Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Walking The Severn Way - Stage 23

Saturday, 21st May, 2011
Elmore to Upper Framilode
Only 7.9 miles

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In this issue…
  • Cold night turns to perfect blue sky
  • Water-skiing the river
  • Jumper-on, jumper off day
  • ‘Our’ river really grows up and meets the sea
Severn Way Stage 23 220511 016

Hello and welcome along again to the next stage of our meandering stroll alongside the River Severn, through some of the most beautiful countryside of Wales and England tracing the whole of its length right from the source at Plynlimon high up in the Mid Wales mountains to its end at the Bristol Channel. Join us now for 210 miles of the stunning River Severn Way with its wonderfully diverse scenery, its fabulous flora and fascinating fauna.

Click here to see how far we've travelled to date 


Sandwiches packed?
Flask of tea?
Sorted and Booted?
Let’s go!!!

It was last October when we last walked a stretch of the Severn Way together so it’s good to be back at the side of ‘our’ river isn’t it?

Don’t know where you slept last night but we were in a tent at Tudor Campsite, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire and I have to tell you it was a very cold night. Pam and I weren’t cold but we were certainly aware of the cold because our noses turned blue - they were the only parts of our bodies exposed to the night’s chill, tucked up as we were in our cosy ‘mummy’ sleeping bags.
We awoke to a perfect blue sky and early enough to witness a superb sunrise. Breakfast, a quick wash and away we go. 

We have to drive to our end destination today which is somewhat unusual as we normally arrive at the start of the leg, walk to the end and catch a bus or train back to the start to pick the car up. But due to the delightfully quiet rural area of these captivating villages and hamlets we now find ourselves in, there’s not much of a bus service. 

In fact the only bus travelling through these ineffable Gloucestershire villages leaves our walk-end at 09:54 and that’s it! It doesn’t appear to come back this way and it’s the only one! So we arrive at Upper Framilode to catch the bus to Elmore but can’t find a bus-stop anywhere in the village. I know where it should be but there’s no sign of a sign. I ask someone pottering in their garden and he kindly points us in the right direction. We park our car in the empty car park of The Ship Inn and walk down the quiet lane to where we’d been instructed to stand. And at precisely - and I’m so impressed with this so I’ll say it again PRECISELY - 09:54 the Stagecoach bus potters over the hill and ambles towards us where it stops gently to pick us up.

And so we arrive at Elmore where we finished last year - do you remember?  Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite recall the exact spot in Elmore where we needed to alight from the bus and managed to get off almost a mile too early adding a little more to our almost 8 miles, but not to worry - we’re feeling quite fit!

Do you hear that? As we leave the charming village of Elmore I pick out the call of a distant cuckoo which, actually now that I think about it, is the first one this year - I think they, like so many of our birds, are in decline which is quite sad. Let’s hope they all bounce back pretty soon.
Today’s leg hugs the riverside once more as we pass through a damson and apple orchard interspersed with buttercups.

Severn Way Stage 23 220511 038 Severn Way Stage 23 220511 040

It’s just so wonderful to be back on the trail and enjoying the beautiful English countryside again. Pam and I muse about how lucky we are living in such a lovely country. You can wander all over the globe but there’s nowhere finer than the English countryside in spring, or summer and let’s not forget autumn and even winter holds its own delightful magic. Pam comments that ‘it’s just so special’ Sums it all up really!

However, the cloud keeps obscuring the sun and as it does it gets a tad cool and then within a few minutes the heat’s blasting down on us once more - it’s a true ‘jumper-on, jumper-off’ day.
This is the first water-skier we’ve ever seen on the River Severn and he looks as if he’s enjoying himself. He seems quite steady - he’s obviously experienced as he shows off his skills hopping masterfully over the boat’s waves.

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Whoops!    I spoke too soon! He spots us watching him. He sees there’s a camera aiming at him. “I hope you didn’t catch me as I fell” he shouts. “I did” I reply, “you’ll be able to see it on our blog at Follow My Walks dot com”. Maybe we have a new follower? Hello there if you’re here! It was very impressive till you took your eye off the ball.

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Soon we stop at a pleasantly-situated seat  and take in the view. Our little river has now grown into the beginnings of a huge estuary. It’s just so wondrous isn’t it. Have you been with us since the start of this lovely walk? Do you remember that little boggy puddle with a just a tiny trickle of water high on Plynlimon's top?

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This is where fresh water meets salt water and the river becomes tidal. At low tide sandbanks are mysteriously revealed and the gulls move in for the rich sea-food pickings.

Our route continues and takes us past a pub called The Anchor. But we won’t pass. We’ll rest here a while fellow travellers. Mine’s a pint of mild please! 

Later, on reaching a quiet lane approaching Upper Framilode, a memory appears. A memory of the Montgomery Canal from nearly two years ago where there were scores of these delightful creatures dancing around the waters’ edge.

Banded Agrion

A Banded Agrion Damselfly.

It’s not long before we reach our destination and our car which awaits us at The Ship. Another quick pint? Mine’s just a shandy - I’m driving don’t forget. They’re a very friendly lot here at the pub and the landlord doesn’t mind one bit if walkers leave their cars here - especially if they’re all like us and drop in for a quick one on the return!

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Catch you all in a couple of days. We’re camping at Slimbridge for 3 stages of the walk which will leave just 25 miles to the end of The Severn Way at Severn Beach.

Paul Watts and Pam Greenwood

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We'll make them most welcome. The more the merrier! I know I've said before that I quite like walking on my own but you're so quiet I hardly notice you're there! Walking The Severn Way together it's really only at the end of each stage you tend to make a comment, and talking of comments... Don't forget to leave one below; help, advice, silly banter, words of encouragement are all very much welcomed and I know then you're definitely following us along the enchanting Severn Way!

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Severn Way Stage 23

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Anonymous said...


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I'm going on a skiing holiday in a month's time as well as I have heard that these types of eyeglasses are fantastic but I can't afford much.



Chris Wigg said...

Will you finish the walk this year, Paul?

Paul e Watts said...

Hi Chris, we've actually finished the walk now - I just need to post the final stages.