Day 32: Lichfield – Uttoxeter

Sunday, 21/05/2017
Distance: 36,7 km (22,8 mi) for a total of 873,2 km (542,6 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 475 m (1560 ft)

Weather: Cloudy, hardly any wind

Over the night all my kit including the tent (artistically draped in the bathroom) had dried nicely and I repacked everything before going to breakfast. Back in my room I found a wet patch at the lower left side of the rucksack. Thus I found out that the water bladder has started leaking. That is a bit annoying because this not only reduces the amount of water I can take with me (I have a spare Platypus bottle I haven’t used so far, so it’s not critical) but I know that I usually drink more when I just have to grab the valve dangling over my shoulder than fishing for the bottle in the side pocket. I’ll try to find out where the hole is and see if I can do something about it with content of my repair kit.

With all the kit so dry I wasn’t eager to change it to a wet state again. And after all the rain the fields certainly would still be very wet. In addition, I had pondered over the map to decide if I should stick to my originally plotted route or go for an “distance-optimised” alternative. The plan was to take a western loop through Cannock Chase which had seemed a great idea at home. Now I thought that I should possibly cut this out for a more direct route north. There weren’t any appealing footpaths leading in the desired direction so it was roads and country lanes once again.

Thus I came through Longdon, Armitage, Hill Ridware and Blithbury. Here I entered the pub for a pint of shandy and to decide which way to take to Abbots Bromley. Following the B road all the time didn’t seem attractive and there seemed to be a possibility to join the Staffordshire Way and have a look at the Blithfield Reservoir. So I opted for the latter. A bad idea. The track ended at a private property gate and the alternative footpaths ended in nothing but muddy fields without any indication that there was something similar to a path. Instead of trying to somehow navigating those fields I quickly decided to retrace my steps even if this meant that I lost the best part of an hour and the corresponding mileage.

In Abbots Bromley I noticed a change in house building materials again. Here many buildings were made of bricks. Overall, the village made a pleasant impression.

The unnecessary and time-consuming detour had made what was even without it a real walk a minor challenge if I wanted to make it to my intended campsite. I’d try to pace up a bit, but again lost time on invisible footpaths, paths blocked by farmers with electric fences etc, but finally reached the site at the Uttoxeter. I don’t think it would be possible in Germany to set up a campsite literally in the middle of a race course, but this is exactly where it is located – a very unique experience!


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