Our normal range of activities are still somewhat hampered by Richard’s shoulder and my sprained ankle, so we took the opportunity to spend some time with friends in Shropshire. This gave me the opportunity to cycle back and gave Richard the option of going for a short run on Cannock Chase on his drive home.
I previously cycled from Shropshire to Tamworth in January 2010 (also when injured), so I considered this route as being similar to that one. However, I neglected to consider that our friends live 13 miles to the north west of Newport …on the far side of Market Drayton. Anyway, armed with two ripped-out pages from the road atlas I set off into the easterly wind, which was to provide me with a head wind most of the way home.
It soon became clear that not all of the roads in this part of Shropshire were on my map. It also became clear that signposts are not something that Shropshire takes very seriously. At some point, quite early on, I restorted to using my compass, but it became apparent to me that I probably shouldn’t use a compass when sitting on my bike…. I realised this a little too late. To get myself back on track, I decided to take the Shropshire Union Canal; at least there wouldn’t be any unsignposted junctions. Indeed there weren’t any junctions, but it was incredibly bumpy and so I decided to get back on a road regardless of where I was. It soon became clear that my diversion had not gained much distance in the right direction. Anyway, I continued and slowly began to make progress. Once I had passed Penkridge, the scenery started to pass by much more quickly and soon I was cycling over Cannock Chase and then down through Lichfield and on to Tamworth.
It was quite a long cycle … 60 miles in total. Most of it was quite nice with interesting things to see, in particular: a ploughing match; a field of piglets; a reliant robin gathering and a rather nice canal marina.