Sludgery, drudgery but good friends (Stoke Bruerne to Long Buckby) - In the name of Thiago - Day 274


The weekend of wading along the towpath, (I'm really not exaggerating) of the Grand Union Canal has finally come to an end. I wouldn't say that the rain has been torrential but it certainly has been very persistent, and for the second day in a row, trudging through it was a fairly depressing experience. When I say that, I am speaking only about the physical element of the day. 

It's on days like today when the people you walk with can make such a difference. There were three of us for the trudge from the Canal Boat Museum in Stoke Bruerne, I was joined by an old work colleague in Adrian Fisher and a current one in Martin Thomson. Both did a terrific job in keeping my spirits up on a fairly tough day.

Martin was great company and as a City fan took almost as much enjoyment from Spurs' 6-1 win at Old Trafford this afternoon as I did. Seeing that scoreline certainly helped keep me going as we were nearing the finish line today! And as for Adrian, well his map reading skills were second to none. Not only was he an absolute star when we had to navigate away from the canal path but he also treated both Martin and I to a late lunch at 3pm. 

The canal path being impassable wasn't our only problem. We started heading up this path and I'm ever so slightly frustrated that I didn't take another picture as we went further up it. The strong flow of water that you can see covered the entire width of the path in no time and at one point I had to swing under a bush to carry on up it. My socks were absolutely soaked through and we'd only been going 15 minutes. 

What a find this was. As I mentioned earlier, the wonderfully genial Adrian had said that he wanted to buy lunch and I didn't see that I should protest at his generosity. 

The stop off was in the lovely Northamptonshire village of Nether Hayford, a real find just 15 minutes off the canal path. It was just what the doctor ordered. Some of the food I've been eating this last few days has left a little to be desired but there was certainly nothing to fault in today's offering.

My word, it went down well! And then on we plundered back up the canal towpath having secured a couple more donations to the bucket. Despite the appalling weather, I've still managed to raise another £125 in donations today. Martin and I got a train back together this evening and it was great to hear the passion in his voice when he spoke of the praise he had for the people that we bumped into on the towpath. They really are a friendly bunch. Sure, some of them can be a little odd - or off grid - as my friend from Wednesday's walk, Mark Jeffery described them. But the majority unquestionably have their hearts in the right place.

It will probably be of no interest to you to know that by the end of today I was within striking distance of this place that I'd never heard of before I started my great adventure on the GUC. I don't think it's a mythical place, though I am still yet to be convinced that it's not just a mis-spelt pickle.

The walking days are getting longer and longer and I am getting more and more tired but however tired I get, my little hero Thiago will be driving me forward every step of the way. My suffering is nothing compared to what my brave little boy had to endure. Heroes inspire people to do great things. Whenever anyone questions how a baby, who died aged none months can have such an impact, I simply refer them to what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. Generally speaking, there are no further questions after that. 

At about a quarter to seven we eventually arrived in Long Buckby. The last mile was up an A-road, which as darkness descended wasn't a whole heap of fun, but Adrian being the planning maestro that he is, then produced some hi-vis jackets for himself and Martin. My T-shirt performed the same role. 

I am very, very happy to say that I am at home now and will remain here until Tuesday morning when I will meet with my friend Fiona on the train, when I jump on at Crewe to make my way back to Long Buckby. Angelica has to work tomorrow but at least I'll see her in the evening and her ladyship Elisa before and after school. Now it's time to do some washing!

Please keep the donations coming you lovely people, every penny will be very gratefully received not just by me, but also the two fantastic NHS hospitals that I'm fundraising for - Birmingham Children's Hospital and Royal Stoke University Hospital.


  1. Well done Chris glad to see you're still giving it your all x

    1. Certainly giving it my best shot Amy. Thank you for continuing to read the blog and say hello to Jose for me 😊

  2. It was an honour and a privelige to join you and Adrian yesterday Chris. As you mentioned, I was genuinely amazed at the kindness and generosity of the people we met on all parts of journey. Hope you have had a good rest day and wishing you all the best for the rest of the journey. Martin.

    1. Thank you Martin. It's brilliant to know that you really enjoyed the day, it was fantastic having you with me. Hope the return to work wasn't too much of a struggle today!

  3. Hi Chris,
    What a man! Keep up the good work you are doing, inspirational.
    Looking forward to catching up on Friday


    1. I'm very much looking forward to seeing you on Friday too mate 👍


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