t do more for me.
In the beginning I really had a choice of paths to follow, among them an old acquaintance. I have to look up the complete route of this Monarch’s Way at home.
I had hoped to make it to Henley-in-Arden in good time, especially with the good signage and path condition continuing. But then either the signs were missing or I was so impressed by the announcement of cows, calves and bull in a field I was to enter that I overlooked them. Whatever the reason it left me navigating some fields in a time-consuming manner. When I thought that finally the way into town was straightforward I was confronted with the need to cross a field with head-high rapeseed and an hardly recognisable path in it. At the end of the field I felt more wet than the previous day in the rain.
Henley-in-Arden is a nice little town with its old houses. With more time to spare I’d probably visited the heritage centre but instead I opted for lunch. The town is so perfectly situated in the valley that only a couple of minutes up the hill it’s already difficult to make out.
A bit later I reached the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. As often with canals the towpath provided easy and level walking. A lot of dog walkers used the path, too. And some narrowboats were moored at different places. The HoE Way leaves the canal at Kingswood Crossing and from there it was only a short hop to the campsite a bit off route.