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The plan was to walk along the flood bank between Ten Mile Bank and Ten Mile Bank River as far as Ten Mile Bank, then cross Ten Mile Bank River on the Ten Mile Bank Bridge and walk back along the flood bank between Ten Mile River and the A10.
On the outward leg of the journey, I saw a sheep in the brambles sprawling across the fence at the bottom of the flood bank alongside Ten Mile Bank. It was moving in a strange way; I realised it was caught by its wool in the brambles and was trying to free itself. It was not doing a good job.
‘We’ll have to rescue it,’ I said.
We inched down from the slippery top of the flood bank, where sheep-squelched mud mingled with sheep-dropped poo to the bottom. The sheep’s struggles grew ever more frantic with each step that took us closer to it.
Before we could reach it, the sheep pulled and yanked against the brambles, and wrenched itself free, taking half a bramble bush with it. I imagine the sheep was as relieved as we were, but for different reasons.
Ten Mile Bank
At Ten Mile Bank, we rested on a bench overlooking Ten Mile Bank River by Ten Mile Bank Bridge, and ate our lunch.
Colin had noticed that the Jensyns Arms’ website no longer mentioned being closed for subsidence.
The Jensyns Arms is a pub at Denver Sluice, a few more miles downstream, that has been closed for ages because of subsidence. Colin had been before, but I hadn’t; he suggested going there then on to Downham Market instead of turning back at Ten Mile Bank; we’d get the train back. It seemed like a plan.
But it wasn’t a good plan: the Jensyns Arms was still very shut-looking. I am not convinced it will ever open again.
After Denver Sluice, the River Great Ouse is tidal. The sluice is a huge contraption that controls the flow of the confluence of several waterways.
We continued on to Downham Market walking on the flood bank between the River Great Ouse and the River Great Ouse Relief Channel.
The River Great Ouse had flooded some farmer’s fields beside it, but it looked like it was meant to be deeper and wider and had dried up. The flooding was far below the top of the flood bank.
The River Great Ouse Relief Channel looked more navigable by boat; indeed, it has a small tributary with an unassuming lock that leads to the Middle Level Navigation and the canal network.
We plodded on towards Downham Market, and the first pub we got to, where we sat out in the beer garden.
Our shoes and socks were wet from the grass, and the sun was shining warm, so we took our shoes off to let them and our socks dry; dry feet are much happier than wet feet.
This was my shoes’ first outing. My pair of Altra Lone Peak 6 that I wore for Hadrian’s Wall had developed a hole in the back of the heel where my foot had rubbed against it.
I tried them out, just to see, at parkrun when I was tail walking. This was a bad idea: I gave myself a massive blister that only Compeed could fix.
Even though I loved my Lone Peak 6 shoes, it was time to buy a new pair.
Before I went to the same shop I bought the 6 from, I put the shoes on and worked out exactly what I did to cause the rubbing so I could test that out in the shop before buying new ones; it was when I put my foot down.
In the shop, I found the Altra Lone Peak 7 for women – purple! – and tried a pair on in my size. They did fit, but they were far too cosy in length and width. The next size up they had in stock was one and a half sizes bigger; these were far too big. I was really disappointed.
The assistant went away and came back with the men’s shoe one size above my normal shoe size and another style in the women’s. The latter were awful: too much padding. The former, however, did fit.
I walked round the shop, being sure to put my feet down in an exaggerated manner to test out the rubbing at the heel; no rubbing. I concluded that the Lone Peak 6 must have also been that bit too small; half a size or a whole size up would have been better.
Walking to Downham Market in the men’s Lone Peak 7 had broken my new shoes in well, with no obvious problems. Success.
We had a mini wander round the town before heading to the train station and home.
It had been a nice walk, but it’s always good get back home, where the sofa awaits.