and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Two bike rides near Fordingbridge

The first in Boxing Day was about six miles of gentle riding pretty much along the Avon Valley, towards Ibsley and Harbridge.
We returned later to sketch the church.

Cold but bright.

The second on Dec 27 2016, probably just over ten miles?
From Fordingbridge and up to Whitsbury, with its large stud farm, and entrance for visiting mares . . .  imagined by Harry as elegantly dressed for the visit to the local gentlemen . . .

Then down to Rockbourne of Roman Villa fame, and back via Sandleheath. We were not tempted to see if the Augustus John produced better coffee than fish and chips. Ok, we must have hit a bad day a couple of years ago!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lamport and Draughton

Thursday 08 Dec 2016. 10 am. With Maureen and Gordon. 5.6 miles. Some muddy fields, but we have seen worse!  Weather a little drizzly to start with, but the sun emerged occasionally before we finished the walk.

Time seems to be standing still in this part of Northamptonshire, judging by the church clocks.

We leave  Lamport  at about 10am - or 3.05? . . . 
From Lamport we walked along the pavement next to the A508 towards Harborough , then took the bridleway to our left downhill to the Brampton Valley Way.
Sheep on the bridleway down to the Brampton Valley Way
 We turned right along the dismantled railway track, crossing the A508 once more and continuing for about a mile. 

Mosaics - and plenty of benches along the old railway
We left the Brampton Valley Way , turning right just after an old footbridge, a short distance before Draughton Crossing. We headed slightly uphill across a field planted with a crop. the path was clear and not too muddy. Then we kept to the edge of the next field for a while, but had to brave another muddy patch just before Draughton. The way was not clear at the end, but there is a stile in the top left corner, before reaching Home Farm. Another stile took us onto the Maidwell Road into Draughton. We went straight ahead to the church, and had a break and snack in the church porch.
One hour later in Draughton - it's 3.15!

Refreshed and ready for action after a break

I'm not sure what this flowering shrub is.
 We followed the road out of the village, and turned right when we came to a footpath sign.
The first section of this was no problem, but we had to cross another large field, with no signs that we could see, in order to reach a fairly busy stretch of road near Short Wood and Shortwood House.  We turned right along the road, then left along a byway past a house of barking dogs.

There were glimpses of fairytale countryside through hazy sunshine - very pretty.
A lovely view if you could see it better
We turned right near the top of a slope along a pleasant wooded path, before following field edges to the road into Lamport. We turned right and followed our noses back to the car.
A path through the woods returning towards Lamport.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Harringworth, Shotley, Wakerley, Barrowden, Harringworth.

With Marta on a murky day - we saw the sun, veiled by mist, briefly! This is the same walk as on October 31st 2016, but in reverse, checking a few details of the route. For some reason it seems to have been over 8 miles this time.

We had a sandwich in the Community Shop at Barrowden.
Yes, it's definitely a red kite.

The vegetation around Barrowden Mill pond has been cleared

A duck with a topknot? A doodle?

Harringworth- Barrowden-Wakerley- Shotley- H'worth

Monday 5 December 9.20 am. With Harry, Maureen, Gordon and Eddie. The walk covered mostly the same ground as the walk on November 8th 2016. 7.3 miles. Fine though not as clear as last time. A frosty start but some fields were muddy later. 

Lots of fieldfares in evidence, as well as a heron and red kites. 

We started the walk by turning left from the road past the stables, and crossing the field full of horses.
The path continues by the Welland, crossing Turtle Bridge, and later the disused railway line, before tackling the drag up the fields to Barrowden.

We rewarded ourselves with cake and coffee at the table near Barrowden duckpond. The ducks had a little ice free area to swim in.

We went along Mill Lane and followed the Jurassic Way path past the pond, before crossing the footbridge over the Welland.

The path crosses the field, and then there's a bridge under the disused railway. The track leads to the main road through Wakerley.
We turn right and follow the road round until we reach a metal gate with a stile next to it after the last farmhouse. We take this path, with a minor diversion to avoid a very muddy field where sheep are feeing on the remains of the crop. At the road we turn right and walk for a short distance before turning left along a bridleway - it's the first surfaced track, though the bridleway sign is no longer clear since it was chopped with the hedge cutter.

We continue to the bridleway above Shotley with views of the viaduct, and follow the Jurassic Way down hill into Shotley and then Harringworth.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kings Cliffe and Apethorpe

01 December 2016, 10.07 am.  With Maureen. 7.4 miles. 220 feet of ascent. Glorious weather, cold and bright. Some places were muddy underfoot as the ice melted.

Similar route to this one from three and a half years ago, but slightly longer.

View of Kings Cliffe church from Morehay Lane

Kings Cliffe housescape in the sun

Maureen enjoying the weather

Ok, the red kite didn't fly away immediately, but the camera focussed on the tree in the foreground . . .

. . . so I tried to get nearer, but branches obscured the view.
No third photograph, the bird flew!

Apethorpe's castellated water tower

A larg herd of deer, watching us watching them.

The weather front approaches
A fine walk in excellent conditions. Much enjoyed.
The icing on the mudcake was a flock of fieldfares flying from the bushes on the last half mile or so. Too small and quick to snap.

Empingham circular via Normanton

Monday 28 Nov 2016, 9.40 am.  Just Norma and me today. We had glorious weather, cold and sunny, with little wind. 7.5 miles.

The walk was the same as this one, but in reverse.  We had to negotiate six or seven stiles, but conditions underfoot were good, and as always the views over Rutland Water excellent.

We arrived at the cafe in Normanton car park soon after it opened at 11, finished walking arounf 12.30 pm, and drove to Wellies cafe at Rutland Garden Centre for lunch - sandwich and salad.

We saw lots of small birds with pale undersides in one of the fields - too small for fieldfares we thought - could they be corn buntings or meadow pipits? They had a fluttery up-and-down sort of flight.