Walking 7.50am to 6.05pm
Distance walked today 20 miles
Total distance walked 363
Distance left 689 miles
David dropped me back at Baddesley Clinton on his way to work. The Heart of England Way was a little tricky to find - through a little housing development and then round the back of some lock-up garages but then it was into woodland and open country immediately. It was pleasant enough and easy to follow, being well waymarked. At times, the route was shared with the Millennium Way, the Centenary Way and the Mary Arden Way (which seems maybe to be a "sub way" of the Heart of England Way).
At Berkswell, I went into the church as there was such a welcoming sign outside. There is a well-restored crypt beneath the church which I went down to. Whilst in the village, I bought some Berkswell cheese, made in the village from ewes' milk - very nice.
Yet another "way" was also encountered but this one was called "A Coventry Way" ("A", not "The"). It's a 40 mile circular route around Coventry.
Although Meriden was on my schedule for camping tonight, I thought I would get to it too early and this proved to be the case - stopping for the day at midday is ridiculous. I thought maybe a few miles more to Shustoke would just about do it - there's a pub there and the reservoir. Anyway, shortly after I crossed over the M6, I entered a field with the usual crowd of young bullocks crowded against the stile into a field. I knew what to expect and, true to form, they came after me. I held them back every few seconds, shouting and waving my walking poles but the end result was that I didn't check the map or see that my intended exit was across to the far corner of the field. Inevitably, I clambered over the first available gate and there was then no legitimate way out of where I found myself, which was directly in front of a farmhouse. I then headed down the driveway towards a road and was hailed by an elderly lady from a window who gave me an ear-bashing, thinking I was a Rambler - I put her right on that count but obviously others have had a similar experience recently with the bullocks and ended up where I did.
Anyway, I eventually had lunch and, looking at the map, realised that I might manage the distance to the site at Kingsbury Water Park. Therefore, I power-walked the last six miles or so, (startling an Alsatian in a wood where its master was photographing bluebells. He called it off me) arriving at the site just after 6pm when it was just starting to rain.
Along the approach road to the site, a guy coming towards me looked closely at me and said, "Do I know you? Are you Litehiker?" He was the American I'd heard about some days ago. He's Vinnie (Vincenzo) from New York State and had been reading this blog back home before he left the US. He's also familiar with many of the other UK bloggers. He's heading for John o'Groats as well.
We've been down to the pub to get acquainted and plan to walk together tomorrow.