Pedalling for St.Peter’s Blog: Day 10, Gillingham

Welcome to day 10 of Pedalling for St.Peter’s, Julia Mercer’s blog about her 292 mile pilgrimage from Huddersfield Parish Church to Canterbury Cathedral. Julia’s aim is to raise funds to help in the repair of the ceiling at the Parish Church, as well as demonstrating sustainable travel via the use of the UK’s National Cycle Network.

“Said goodbye to Carol and the Boys and set off in a bright morning back through Dartford centre, where I picked up cycle route 1 again. Today turned out to be a day of very mixed cycling, a recapitulation of all the different paths and cycle-ways I have been on during this wonderful journey.

So joined Watling Street, east of Dartford, and cycled down beside a busy main road, safe on my own bit of track. Passed a huge hideous shopping centre: why do these places have names so evocative of the beautiful and natural… Bluewater, Meadowhall, Arndale? What could be less beautiful and natural than a shopping mall? – Just at that minute I saw my first sign for Canterbury!

The route went on, snaking between bridleways and big main roads. I stopped to have a cup of coffee in Gravesend, and photographed some swans on a rather artificial-looking shingle beach.

A lovely railway track lead out towards the Medway towns, winding round MOD land and then taking to country roads. At Lower Higham, 6 miles from Rochester, the Kent countryside opened up around me and for the first time I felt really free of the urban tentacles of London…

Rochester has a most beautiful ancient cathedral with a good cafe, open on Sunday. Also lots of references to Charles Dickens…”A taste of 2 cities”…..”Little Dorrit ethnic clothing”.

And so to Kate, lovely hospitable lady in Gillingham, and my last night before arriving (hopefully) in Canterbury.”

Be sure to check back soon for Julia’s next and final instalment of her extraordinary journey.

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