And it’s off. Catch the 11.07 Nottingham-Gloucester, then 13.33 to Kemble. A somewhat overcast day. Train quite empty in spite of nearly every seat being reserved. Plenty of time to ponder what walking up to 16 miles a day will be like and whether I will have time to explore the surrounding landmarks, churches, bridges and pubs.
Arrive at Gloucester 12:24 on time and find myself amongst several others with disarmingly large rucksacks. Maybe this won’t be the solitary journey I had expected! As it happens, none get off at Kemble.
As we pull into Stroud, I am reminded of Laurie Lee who “walked out one midsummer morning” from Stroud and carried on to Andalusia. From here on the scenery changes. Instead of fields stretching off in the distance, or industrial sites, there are now hills to the east. We pass through Chalford which looks a beautiful village, yellow stone small houses around a river.
Train pulls into Kemble spot on time. There’s a taxi waiting, “Is it Peter?” Lee, the driver, came to this area from Scunthorpe for a three month job as a chef and stayed 30 years. He became a forester and a builder, now loves driving around the Cotswolds countryside.
I am staying at The Thames Head Inn which is a lovely place
The barman sounds just like Henning Wehn, “But I was here first” he tells me. But having been here working 35 years, he and his wife now have to register to stay. What sort of country have we allowed racism to make us into.
The pub is on the busy A433 and is the closest Inn to the source of the Thames, being about 1 Km away. Out of the pub, turn left for two minutes, and just before the railway bridge go left then over a stile.
But that’s tomorrows challenge.