This August, to raise money for GSC's New Beginnings Campaign, our Co-Founder is tracing Shakespeare's journey from his home in Stratford-upon-Avon to his place of work, London's Bankside.
This is Matt's blog of his training and the 146-mile walk.
You can sponsor Matt at www.everyclick.com/gscnewbeginnings. @GuildfordBard
Thursday, 18 August 2016
Day 6 - Trees, Bond and Banter
Today's walk was always going to be a tough one...my longest yet, 22 miles.
Started in a beautiful converted barn with coffee and museli, looking out over corn fields. With last night's legs fully rested, my ankle feeling a little better I set off down Turner's Green Lane towards Britwell Salome...what with yesterday's Toot Baldon, I felt like is was in a PG Wodehouse novel!
The walk to Upper Maidensgrove was so tranquil, my first taste of the Chiltern Hills and woods. Recited lots of As You Like It to myself as I walked.
The one thing I have noticed however since arriving in Oxford, is that the way marking is much poorer than previously from Stratford to Oxford. So much so for the first of two times today I completely missed a marker and ended up having to double back on myself, about and extra 1.5 miles!
The trees in the woods were just spectacular, in fact all day today the woods provided not only welcome shade but were so impressively thin, tall and quiet. Following me most of the day were also the Red Kites of this area. So graceful and free.
At the 5 Hourseshoes I was joined for the rest of the day by my very good friend and actor Simon Nock. Those of you who saw this summer's shows will have seen him as my master in Errors and Don Pedro in Much Ado. It had taken him a car journey, 3 trains and a taxi to get to me, but he made it! That's how remote I was today! It was so wonderful to have a friend to walk with for the first time and we had such banter. Simon has been a great friend since he first worked for GSC in 2008, and we share the same silly sense of humour.
However what I had not experienced before was navigating my route with someone else! I hadn't realised how much My head as down before...I think I had just got used to it, commenting to myself on things though it was nice to have someone else talking to inanimate objects...giving names to stiles (Harrys) and hay bales (Gareths).
I also had three radio interviews today! Twice with BBC Surrey and with Kim on Eagle...and typically the last two days have been the worst for signal! In fact that was the first time I had become aware of the need for signal so much...my gps tracker needs the signal to accurately record my distance travelled. Hence also very little social media from me today.
We walked across Stonor House...little highlight for me as it used my fave Bond film The Living Daylights (Dalton the best Bond - controversial I know) as the Bladon Safe House... The sequence with exploding milk bottles...remember that?
Then on into more woods...now it was soon after this that way markers completely disappeared and despite mine and Simon's best efforts we could not identify the right route...and so we did our best and ended up about 4 miles south west of where we should have been. At this point my ankle started started to complain about the mileage I have been asking to it do. We saught to get to Marlowe via the river Thames as we were much nearer to that but the paths just took us in a massive U. With 3 miles left and us already having walked more than Day 6's quota of 22 miles, it was decided for sanity and my ankle to get the bus the final few miles to Marlowe. But don't worry the day's mile quota was covered!
Having Simon today was a godsend and I really enjoyed his company...we did a little film which we'll release later next month.
My BnB - Swiss Cottage - was a wonderful sight, and had a bath!
Tomorrow, 10 miles to Burnham Beeches...should be easier as half is along the Thames. But it is scheduled to be my first day of rain!
Today's stats: difficult because of lack of precise GPS, definitely 22 miles covered art least!