It rained all night but I slept rather well. Sometimes the sound of the rain on the tent can be quite relaxing…..
I stayed dry and warm but I had to get up at some stage which would involve getting wet. At about 7 AM the rain stopped; I made a quick cup of tea and a hot porridge and enjoyed breakfast in bed.
The rain till held off so I went for it. The sleeping bag packed in its bag, the air mattress deflated, rolled and packed in its bag, dirty clothes into the red waterproof (and smell proof) bag, fresh clean clothes out of the blue waterproof bag, tent down and packed (wet), everything loaded into the backpack all within about 10 minutes. A moment later it started raining again.
It seems that the farmers in this area don’t like footpaths, almost all the way-mark signs have been removed, stiles are in very bad order and often covered in barbed wired. One footpath gate had a new four foot deep ditch on one side with no bridge. So, whilst the ground was level it was often ploughed up and going was difficult.
At one stage I found myself, accidentally, on the Duke of Westminster’s private estate, luckily I wasn’t caught. It reminded me of an incident many years ago when I was walking The Test Way with my friends Brian and Dave. We decided to take a short cut through The Duke of Norfolk’s estate and were caught by the man himself who was fly fishing with a friend. We apologised profusely, and sang the praises of his estate and within a few minutes we were best of friends. He even got us holding the trout that he had caught and took a picture of us on our camera. He showed us the best way out of the estate and said ‘ if my man sees you, tell him you have spoken to me’. I still have those photos somewhere!
After getting back on the proper footpath the sun came out for a while and I took the opportunity to hang the tent on a tree to dry out which it did in about half an hour. I then continued into the lovely City of Chester and although I had a dry tent I booked into the backpackers hostel as the weather forecast is not good….again.