Sunday, 26th July, Pitney to Stathe, 7 miles
Rain is forecast for today and sure enough it comes. However, as we are leaving Amy’s stables, it miraculously ceases. But not for long. By the time we get to our rendezvous with Emma, the rain clouds are hovering. She has brought her son, Charlie, along to join us and we set out for a wet walk across the drove roads, Charlie taking the reins for a change and giving me a welcome break from leading Tommy.
We cross Aller Common Moor
and join the River Parrett Trail by the sluice gates
and along the ‘runway’ as it is affectionately known after extensive rebuilding work by the Environment Agency after the floods of recent years,
which runs along between the River Parrett on our left and the Sowy River on our right which acts as a flood relief channel.
Here, Emma is hunting for the picture of her house during the floods which she has stored on her phone and kindly sends me a copy later when I ask if I can post it on my blog (below).
About half way along, we meet Emma’s husband, Andrew, who is waiting for us to pass by so that he can feed his young cattle, not wanting to alarm Tommy by their attentions.
Find abandoned mussel shells along the way, a reminder that this is a tidal river and a rich feeding ground for the elusive cranes, even though these could well be fresh water mussels. Fend off the attentions of a herd of inquisitive cattle, one with long horns that none of us are keen to get too intimate with and my escorts crowd around Tommy to make sure they don’t get too close. As we approach Stathe, there are a few fishermen of the human variety dotted along the bank too, trying their luck in the river.
Just over an hour since we met up, we arrive at a narrow iron bridge that crosses over the River Parrett to Stathe where we find Andrew again, having attended his cattle, has somehow got here before us, opened the gate for us and is waiting to take Emma and Charlie home on the quod, while Tommy and I continue on to Will and Di’s place, the three of them watching until we disappear out of view. This has been a very special walk over the moors and we have reached our destination without having to go through the centre of Langport. Thanks so much for your support, Team Maltby!