I am tucked up in a comfortable bed at my destination after being met by Mick and Gayle* at around my halfway point at Overseal. Mick returned to make the fish pie and Gayle was her usual excellent company for the rest of my day.
The Royal Hotel last night was the best of British.
At one point beyond Ashby the gpx route on my iPad was unaware of a new housing estate leading to some confusion.
After that I found myself walking through parts of the underpublicised National Forest on pleasant wide grass rides. I do remember Gayle posting about this enterprise a while ago but have not come across other references to it. Pockets of land have been planted with trees over a very large area since 1995
From their website:
"The National Forest is one of Britain's boldest environmental projects, creating a Forest for the nation across 200 square miles, embracing parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire."
Walking with Gayle involved endless conversation covering a wide range. I hope I didn't repeat too many of my anecdotes. Back at their house Mick's fish pie was everything a hungry randonneur could wish for - I think he is practising for the next round of Masterchef; that was followed by Gayle's delicious blackberry and apple crumble. They have now kindly offered to pick me up at the end of tomorrow's walk and bring me back for a second overnight and to drop me off again next morning.
Conversation tends to reduce photo takes but here are a few.
The grand staircase at The Royal Hotel, Ashby
In the National Forest. The tree is covered with vibrant red berries but not so apparent in the photo
We wondered what the backstory was to this abandonment in the middle of nowhere
Crossing the River Trent
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