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!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Empingham and Normanton circular

With Marta, on a fine cold day, with little wind. 7 miles in all.
We parked in Empingham and walked down Crocket Lane beside the church, and through part of the village.
We parked in Empingham and walked down Crocket Lane beside the church, and through part of the village.

We went over a stile at the end of Willoughby Drive, and across a field, and a footbridge over the stream.
and turned right on to Mill Lane, for a short distance. After the first house the path turns right diagonally across a field, and then uphill along the edge of two large fields before reaching the A606.  We crossed this and continued along the path, still following field edges until we reached Ketton Road, where we turned sharply right and walked along the quiet road to the next junction. 
Here we turned left along Empingham Road past Normanton Cottages, which look as though they could once have been almshouses. There are lovely views of Rutland Water from this road.
We chose to have a coffee here, and had a chat to a local resident, who thought we were having problems. In fact, we were having a silly moment, trying to stand up from the ground without using our hands to help us - we were not successful!

The road leads to Whare Koa and Normanton Lodge farm, but our path continues south through fields with a wall on our right.
'ey up, what're they doing in our field?
At the next road we join the Rutland Round route and follow it to the Normanton car park on Rutland Water. 
From here we followed the reservoir track towards the dam, 

Fieldfares in evidence again today.
. . . and over it, then took the footpath to the right (still Rutland Round) down the fields and through the wood back to Empingham. 

Lunch at Wellies coffee shop rounded off the walk.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Grafham Water anticlockwise.

Monday 23 January, 10.15 am , approx 9 miles.  With Maureen and Norma. Misty at start and some ice underfoot, but there was warmth in the sun when it appeared. 

We started from the main visitor centre and car park, and walked along the cycle track route to Grafham Village, past signs to the community shop and past the church. Church Lane is very quiet, and there are just a few houses, including one with dragons on the roof.

We simply followed the track round, by the water a bit, then through Savage's Spinney and on.  After walking for around four miles we had a break near Littless Wood.
Before long, the sun began to break through.

When we arrived at the visitor centre and cafe just before Perry, we decided it was time for lunch.  Lovely view out of the windows.

There was about a mile of walking beside the road, before we turned off along the track again, and then walked across the dam . . .

Flotillas of tufted ducks, bobbing and diving.
and back to the main car park. We thought we deserved a hot drink before driving back home.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stanwick and Irthlingborough Lakes

A walk with Marta in much more inviting conditions than yesterday, though we managed to find some mud . . . at one point we turned back, as it was quite slippery.

Making our way into the Visitor Centre for a quick coffee and teacake to fortify us after the long tiring drive . . . of 30 minutes . . . we saw a flock of birds. I think they were lapwings, as the sun caught white flashes as they turned. I should have switched the phone camera to video mode.  A grand sight anyway.
Bridges of all kinds make great reflections.

This heron hung around for some time - the photo is cropped a lot.

More reflections

Quick shot as the heron flies a short distance

Higham Ferrers Lock on the Nene

Lots of swans on the lakes

Marta making her way through the mud wallow

There were small strips of ice in the water - I was surprised, as it didn't feel so cold.

Irthlingborough church on the hill above the river and lakes.
After a leisurely five miles or so, we returned to the Visitor Centre for a bowl of soup before returning home.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Pitsford Water anticlockwise

Monday 16 January 2017, with Norma and Maureen.
Weather damp and drizzly, so we fortified ourselves with coffee or hot chocolate before we set off.
On the way we saw a couple of herons, a fair number of lapwings and a little egret, as well as the usual geese, swans and gulls.

 The drizzle relented enough for us to fit in a scone break after crossing the causeway, then we walked to the cafe for a sandwich and cuppa.
Pleased with our decision to brave those elements today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Old, Mawsley

Monday 09 January 2017, 10 am.  With Maureen. Grey, drizzly - what a contrast to last Thursday!

An unpromising look to the weather, with drizzle and showers forecast, followed by heavier rain.
Warm though, and not a lot of wind. 
The pub and church clearly have a close relationship in Old.

This rural/agricultural area gets very muddy after a spell of wet weather, and the main downside was mud.  Yes, we've tackled worse, but when combined with grey skies and drizzle blurred views, it's not a lot of fun. When the rain showed no sign of stopping, we cut the walk short, and turned left along Mill Road, which took us back to Old. 

The church porch offered a space for us to have a hot drink and a scone, and a couple with the keys showed us the interior - including the kneelers embroidered as a millennium project, most of which include a letter hidden inside, telling the story of why each person chose their particular design, often in memory of a family member or friend.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lamport, Scaldwell, Hanging Houghton, Lamport

We followed the route of this walk from August 2011. Map and details  are still accurate, and I used them as a quick reference. I walked with Maureen and Harry, and the walk is about 8 and a half miles.

Today was frosty, which improved conditions underfoot,  since some potentially soft and sticky mud was frozen.  Brilliant sunshine and blue skies with very little wind made this an enjoyable walk, with fine views of rolling Northamptonshire farmland, villages and trees.

We parked on the road not far from the church, and walked north east to a road junction, where we turned right. After a quarter of a mile or so we turned right along a path which took us through parkland and pasture behind Lamport Hall.

The path is crossed by another one in the middle of an arable field. Not clear on the ground, but we turned left and aimed for the gap in the hedge, where we found a waymarker. 

We followed the path along the hedge for a while, then had more arable fields to cross - here the path was fairly clear on the ground, heading towards the village of Scaldwell, which we could see at the top of the slope.
Heading towards Scaldwell
We walk past a few houses as we enter the village, then follow the road to the right, past the church. The road swings left, and just after The Grange we see a footpath sign pointing right.
Professorial owl

Is that the old road or the road to Old?

Festive birds

Scaldwell church

Is it coffee time?

The Grange
We followed the path through fields near some stable buildings, then a field with sheep and llamas (or alpacas?).

The footpath was pretty clear from here towards Hanging Houghton, which we reached after crossing the A508.

Sunny, not over warm, but time for coffee and a slice of cake or a scone.

We walked down Manor Road, which has almost no traffic. it crosses the Brampton Valley Way and a stream and turns into a farm track/ byway - easy walking for a while.
When we reached the T-junction we turned right towards Blueberry Lodge. Around here we saw lots of fieldfares, a couple of buzzards which had landed in the field, and a red kite, as well as the usual gulls.

At Blueberry Lodge we turned right again along a bridleway-cum-muddy footpath now heading back to Lamport.
Once againt the path was pretty clear through rolling farmland, eventually reaching the Brampton Valley Way once more. A convenient bench was too tempting, and we had the company of a bold robin - we fed it a few crumbs before tackling the final uphill stretch into Lamport.
From the footway alongside the A508 we had good views of the church and Lamport Hall through the bare trees.

This would make a fine setting for a story - the Old Rectory garden.