Monday, May 29, 2006

Day 5 - Coleford

Martin has really struggled today, both physically and psychologically. He still has an upset stomach, which doesn’t help, and is now a little saddle sore. The main cause for despondency this evening is borne out of frustration at the inadequacy of the maps. I know you may be thinking ‘it could be him not the maps,’ but those of you who really know Martin will know that he can find his way anywhere, given a compass and an accurate map. His fell-walking was mostly done by his own routes, devised and followed so as not to be ‘one of the herd’ on the allotted footpaths. He says that what is drawn on the maps is not what is actually on the ground, especially through towns. Before he threw the Avon Cycleway map into the nearest bin, he actually did a complete circle at one point!
The Clifton Suspension Bridge was the highlight of the day, followed by the new Severn Suspension Bridge. This took him briefly into Wales, along the west side of the River Wye, so Peter Hargreaves now owes him £10 - £5 each for two countries!
Tonight he has camped at a camping and caravan park at Sling near Coleford in the Forest of Dean – roughly midway between Chepstow and Ross–on-Wye. He has been able to hang wet clothes to dry in a boiler room, the weather being a mixture of heavy showers, hot sun and a very cold north wind in his face.
He has managed a respectable 69.53 miles today – though not all in the right direction! Pedalling begins at 7am and this evening is typical in ending at 8.30pm, but of course there are breaks during the day. The end of the day was a killer – the 7 mile continuous climb to St Briavels made his little legs ache just a bit.


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