Walking Man – Week 14 in the UK

Posted on October 15, 2007 by


Posted by: Tony Mangan.Welshpool, Wales, to Bidford on Avon, England, via Wolverhampton. 10-4-2007 to 10-10-2007, 106 miles, 16,996 Total World Walk Miles.As I cross the border into England I leave the gentle hills of Wales behind and pass into a pretty much flat plain. Someone told me that the English built a big ditch a long time ago to keep the Welsh in Wales, but I did not see it. Kind of like Hadrian’s Wall up on the border of Scotland. The farm fields are bigger here with less hedgerows as the small farms sell out to the bigger farmers and they tear out hedgerows to make bigger fields as the farm machinery keeps getting bigger. Usually they leave the hedgerow along the road, but sometimes they tear that out and plow to within 1 or 2 feet of the road. You tend to lose more soil to wind blown erosion when you lose the windbreak effect of hedgerows. Plus less blackberries and birds that eat insects. I wonder if anybody has done a study on how much extra crop you get without hedgerows versus how much soil erosion and loss of insect eating birds effects total farm productivity over the long term. Not many dairy cowsor sheep around anymore as the English have had a lot of problems with hoof and mouth disease and now blue tongue disease. I hear a lot of farmers are switching to growing grains because the price is up and to many problems with animals. One guy said they get all their milk from Ireland now.As I came into Wolverhampton one guy stopped and wanted to take my photo. He said he saw me on TV last night. I told him it was probably Jason Lewis as he just finished a 360 circumnavigation of the world by foot, bike, kayak, pedal boat, and Rollerblades. Twelve years and 42,000 miles and he has a website where he writes about his trip at http://www.expedition360.com .Another man stopped to take my photo, but it was Derek, a guy that had been following my website and invited me to stop for a visit and stay overnight. So he meet me a little later and walked back to his house with me. He said he got his life back and walks and bikes everyday now after he lost 90 pounds. He had diabetes and had become insulin resistant, so he had a stomach stapling operation that worked real good. Had a great visit with some nice home cooked meals by his wife, great hot shower, and even did a load of laundry. Derek gave me info on how to find the local Quaker Meeting House, so I went down there Sunday morning to see what one of there services was like. Usually they sit in silence for one hour unless somebody feels called to say something. Only ten people there, so it was quiet the whole time. I kind of had a hard time keeping awake. I will have to try a couple more services and see how I like it. I have always just considered the woods as my church.Walked a nice rail trail south of Wolverhampton for one day of walking. Nice quiet path through a wooded area. I did have to take apart my baby jogger twice to lift it over some metal and concrete barriers that were placed by a railway bridge. One section had 2 groups of kids riding motorcycles that were pretty loud and riding dangerously. I do not think they were supposed to be there.One night as I was coming into Catshill I was having trouble finding a good camping spot. Finally found a soccer field, playground, and green park just as it was getting dark. As soon as I came in about 25 kids surrounded me and starting asking questions about my walk. I wheeled over to the edge of the park behind some trees and started setting up my tent. A bunch of the kids came over and watched and kept asking questions. I collected a couple handfuls of twigs for my kettle and started trying to get a fire going. Kind of embarrassing as I could not get a fire going. Kind of distracted by the kids asking all the questions and I did not get real good dry dead twigs as it was already dark and hard to find good ones. Finally after 6 or 7 balls of newspaper and lots of twigs the water boiled. One young lady had already gone home to look up my website and brought me back a back of oranges from her mom. Finally all the kids went home and I got to eat my dinner and go tobed. I usually like to be hidden when I set up camp, but sometimes I have to take whatever place I can find and I attract a lot of attention.As i was sitting on a bench reading and eating in Binford on Avon one lady with her baby came up to talk to me. About 15 minutes later she pulled her car over and invited me to stay at her place and have dinner and meet her husband. Ben and Karen had been on a 18 month bicycle tour around the world and they knew how nice it was for a world traveler to be invited home for a home cooked meal, shower and warm bed. So I had a real nice visit with them. They have a website up about their world bicycle tour at http://www.karennben.com.I got a nice email from Kieran in Hampton, Virgina. He said he had remembered the talk I gave to his class 3 years ago. He said he got from my talk that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. I will be home in the Newfane NY area for the 1st week of November if anyone wants me to give a free talk to any schools or clubs. You can email me or leave a message at my sisters phone number(7167789730) . I will be driving down to Virgina, then out to Colorado, Utah, and Arizona to visit friends and back to Florida to work by December 3rd. So feel free to email me if you want me to give a talk in your area or just stop for a visit.Only three more weeks left of walking in the UK. Headed down to visit a friend at Oxford, then London. Email me with questions or comments by clicking on reply or from my website at http://www.walkingman.org .Keep on Walking, Biking, and Exercising. Life is Amazing if you get out and experience it.Gary “Walkingman” Hause.