Local Co-ordinators

Two Saints Way have a team of volunteer local co-ordinators – their role is to oversee the section of the route in their locality, making sure the footpaths are clear and the signs are still in place.  If you have any concerns or comments about sections of the path then do contact one of our co-ordinators:

Chester: Catherine Green catherine.green@care4free.net and Lyn Collins lyn.collins@live.co.uk – From Chester to the boundary with Cheshire East between Beeston and Bunbury

Nantwich: Nigel Winzer nigel.winzer@btinternet.com with raybetmor@hotmail.co.uk – From Bunbury to the M6 near Barthomley

Stoke-on-Trent: Marg Hardcastle marg.twosaintsway@gmail.com –  From M6 near Audley to Trentham – including the route through Stoke.

Stone: Paul Graetz paulandberyl@tesco.net – From Salt to Stoke Minster

Stafford: Peter Graysmith petergraysmith@berkswich.org.uk – From Salt to Marquis Drive

Lichfield: Lilas Rawling lilas.rawling@gmail.com with Angela Bickley angela.bickley49@yahoo.co.uk from Marquis Drive to Lichfield

Two Saints Way Progress Report

The Two Saints Way GuidebookTSW_Guidebook It has been a major task getting the guidebook ready – the assembling of photographs and obtaining permissions has proved a lengthy process. Finalising the mapping is the final task before we can hopefully publish later in the year.

Inevitably changes occur with the route such as kissing gates being installed in place of stiles. For that reason it would be very good if we could find volunteers who could walk different parts of the route in the next two months before it goes for publication. If you can help in this way do contact David Pott at dlpott@twosaintsway.org.uk and we will send you the relevant part of the guide for you to check for accuracy.

We are thinking of having a walk on the Two Saints Way with book launches in Chester, Nantwich, Stoke, Stone, Stafford and Lichfield.

 

Spam or not?
Since Christmas we have had a sudden upsurge in people signing up to receive notifications of these blogs. We cannot think of any article or programme which may have caused this increase and although the email addresses appear to be genuine, we are not certain if they are. If you have signed up since Christmas, could you please email admin@twosaintsway.org.uk to confirm that you are a real person!

By the Way

In recent months there have been some excellent articles in the Swynnerton Parish Magazine about different people who have been impacted in some way by the Two Saints Way. I am very grateful to Frank Mugglestone who edits the magazine and wrote this article for permission to use it for this blog…

Frank Mugglestone“The pilgrims of old would have stayed here” says Tony Liveing. Hewas showing us the ruins of St.Thomas’ Priory just next to the old Mill House, a Grade II listed building, where he and his wife Marie have lived for the past fourteen years.

We were able to see the priory by kind permission of their neighbour, who owns the land where the remains of the 12th century priory are to be found. Tony told us that the priory, which was destroyed during the Reformation, was once owned by Rowland Lee, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, who married Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. As a return for the favour he was allowed to buy the priory, and rumour has it that he is buried in the grounds. Afterwards we were invited for coffee in the lovely old Mill House, where Marie, who had been looking at our Parish Magazine, told us that she had been ‘blessed’, alas not by something deeply spiritual in one of the articles, but by finding a carpet cleaner in one of the advertisements!

Marie LiveingThe couple first came across the Old Mill when they were walking in the area and saw that it was for sale. Says Tony “I rang the estate agent who said that it had already been sold, but Marie suggested we went back to look at it again, and we met a relative of the owners, who told us that the buyers couldn’t get a mortgage, and it was for sale again. The house was in ruins, but after praying about it we decided to buy it and renovate it. Do you always have to see a clear long term vision, or sometimes just walk blindfold and trust that it’s God’s will? It’s been a rocky road and we’ve still got a long way to go.” Marie told us about some of the problems they had had with plumbing and flooding. “Our house was even featured in the TV series ‘Real Wrecks’!”

Like the monks of old Marie and Tony have provided accommodation for a
(modern day) pilgrim, who was looking into the possibility of using the pilgrim route as a youth activity. The Liveings belong to St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Stafford. When they had finished renovating their house it was blessed by their priest. “Every year, on the nearest Saturday to the 27th July we have a service in our barn in memory of Blessed Robert Sutton who was hanged drawn and quartered for being a priest” they told us.

Although they were both brought up in the Roman Catholic Church Marie and Tony have many connections with other churches. For Marie her faith has always been central to her life, and she even considered becoming a nun.” I spent a week at St Cecilia’s Benedictine Abbey, an enclosed order at Ryde, Isle of Wight. I still keep up the connection by praying for them and they pray for me” she explains.

Tony indicates their home right on the Two Saints Way

Tony indicates their home right on
the Two Saints Way

She told us about a terrifying ordeal when she went for a walk in the snow at Glen Coe with her brothers: “Afterwards we intended glissading (a controlled slide using ice axe) down the mountain. My brothers went first and I followed, but I relaxed too much, gathered speed, went out of control and began to panic. Then I prayed. My brothers were convinced I was dead, but I believe it was praying that helped me to relax and saved me from being badly injured.” Unlike Marie, Tony moved away from the Church and rejected everything Catholic. “While I was at agricultural college in York I was feeling lonely and lost and decided to go to Mass, although I hadn’t been near a church for months. I saw Marie there and we eventually got to know each other. In the meantime a friend from college persuaded me to visit an Anglican church where I met the vicar, David Watson. Although he was going off on a mission he took the trouble to write to me that night and it was this personal contact that influenced me greatly and I became a Christian.”

After the couple moved to Stafford Tony went to Rising Brook Baptist Church, and also to the Roman Catholic Church with Marie and their children. “I felt I needed a broader view of Christianity” he says. Tony and Marie are both committed members of the Catholic Church, and find comfort in the structure, theological roots and authority they find there, but other churches and house groups have had an influence, particularly on Tony.
“We’re all God’s children” they told us“ and we’re still a work in progress.”

Ken & Sue’s Pilgramige

For the blog this month, I am handing over to Sue Down who with her husband Ken
have been journeying along the Two Saints Way. Here’s their story…

Ken & I are grandparents, still working but approaching retirement age. We haven’t done much walking but do run quite a bit and have managed to complete a couple of half marathons. When we heard about the Two Saints Way, we were excited at the prospect of walking a long-distance path that went through our ‘own patch’. We loved the fact that the path has such a richness about it from retracing the footsteps of ancient pilgrims and getting a good view of the Staffordshire Hoard; exploring our  industrial heritage through the Potteries and the canals; having the opportunity to level in glorious countryside such as Cannock Chase and the Trentham Estate as well as exploring beautiful English cities, towns and villages.

So the decision was made to walk the way in six days, beginning on 1st April. We planned the route by comparing the draft guide book to Google Earth and an Ordnance Survey Street Atlas that we had. We booked a couple of B&Bs and contacted friends in Baddeley Green. David sent out a barrage of emails to let people know that we were on our way and four friends and their dog agreed to join us for the first day.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable time exploring Chester on Bank Holiday Monday, the highlight being a very informative tour of the Cathedral led by Nick Fry. The weather was dry and sunny albeit bitterly cold. We were very glad to stretch our legs and set off for Christleton. After having a good look round this pretty village we headed for The Cheshire Cat which backs onto the canal. We were superbly well looked after and would have no hesitation in recommending this excellent Innkeepers Lodge.

Tuesday was another dry, bright day with a cold wind. We set off towards Nantwich at a brisk pace which, sadly, we were not able to maintain throughout the day. Ken developed painful blisters on his heels and later in the day I too discovered a few problems with my feet. We lost our way for a time at Calveley when we couldn’t find any way markers to help us. We soon got back onto the canal towpath and continued on our way. To keep our spirits up, we found ourselves singing old hymns – fortunately, there were not many people around at that point! I think the highlight of the day must be limping into Nantwich, 11 hours after we set out, eating fish & chips from the shop on Chester Road. We stayed the night at The Crown Hotel, a bit pricey but a very welcome resting point.

We started Wednesday with a tour of the beautiful St Mary’s Nantwich, thanks to Alan Joslyn, and the purchase of every blister treatment in the town. So with Ken’s wounds dressed and new socks on, off we went again. We decided to walk as far as the village of Hough and then get a bus as Ken’s feet were not up to more than 7 miles. Another dry day saw us crossing fields and strolling along country lanes. We stopped for coffee at the Swan Inn at Wybunbury which was most welcome. You can see on the left the very first Two Saints Way signs to be erected and a new panel with the map also. We got a bus to Crewe, then to Hanley and then to Baddeley Green, where we passed a very comfortable night with friends.

On Thursday morning we were finally able to see the Staffordshire Saxon and the Hoard, at The Potteries Museum, having failed on a couple of previous occasions.  We were back on the bus and heading for home in Stafford by lunchtime. More blister treatment and a night in our own bed saw us ready to fight another day.

Intrepid explorer on Two Saints Way near Tixall!

 

The path goes through the centre of Stafford and out along the River Sow to the edge of Cannock Chase at Milford. That is about 6 miles from our house so our plan was to reassess our fitness when we got there. I’m pleased to say that were able to keep going and enjoyed a fabulous 17 mile walk across the Chase to Beaudesert where Angela Bickley very kindly met us with hot chocolate and biscuits. The last pull up a steep, snow covered trail in the woods was tough but it was well worth it for the views from Castle Ring, the Iron Age fort on the highest point of the Chase.

After another very comfortable night spent with John & Christine Polhill at Reflections, their retreat centre home, we were off again. Wonderful sunshine, no wind for the first time all week and snow stacked up against the hedges. It was a delightful 8 mile stroll into Lichfield. We met up with Lilas Rawling, who walked the last little way with us and before we knew it we were at St Chad’s Well with Mike Preston excitedly showing us the drawings of the archaeological digs on the site. It was a fantastic, heady moment and I felt as though I could have turned around and walked all the way back to Chester!

Mission accomplished!

Probably just as well that Ken was there to keep my feet where they belonged and Lilas very kindly offered us a lift back to Stafford.

Two Saints Way is a wonderful walk that I would recommend to anyone. We learned many lessons about our own capabilities, God’s provision and the beauty of creation and the importance of having the right equipment for the job. We would be happy to help anyone else who is planning to walk the way and can always offer a bed for the night in Stafford. Oh, and we do intend to go back and walk the missing 30 miles!

Pilgrims’ Friends – Modern Knights Hospitallers

One of the features of the Two Saints Way is looking at various features of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages and then seeing how they might be applied in ways that would be relevant for pilgrimage today. Recently I have been thinking about the role of the Knights Hospitallers. Here is something about their duties from a useful website:
http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/knights-hospitaller.htm

The group initially cared for the pilgrims who had reached Jerusalem following a long and arduous journey. However the order was soon extended into providing an armed escort to pilgrims. The escort soon grew into a substantial force. The Order of Saint John the Hospitaller included both knights and monks. The members of the Knights of the Order of Saint John the Hospitaller were both monks and knights. These men of the new order took the monastic vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience and they added a fourth vow, which bound them to protect pilgrims and fight the infidels.

Obviously there is a negative side here especially about ‘fighting the infidels’ and they were involved with the Crusades, but I am interested in the aspect of caring for the needs of pilgrims. Could we on the Two Saints Way have modern Knights Hospitallers who would be ready to help pilgrims in a variety of ways? Perhaps they could be called ‘Pilgrims’ Friends.’ Here are the sort of things I have in mind…

  • B&B provision tends to change quite frequently and it’s difficult for oneperson to keep up to date with what is available in every place between Chester and Lichfield.
  • Some people will be looking for simpler accommodation than what is provided in a B&B or hotel – several people want something that may be a little more akin to how it was in the Middle Ages. There will also be youth groups who would be looking for church hall floors or camping. The local Pilgrims’ Friend would be someone who knew what was available for those ona low budget.
  • People from overseas can often find that there is something that puzzlesthem or is unfamiliar and it would be helpful if they knew there was someone nearby who could help them with their problem.
  • Things are always changing on footpaths such as a new kissing gate
    replacing a stile or a new post being installed that doesn’t have a Two Saints Way marker on it. A Pilgrim’ Friend could walk their local section three times a year to check the situation and report any problems.

It would be good to find people who are interested in pilgrimage and also have a heart for hospitality. I am glad to say that already some people have offered to become Pilgrims’ Friends. If any of you reading this blog would be interested in becoming a Pilgrims’ Friend do get in touch with me via the contact page.

Pilgrims’ Friends along the Two Saints Way would be something personally very satisfying for me as I leave Stone and move to the Isle of Arran which has been much in the news of late because of the huge amount of snow it had recently and the days there without electricity. Some of you will have heard already about this move. We shall be getting involved with a fascinating new project at Sannox on the north east coast of the island. Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9D48XyRuQ & www.sannox.org to find out more.

Let me assure you that I shall be continuing my involvement with the Two Saints Way and also we have family in Stone so will be back from time to time. Thanks to the internet, it will not be difficult to keep things moving with the main things that need completing at this stage which are the interpretation panels and the guide book.

Other news
The new Two Saints Way leaflet has just been printed and you can download it from the home page. There has been an excellent 7 page article in the heritage tourism magazine ‘Discover Britain’. You can read it on page 16 here http://ow.ly/h3ZZP There is also an editorial about the Two Saints Way on page 3.

Beautiful Wintry Stoke

On Tuesday January 22nd I’d made an arrangement to show my friend Marg Hardcastle the Two Saints Way route through Stoke-on-Trent. With all the snow we’ve been having I wondered if we were going to be able to do it, but fortunately it was a brilliant sunny below freezing day, so we were able to meet up as planned.

We started at the point where the Two Saints Way leaves the canal by Oliver’s Mill in Middleport. It’s a grade 2 listed building. In this photo you can see the red loading doors and at the far end are two calcining hovels with their contrasting shapes.

From there we walked along the site of the Burslem Arm which was a short section of canal into the heart of Burslem. It was closed by a breach in the canal in 1961. The Burslem Port Project is hoping to restore the canal. We trudged on through the snow into Grange Park. You can see a Two Saints Way sign in the photo above. It’s hard to believe you’re in the centre of a city as you walk through here!

Next we came to the intriguing 1986 Festival Garden site. You never know what you’re going to stumble upon next – a fine wooden bridge over a manmade ravine, a stone circle, a sculpture gradually getting lost in the trees, a slate path that was part of the Welsh garden – it’s a delight at any time of year! We exited Festival Park past the Etruria Hall and the brick sculpture of Josiah Wedgwood’s head before deciding to pause for a coffee from Costas at the Odeon Cinema.

Duly refreshed I then took Marg on to a secluded pathway which makes use of what was once the Potteries Loop Line. This is not yet officially part of the Two Saints Way as it is not a legal right of way yet although many people use it. I hope we will be able in due course to find some volunteers to make the necessary improvements because this really is an excellent green corridor leading up to Hanley. At the top of the path we turned right to Tescos – remarkably the only shop you pass directly on the route between Chesterton and Tittensor!

The next landmark was the Potteries Museum which is of course a special location for the Two Saints Way because of the Staffordshire Hoard being on display there. Before we crossed the Potteries Way, we enjoyed a very well preserved bottle oven in smart offices which used to be Smithfield Pottery.

Footpath on former Potteries Loop Line

Soon after passing the conspicuous City Central Mosque we entered Hanley Park where we struck up a conversation with two charming Africans who were busy making their first ever snowman! One was from Chad – I should have talked to him about St Chad! – and the other lived in Lisbon and had parents from Angola and Cape Verde Islands. Every time I walk through Stoke on the Two Saints Way I seem to add a new nationality to my list!

For our last stretch we slipped onto the Caldon Canal and enjoyed the mixture of ice and reflections in the water as well as the fading glories of the industrial heritage seen in such things as this attractive green loading door. We descended two locks to conclude our walk at Etruria where the Caldon Canal reaches the Trent and Mersey.

We strongly recommend this walk. It’s a wonderful introduction to fascinating Stoke-on-Trent which needs to stand up and be proud for being quirky and out of the ordinary! If you want to make it a circular walk you can simply walk on north up the Trent and Mersey from Etruria and return to Middleport. It’s a total of 5 miles. If you’d like maps of the route check my other blog about Stoke on June 4 2012.

Caldon Canal at Etruria

NB You might like to get a copy of the new issue of Discover Britain which has a 7 page article on the Two Saints Way. It can be found on line at http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=f98b10a4-d04d-499a-b65d-c0d523665415 It starts on page 16.

 

Winter Morning

Last Wednesday was a clear frosty morning so I decided to hop in the car just
before sunrise to take a walk on the Two Saints Way at Trentham Estate.
Here’s a few images with comments on what was a very enjoyable time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started at Monument Lane Tittensor – I liked the post with its frosty pyramid.  The second image shows the sun breaking through as I got close to the Sutherland Monument.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a view looking north to King’s Wood and the Monkey Forest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just had to stop on my way home and take this one by Meaford Locks.

By the way, Trentham Estate is one of the few places where I didn’t put up the
waymarks. Because of the changes taking place with the Jubilee Diamond
Wood development, we discussed the signage in October and it was put up for
me a short while after. It was good to see the job done and Trentham Estates
have been excellent partners in the project.

Personally I think there is no better time to walk the Two Saints Way than a
frosty week in winter – especially after all the wet weather this year! I’d also
suggest that with the low sun at this time of year it’s better to follow the wild
Werburgh goose and walk from Lichfield to Chester. That’s a lot better for
views and a lot better than walking into the sun.

Finally, if you’d like to see a very good article about the Two Saints in the
Rambler’s Association Walk Magazine please go to
http://www.walkmag.co.uk/features/routemaster-in-depth-two-saintsway/

Christmas and New Year greetings to you all!

RANTING ALONG FOR THE TWO SAINTS WAY

A major aspect of my work at the moment is working on the Two Saints Way interpretation panels. One of the most interesting places where there will be a panel is at Englesea Brook. The great majority of churches on the Two Saints Way are Anglican, but Englesea Brook Chapel and its museum is something completely different.

I like the way that this interpretation panel will have some especially good stories
connected with it! Money for the panel has been raised through a 13.5 mile sponsored
walk that took place on Saturday September 29th. John Cornell, a great enthusiast who I have met on some of my visits, lives by the chapel and was the sponsored person.

On the day, John (on the left in this photo) was accompanied by volunteers from the museum and other local people. It began appropriately at Mow Cop car park below the ‘castle’ folly. This is the particular place that will always be associated with the beginnings of the Primitive Methodist movement. It was here in 1807 that two significant camp meeting took place that provided the impetus for the rapid spread of the movement. Because of their practice of singing hymns in the streets the first Primitive Methodists were called ‘Ranters’ which is why John called his walk ‘Ranting Along.’ One of the founders of the movement, Hugh Bourne was a terrific walker – one of his boots is on display at the museum and it has a hole in it because of all the hundreds of miles he walked!

Forward again to 2012 and for those of you who know the area or like following maps
here’s the route the walkers took… They crossed into the High Street and then continued down the famously steep Top Station Road. Beyond the steepest part of the road they veered off to the left over a stile in the hedge, across a field and then it was downhill all the way to the A34 in Scholar Green. After carefully negotiating the main road they followedpaths and tracks leading to the Trent and Mersey Canal. Over the bridge, with a brief backward glance at the view of Mow Cop, they took to the tow path to Thurlwood Farm. It was then on to Lawton Heath, emerging through the ground of a small house onto Betchton Lane and finally after the challenge of further stiles and bridges they made it to

Halfway picnic

Pikemere Primary School gate. Hurrah they had made it to the halfway point! Packed
lunches were enjoyed and new walkers greeted ready for the remaining miles. After the hard slog of the roads they welcomed the new terrain of tracks and footpaths over the M6, where they momentarily forgot how footsore and weary they were and grateful not to be stuck in the traffic as they waved to those who were!

They followed the South Cheshire Way past Haslington Hall, Crewe Golf Course, and
across the busy Butterton Lane into a quieter pastures that led to a bridge crossing the Crewe to Alsager railway. Eventually a bridge crossing the A500 brought them towards the village of Barthomley. A final couple of miles and they were thankfully home to Englesea Brook for afternoon tea and cakes.

Thankfully the weather was fine and all that remained to do was enjoy a well earned soak in a hot salt bath and collect in the sponsorship money!

I think it is just perfect that money for this panel was raised by a walk following this historic route – perhaps it should become an official spur off the Two Saints Way sometime!?

I’m sure High Bourne himself would have been proud of all the walkers and what’s been achieved!

For more on Englesea Brook Museum see http://www.engleseabrook-museum.org.uk/

Jill Barber Project Director of the Museum displays the fruits of John Cornell’s efforts

The Irish Two Saints Way Connection

I have always had a hunch that in the Middle Ages there may have been Irish pilgrims walking along what is now the Two Saints Way. My reasons for suspecting
this were twofold…

Firstly, the Irish were known to be keen on pilgrimage and Chester was the most
important trading port between England and Ireland in that period. Surely if they
wanted to travel to Canterbury or even as far as Rome and Jerusalem, the most
obvious route connecting up significant shrines would include Chester, Lichfield,
Coventry, St Albans and London?

Secondly I knew that monks from Chester had spread the cult of St Werburgh into Ireland. In 1178 the Church of St Werburgh was built in Dublin and in 1183 Benedictine monks were sent to assist at Downpatrick Cathedral. There is also a St Werburgh’s Well pictured here near Dublin. The shrine of St Werburgh at
Chester would have provided an added impetus for pilgrims contemplating longer pilgrim journeys.

In May I stumbled across a fascinating blog by Edel Mulcachy about Medieval Irish pilgrimage see https://edelmulcahy.wordpress.com/about/ I emailed Edel and she soon supplied me with some concrete evidence of an actual pilgrimage journey in 1323 by a friar with the not very Irish sounding name of Symon Semeonis! In the account of his pilgrimage called Itinerarium Symonis Semeonis ab Hybernia ad Terram Sanctam he describes starting off from Clonmel and then journeying across the Irish Sea from Dublin to Chester where he celebrated Easter before journeying on via Stafford and Lichfield to London, Canterbury, Rome, across to North Africa and via Alexandria to Jerusalem!

What an extraordinary journey that was! I had previously thought that maybe Irish
pilgrims from the northern half of the island would have come via Chester, but
Clonmel is in the south west so it seems Dublin to Chester was the preferred sea
route for pilgrims.

Through my initial connection with Edel Mulcachy, I have also connected with
another Irish person Louise Nugent who also has a blog on pilgrimage at http://pilgrimagemedievalireland.com/ I had the pleasure of meeting her in person
recently when I was over in Ireland for a conference. She is particularly interested
in holy wells and it was she who told me about St Werburgh’s Well.

I very much hope that through these connections, we will hopefully unearth more
discoveries about Irish pilgrims of the past but also I very much hope there will soon
be another flow of Irish pilgrims following in Symon’s footsteps on the Two Saints
Way! May they find a warm and hospitable welcome. And in return, if you haven’t
explored some of the Irish pilgrimage sites, I can highly recommend them. My
favourites are the Skellig Islands, several sites on the amazing Dingle Peninsula
and Glendalough.

“I’m Signing in the Rain!”

The last five weeks have seen a major focus on waymarking the countryside sections of the Two Saints Way. I amglad to be able to report that about 60 miles (two thirds) of the route is now signed. We have been working entirely in the countryside and waymarking in the urban areas will take some time as there is quite a lot of formfilling to be done first.

All hands on deck!

We began this round of signing in Acton on June 11th linking up the route between the Llangollen and the Shropshire Union canals. Rev Peter Lillicrap and churchwarden Charles Hull put up some waymarks at the start and then it was good to have Martinand Kitty Boot signing with us whom we had met on the pilgrimage. On June 13 TimSaxton and I drove out from Stone and met John Steadman in Wybunbury for a thoroughly good drenching! We signed around the village which we had planned to complete before their annual fig pie rolling event.

On June 18, Tim and I were joined by Ram and also Angela Bickley and Lilas Rawling to do the signage between Castle Ring and Farewell. It was incredible to notice the amazing difference between when we walked at the end of March when it was so dry.Watery Lane between Gentleshaw and Chorley had been only a little bit watery inMarch but was now quite a challenge to get through! So many places were overgrown.It gives us great admiration for those sturdy pilgrims who have continued to walk theroute after all this rain. Paul Graetz who came on the pilgrimage, recently did the wholeroute with a combination of biking and running in two days to raise funds for Douglas Macmillan Hospice!

On July 4 Ram brought Staffordshire University’s ViceChancellor Michael Gunn for a photo opportunity signingat Beacon Hill. Staffordshire University has of course beenan active partner and Ram had raised the money to adoptthe Beacon Hill mile. I had in mind to for Michael to signon the hillside so that we could get a good view ofStaffordshire University behind him, but when I saw him in his pinstriped suit and shiny black shoes I was not sure whether we would be able to do the deed! To the rescue came local farmer Richard Clarke and beckoned us into his 4×4 and drove us steeply up the hill and round to the stile with the perfect view. Fortunately this was a rare sunny day as you can see from the photo!

We drove up to Apedale Country Park on July 13 to meet countryside ranger Steve Spackman. We signed from their over to Audley in more normal rain! It was about this time that I started to sing:

I’m signing in the rain, just signing in the rain,What a glorious feeling I’m soaking again!

I’m sure one of you readers would like to have a crack at adding some more appropriate words!

Another soaking in Bunbury!

Our longest day of signing was across Cannock Chase on 14 Julyback from Castle Ring to Milford: Common. We even managed to doa little bit more back from Milford Common to St Thomas Priory at Baswich Lane but for our pains we got another tremendous soaking just before we finished!

On 16 July we travelled out to Bunbury and met Jill Robey and Amber Middlemiss. It was another day of pouring wet rain as we signed to Beeston but it didn’t dampen our spirits. There were quite a few places where sticky back markers were required but of course there was no chance of erecting them on a day like this so we have left them with Amber and Jill to put up which they may have done by now seeing summer has arrived!

Since summer has arrived, on July 22nd I actually went out without an anorak to sign between Stafford and Baswich Lane. The River Sow had flooded and it was not possible to get through, but I found another way round to complete signing. This time there was no soaking but I got a headache from the unaccustomed heat of the sun!

Many thanks to all those who have assisted with waymarking – it has been a very satisfying occupation.