Five go mad in Bristol - Mao

I can hear bells. Its still dark outside. Just got back from Bergamo, I’ve got a day off so why is my alarm ringing at 5.45am. I know, let’s walk from Newport to Bristol to raise money for the football club. I am 42 years of age. Yes, why not? Come on, get dressed, have breakfast, can’t wait to get outside, get outside, realise that its absolutely pissing down with rain so burst into tears and grab my umbrella.

Mikey D and his good lady wife treat me like the buffoon I have become. Never mind its just walking. In the rain. Its for a good cause.

A few days earlier the M4 was shut so I missed my flight to Bergamo, maybe it will happen again so I won’t have to shuffle mile after mile across the border.

The M4 is empty, we breeze into Newport. Soon we are at Spytty Park where my fellow walkers await in the darkness. They spent the previous day walking down to Newport from Merthyr, avoiding landslides along the way.

We wave off our transport and head off down to the Coldra, a short walk just to get going. I’ve got my head down, umbrella up so its quite fortunate that the 3 mere striplings have the sense to keep an eye of the road’s standing water so I narrowly avoid getting drenched by the numerous lorries that thunder past us. Kyle is good spirits, already toying with the half-bottle of whiskey in his pack, Dean is filling me in on the mega trek down the Valleys and Mozz remains quiet. We’ve been walking for 30 minutes and we haven’t reached anywhere.

First personal crisis, I need a shit. No easy way to break that news, it’ll have to be a stop at the Hilton or Holiday Inn at the Coldra. I just make it, brazenly walking past reception in my soaked clothes. Back outside the lads have had a meeting and tell me that they’ve decided that the rain may be in for the day so we’re going to ………. carry on regardless. I cry inside. 

Across the Coldra and we’re finally on the A48, our companion for the next day or so, there’s been a few songs about roads over the years but I’ve yet to hear one about the A48, shame really as it’s an atmospheric place.

Right, here we start. No, we’ve stopped at a burger van so that the lads can have bacon rolls etc, well we are athletes and we need to prepare right. Mozz has a packet of crisps.

The A48 meaners off into the distance as your hardy travellers trek, soon we develop into the routine for the day, I head off, a solitary figure whilst behind me the three young ones nurse their aching limbs ever forward, at every landmark I rest and wait for them to catch up. A bus shelter. Kyle is sitting there with his trousers around his ankles, not a pretty sight but it amuses us. But its serious, we have a chefing problem. He’s genuinely sore and we face our first team crisis. I have a pair of old Wales shorts, pretty soon Kyle is striding along the road in a pair of shorts. Mozz has opened another packet of crisps.

Now Gwent is flat. Very flat. The road seems to go on for miles and miles. It can get very dispiriting but after a while you get used to the monotony of it; you walk, rest, chat, watch Mozz eating crisps and then you walk some more.

What you can do without though is incorrect traffic signs? Just past Caerwent there’s a sign that says CHEPSTOW 4. To be honest that was a fillip for us all, nearly there, dig deep, etc etc etc, twenty minutes later? Another sign CHEPSTOW 4.

Death.

Mao

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