Day 24

Wolverhampton to Stafford – 20.6 miles (390.8 total)

A succession of canal locks leaving Wolverhampton

John had difficulty finding accommodation for us in Stafford on a Saturday night so booked us in for two nights at the same hotel in Wolverhampton. The benefit of this was that for the first time since Day 1, Lands End to Penzance, I enjoyed the luxury of only carrying a day pack rather than my 8 kilo full pack. That was a welcome change and my poor feet can only have benefited from the experience. The downside was that I had to alter my planned route to now end at Stafford railway station so I could catch the train back to Wolverhampton and return there tomorrow morning.

Canal Junction

The next canal connection point was Autherley Junction where our canal meets the Shropshire Union Canal, one that I’ve walked a long section of from Chester. From there the canal took a very winding route eventually running parallel, for a time, with the M6 motorway, the main route north on the western side of the UK.

The M6 motorway

After 13 miles we reached the small town of Penkridge, which marked the end of John and Trevor’s planned journey. After a short refreshment I headed of on my own to keep to my schedule. I soon crossed under the motorway. There was nothing much out of the ordinary about the remainder of my walk. I followed the canal to Acton Trussell where I said goodbye, for the last time, to the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. My change of route now meant some roadwalking into the centre of Stafford and my ultimate destination for the day, the railway station. We started a walk, three years ago at Stafford, The Heart of England Way. The actual start was a few miles out of town so, because we took a taxi, I can’t consider this a Kerching. See, I’m an honest bloke, really.

Penkridge Marina

I do remember Stafford being an awkward town to navigate through and so it proved to be again today.
By the end I’d walked 20.6 miles, meaning I’ve covered some 80 miles in 4 hard days. My feet are a tad tender tonight so a planned short day tomorrow, to Stone, is something that I am looking forward to. As for the weather, the threatened rain never arrived; in fact the day became very hot and humid reaching a high of 22°C.