…was not wet, but looked like it would be all day. It was grey and it had obviously been raining all night. When carrying few clothes the only thing to do is put the wet ones back on- either it’ll rain again and they’re already wet so it doesn’t matter, or they’ll dry out in the sun!!? Actually what happened is that we ended up still damp because although it didn’t rain, neither was it sunny.
The plan was to do more miles than yesterday but the terrain was easier. This proved to be the case, although my legs still feel sore.
We also leaned that Google maps counts bridleways as cycle paths! Quite soon after coming out of Leek we turned into a muddy path through a field. Thankfully this turned into a proper path after a while, and followed the river! Then we turned onto the canal, again marked as a bridleway, but with a locked gate at the start!? We lifted the bikes over, and we are glad we did because what followed was a few miles of well kept canal tow path, through beautiful woodland and glimpses of the river below us. This was only interrupted briefly by the path coming to an end! Thankfully a dog walker directed us to another canal just a couple of hundred metres down the road which went the same way and meets up with the original one further down! We rose and fell with the locks along the canal, trying to avoid puddles but usually failing. A kingfisher flew along with us for a few bursts!!
After the canals came the country parks. Today is very urban, passing Stoke and Crewe, but more often than not we were following a brook or woodland through a country park. Delightful.
It seems we have timed our trip with Hawthorn cutting season. Almost all the way there have been thorns scattered across the road by the hedge cutters. Jonny succumbed today and got two punctures!!
After passing the cities we were back on country lanes and starting to climb a bit. Only a bit, but at the end of the day it feels worse on your legs! We soon made it to the Shady Oak campsite just behind the Shady Oak pub, which looked like it served good food. It did!! We enjoyed the warmth and comfort of the pub, as well as their food, before heading back for our first night in the tent. Poor Jonny.
We travelled about 43 miles today and overall dropped by about 250m
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