Or a Cacophony of Crows, an Ancient Grub and an Elephant Crossing…
We wake to a cacophony of crows. A hearty ‘February Walkers’ Breakfast’ sets us up for the day and we emerge blinking into the sunless morning with a song on our lips and hope in our hearts…
“Yeah right’, I hear Darrell say.
Well at least it’s not the rain, sleet and biting easterly that was forecast.
Or not yet anyway…
Yesterday, the BBC weatherman strongly suggested layering if venturing out this weekend and we take his advice to heart and wear every item of clothing we possess.
Suitably swaddled we head to Arlingham. The Severn is at its most impressive at this point, before it opens up to the Bristol Channel. Here Gloucestershire juts out into the river to form a large promontory forcing the river into a huge sweeping loop widening to well over half a mile at certain points. To the west it is overlooked by the Forest of Dean ridge and to the east by the Cotswold escarpment.
The Bore is formed downstream where the river narrows at Sharpness. A large volume of tidal water is funnelled into a narrowing channel and onto rock rising from the riverbed and a wave is created. In fortnightly cycles the tides reach their highest and lowest points. Near the Severn Bridge the second highest rise and fall of tide in the world has been recorded. Once a month for a few days the tides reach 8m at Sharpness and a bore is released.
We head up a track that leads on to a bank that forms part of the local flood control measures. It is freezing as we walk along the top. The muddy river races by below us and as sandbanks are gradually being exposed we decide it must be an outgoing tide.
We clamber over a fence and onto a small beach below Hock Cliff. This is composed of clay and limestone and contains the fossils of ammonites and belemnites as well as the so called Devil’s Toenails. We rootle about and find a fossilised creature that looks remarkably like an ancient relative of a witchety grub.
We cross fields to Overton and then walk down the lane for half a mile until we pick up the Severn Way. The river is full of sandbanks here and the grey cliffs on the far bank blend into the grey clouds.
The footpath soon takes the form of a dyke which we follow around the head of the promontory and then south to The Old Passage Inn.
Across the river Newnham was the crossing point for the Romans and their elephants before they attacked the fugitive Britons. Today it is rather indistinct in the failing light. The church bells echo over the water.
We take Passage Road, a long, straight lane, back to Arlingham.
It is almost dark by the time we get back to camp and we quickly pitch and make dinner. Curtains closed and with the heating on we shut out the cold, damp world.