Monday, 30 July 2007

Day 11 - Leominster to Chipping Sodbury

26th July

It rained overnight. The forecast had been for rain, and I hoped that it had been and gone. But I was wrong. The weather set in around 9 am and the rain became heavier and persistent.

Hopes that it might pass were in vain, as John struggled with mending a puncture beneath the shelter outside the Youth Hostel. The Hostel had once been part of the old Priory buildings, and original stonework is still visible in one wall. In the nineteenth century, it had been a workhouse.

The boys set off in heavy rain for Gloucester, which had suffered serious flooding less than a week previously.

Len and I drove forward, enjoying a very substantial and high quality lunch at The Beauchamp Arms at Dymock, a community owned pub. Ominously, a road here was already closed.

Once we arrived in Gloucester and missed the first turn to Stroud over the Severn, we turned back only to find that the police had closed the road in the interval. Not even the A417 from Ledbury was open. We urged the boys to press on through the rising floods on the road from Leominster.

The Tesco loos and cafe were closed in Gloucester because of the lack of water. A pumping station had been flooded.

But they got through eventually, and found the road to Stroud joining the A46 south to Chipping Sodbury northeast of Bristol. This was not an easy road. Lots of climbs and steep sections. At least it stopped raining in the early part of the afternoon.

Len and I went before to meet Josh Knowles' Dad, Mark, at Chipping Sod. Forewarned, he built up a huge log fire in front of which the lads could warm themselves and dry their clothes and shoes.

A huge barbecue appeared which was totally consumed. Thank goodness for parents!

Photos show John mending a puncture, departure from Leominster, flood on road to Gloucester, The Beauchamp Arms, and a water bowser in Gloucester.

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