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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Severn Way - day 3

Coalport to Hampton Loade - Wednesday 31st July

At Coalport YHA last night I shared a room with a young BT Openreach engineer who had learnt his trade with the Army signals. He was actually working so BT didn't seem to be generous with accommodation allowance. He had a 600 cc motor bike and surfed and backpacked so he was quite good company.

The Cumberland sausage, mash and peas at the YHA was unremarkable but at £12.50 for two courses and a very good coffee it was value for money, and I was able to have a full breakfast at 7.30.

It has rained non stop all day. A large part of the route to Bridgnorth followed a disused railway (National Cycle Route 45) running parallel to the Severn Way alongside the river. I tried to do the right thing for a while on the river path but it was ghastly with wet overhanging grass and branches above providing a shower every thirty seconds better than Mira, so I fought my way up a crop field boundary back onto the track. In the eight kilometres and the two and a half hours or so I was on this track I didn't see one cyclist and no walkers, only about three cars.

I landed at Bridgnorth at 12.00 and seriously thought of getting a B and B. My brother did his National Service here i think and I had a grey mental picture, but it seems bright, full of history and surprisingly touristy. After regrouping in a café I phoned the Railway and River pub at Hampton Loade and was told they had an en-suite room in a cottage for £40 within 5 minutes walk of the pub.

Walking from Bridgnorth was much as I had imagined the Severn Way... for a while. Good paths through open pastures mixed with short stretches of woodland were pleasant with the now large and powerful Severn on the left. Then I came to the largest field of wheat I have ever seen in this country, and welcomed the twenty foot wide margin left for walkers, but after about half a mile if was back to the overgrown strip with grass and foliage at more than waist height, and although going underfoot was better than might have been expected I was wet through on my lower half just wearing shorts. My Marmot waterproof jacket has done an excellent job today.

The pub was on the wrong side of the river but accessed illegally by a waterworks bridge involving climbing two sturdy steel gates.

From appearances the pub looked fine with a decent friendly atmosphere inside, but...

The elderly landlord offered to drive me to the cottage. His car was a tip inside so I wondered if that was an omen for the rest of his organisation. The windowless room had that familiar, unused, damp smell and everything looked as though it had come from an inferior second hand shop. The fan in the bathroom reminded me of the motor bike noise we used to achieve on our bikes by fixing a piece of cardboard to interfere with the wheel spokes - ah well it's better than the tent in this pouring rain. I'm off on the trek to the pub now - see how long it takes - I think it may have stopped raining. More to follow.

It did only take five minutes.

Fishcake starter with above average salad - lots of red onion, then baked ham with two eggs, chips and peas, ordinary but properly done and good portions,with friendly service and a couple of pints of Crooked Spire - 3.6%.

No rain on the walk back. Forecast for tomorrow - hot.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Anonymous said...

Was the foot ferry across to Hampton Loade not working? I had a pint of lemonade in The River and Rail pub a couple of weeks ago in the heatwave. You will have to cross the river again in the morning. Enjoy Bewdley if its not too busy, lots of 'oars people' out on the river. Just realised I'm a day behind your posts.

John J said...

Is the Unicorn at Hampton Loade not in existence any more? It used to be located almost opposite the ferry on the west side of the river.

Sir Hugh said...

Bc - the ferry was not working, but when i rang the Rail and River they told me about the waterworks bridge which comes first rravelling south.

I did recross the river further down next morning on the new bridge which replaced the old coal miner's bridge as mentioned in my post. I sat on the riverside at Bewdley with a pint of orange and lemonade in intense sunshine not being able to find a seat on the shaded side near the buildings.

jJ - i was aware of the Unicorn but did not see it as i by-passed Hampton (as marked on the map) as opposed to Hampton Loade on the eastern side where i stayed.