Solo trip for me this time as Michelle (the other half of Wild Terrain) had giving herself a mass of blisters due to her need to have a daily jogging fix. Its good to go with someone but Michelle is a little bit fussy about where she sleeps outside, where provided its sort of dry and flat I will bed down in any old ditch, which surprisingly is exactly where I ended up on this outing 🙂
Walking to the Tardebigge
Its only about a 7 mile trek from home base to the Tardebigge which is too short a distance if you want to make a day of it. Opting to make the most of the nice sunny day ahead I choose the much longer route of road walking from Redditch out to meet the Canal at Hanbury Wharf then north towards the reservoir. Being one of the few stretches of canal around the Midlands that I haven’t walked before was looking forward to some new scenery.
Timing the road walk to miss all the heavy end of work day traffic was essential as the last few miles before Hanbury Wharf doesn’t have much of a grass verge. Even with that planning this part took the longest due to having to get out of the way of the bigger lorries using the road. After 10 miles of boring road I was more than happy to see the Worcester and Birmingham canal at Hanbury Wharf.
Picking up the pace on the canal was easy without worrying about getting run over all the time and was necessary if there was any chance of hitting the reservoir before dark. Had a few bad moments when getting close to the Tardebigge with the worst dizziness Ive ever felt while out walking and had to remind myself that after 7 solid hours of walking in the sun maybe it was time for a break 🙂
Ten minutes sat on the floor cleared the head enough and luckily made it to the Tardebigge with about an hour of daylight left, plenty of time to find somewhere to crash for the night (and I was more than ready for it).
Never one for an audience when wild camping I didn’t want to bed down by the reservoir itself as it was full of people setting up for a long night of fishing, although I imagine the one I saw who accidentally dropped his sleeping bag in the water was going to have a less comfortable one then his mates.
Walking out the back of the reservoir brings you onto a mass of fields already filled with a young crop at this time of year. Always trying to leave zero proof that Ive slept there I walked around the edge of the field until I come to a spot with a bit of tree cover. It wasn’t as flat as I would have liked but it would have to do. Learned long ago to take any spot that doesn’t look half bad instead of wandering around (especially when tired) trying to find something better that doesn’t always surface.
Not the most comfortable place Ive ever slept but well out of the way, hidden and a bit of tree cover to deflect the little bit of rain that looked possible during the night.
The Morning After
Waking up at 6am to a fresh morning already starting to warm up (when the sun managed to get through the cloud) it was time to make a move. Unless camping in some of our favorite spots I never hang around in the morning, and as I was essentially in someones field of crops a bit of speed packing is always a good idea.
The ground was a little damp from the overnight rains making it a touch slippy underfoot. My trusty sleeping bag was smelling bad after having a good soaking and was scheduled for a wash once I got it home. Routine took over while I packed everything away, double checked I had all my gear and did a quick walk around to make absolutely sure the ground where I slept was clean.
Feeling pretty good meant I’d had a enough sleep and chewed up the mile left of the canal before hitting the road again to start the 6 miles back to Redditch, home and a hot cup of coffee.
Distance Breakdown of the Entire Walk
Redditch to Hanbury Wharf : 10 Miles
Hanbury Wharf to The Tardebigge : 11 Miles
Tardebigge to Redditch : 7 Miles
Total : 28 Miles