When I first started walking in England, I thought I could walk twenty miles a day. Even on the level Thames path, I couldn’t walk that far! Then I tried to cut it down to about two thirds of that. What determined how far I walked was the distance between Bed and Breakfasts. My written guide only partially coordinated with the maps of overnight accommodations, so where I stayed was half chance. I started reserving my Bed and Breakfasts closer together.
When I was on the Cotswold Way, I got lost three times. It was easy to get confused at cross paths or places where there were several forks close together. After my first experience at being lost, I decided to cut the distance even further. I finally settled on approximately eight miles a day. That way, if I got to my nights lodging early, I could go out and walk around the town or the country side; if I got lost, I would still have time to get back onto the trail and find my way to my nights lodging. It was still difficult to gage the distance. After that, the longest I walked in a day was fourteen miles, and the shortest was two miles.
Once I got lost because there was a full fledged stream running across the path that would have been above my knees, and I thought I could walk around and circle back. Fortunately, the owner of the Bed and Breakfast came looking for me on his motor bike.
Another time I got lost in a downpour of rain–a real gully washer. I stumbled upon a huge but deserted race track and from there to a highway and a town. I sat in the entry hall of a popular pub, dripping on the slate floor until I was dry enough to eat lunch, after which the proprietor told me how to get back on the path.
Another time I walked for miles on what I thought was the path, until I became suspicious because of the lack of path markers (a white 6” square with a gold dot in the middle). Upon asking a passing motorist, I found I had to back-track at least three miles. Later I was told that Camilla Parker Bowles lived in the area and didn’t like the path traversing her property, so she continually took the signs down. At least I had something and somebody to blame–and who better than her?