Wolverhampton to Penkridge
Sorting out the new route to Penkridge last night I didn’t really spend a lot of time looking for an interesting or scenic route, just a simple, no hassle, straight forward walk, especially seeing as the temperature was supposed to be getting a little on the hot side. So that’s what I did, a simple route using roads/lanes all the way and a short(?) thirteen miles.
Route plotted and stored on my GPS I went to bed, getting to sleep a little earlier than normal for a change, which was nice. Well, that was until I woke up at 5am. I managed to drift off again and finally started getting myself sorted out at about 6:45am. I wanted to get on the road a little earlier if possible so that I could get a few more miles done in the cooler temperature of the morning.
I went for breakfast at around 7:45am and I’m glad I did. At 8am the coach load of pensioners who’d turned up yesterday all descended on the restaurant pretty much at exactly the same time. They must have all set their alarm clocks or something? Fortunately, I’d already sorted my breakfast out from the breakfast buffet otherwise I might have had a long wait! As it goes, the breakfast wasn’t really up to much and I’m convinced it upset my stomach a little today. The funny thing was though, the plates the hotel put out for people to use, they were just a little bit bigger than a side plate. I’m assuming this was to try and restrict how much one person could take for their breakfast? I guess you could go back for more but after having one small plate full I certainly wasn’t rushing for more!
Breakfast done and bagged packed – well, not completely but more on that a bit later – I checked out and made my way through the considerably quieter streets of Wolverhampton compared to yesterday afternoon.
The first thing I had to do was to get out of Wolverhampton, not as simple or quick a task as you might think, especially if you’re walking. Wolverhampton’s quite a big sprawling place and it took me a good hour and a quarter of walking (at least four miles) before I’d reached the end of suburbia and was finally in the countryside.
After that the rest of the walk wasn’t much better, and certainly didn’t give a great deal to talk about. I went from one lane to another making my way to Penkridge. Yes, there was the odd view of countryside but that was about all the walk had going for it. All I had in the back of my mind was to get to the hotel as quickly as possible, before the day really started to heat up.
Thankfully, the morning was a little overcast which seemed to keep the temperature down until midday. After that, and with just over three miles to go, the temperature started to rise quite badly. The final mile and half were pretty terrible with the heat becoming almost unbearable. Fortunately I reached the hotel at shortly past 1pm and I went to my room, dumped my gear and jumped in the shower.
This is where I come back to the bag packing reference earlier. For the second time on this walk I’d left my shower gel in the previous hotel. Not good as I had to use the rather rubbish free stuff in the hotel bathroom. Still, it did the job and I felt much better for the shower.
Clean and in a change of clothes I wandered in to the village centre to see what was there and to try and replace the forgotten shower gel.
Penkridge didn’t have a great deal to offer. There were a few little shops and a number of pubs and, thankfully, a Co-operative store so I went in and replaced the missing shower gel – hurrah! With nothing else to do I decided to pop in to the Horse and Jockey pub for a pint and then made my way back to my room.
Having free wifi again, and after last night’s completely useless Skype experience, I tried it out before attempting to call the girls with it. I called Matt and it worked fine for our entire call, almost half an hour. Great I thought, until I tried to call Russ and it all went horribly wrong. I called Matt again and it worked fine…and just to completely confuse things, Russ called Matt and it worked fine too. Clearly there was a problem somewhere between here and Russ’ place?
I had to hope and pray that it would work ok when I called the girls, which I’m pleased to say it did, perfectly. It was wonderful to see them smile and laugh. I’m so pleased I decided to take the hit with the extra weight of the netbook for just those moments. Love them to bits and they always make me smile when we have a video call.
Dinner this evening was at the Littleton Arms, what you would call a gastro pub. It was nice in there and I was hopeful for a good meal. Looking over the menu I decided to have the pigeon breast wrapped in oak smoked bacon with a mushroom, red wine and cumin sauce, and for main course I decided to have the duck with soy stir fry vegetables.
In true ponce style you certainly didn’t get a huge plate of food for your money but it was ok, but only ok. Everything was way over seasoned and it was difficult to taste anything through the salt. All the meat was cooked very well but the seasoning kind of spoilt it for me, which is a real shame.
Earlier in the evening I’d written on Facebook how much I missed cheese on this walk. It’s not exactly the easiest thing to do when you’re on a walk like this, just get a slab of cheese and some crackers and eat yourself stupid with it. So, sat there with some room left I decided to appease my cheese craving by ordering the selection of English cheeses for “dessert”. This came out on a huge slab of wood and did an excellent job of both filling me up and hitting that cheese craving.
Full up, and a headache coming due to the ignorant family on one of the other tables who couldn’t talk to each other, no, they had to shout everything at each other, I paid the bill and made my way, slowly, back to the hotel.
In hindsight I probably could have decided to follow the canal from Wolverhampton all the way to Penkridge which might have been a nicer walk. I’m pretty sure it would have added a few miles to the day’s distance and seeing as the afternoon was beginning to heat up rather badly when I arrived, I think I made the right choice with today’s route. They’ll be nicer walks ahead I’m sure of it.