Monthly Archives: February 2014

Sheringham Recce

Wednesday 26 February. I met Karen today to recce the walk that I’ll be leading from Sheringham on 25th May. It was supposed to be 7½ miles but turned out to be 9.6 miles. This wasn’t because we got lost, but it was such a nice day that we made a few of detours from the planned route which added a couple of miles. I was surprised that for a walk which started with almost 3 miles along the beach, the total ascent turned out to be 1,132ft. I’ve done some serious hill walks with less climbing.

We stopped for coffee just below West Runton and left the beach at East Runton. Up until this point the route was familiar but we then started to tread new ground as we made our way over the railway line and circled the foot of Incleborough Hill. One of our diversions was a short climb of the hill which added 50ft or so to our overall ascent. It was well worth it as it provided great views towards Cromer.

From here we made our way to join with the inland section of the Norfolk Coastal Path and the steady climb to the highest point in Norfolk at Beacon Hill which measures a mighty 338ft above sea level. We stopped for lunch at this point and then went downhill again to the bottom of Roman Camp and the outskirts of West Runton. Having lost 100ft we then had to climb back up to Row Heath. A short section of woodland walking brought us to the viewpoint at the top of Beeston Regis Heath. A steady descent brought us down to cross the A149 and the railway line again before the final climb of the day to the top of Beeston Bump. It was less than 100ft to climb but towards the end of our walk it seemed like much more. From here it was downhill into Sheringham where we stopped in a café overlooking the sea for a well deserved cup of tea.

It was a longer walk than planned with 3 climbs but on a beautifully sunny spring day it was most enjoyable.

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Wansford Recce

Friday 21 February. Today should have started with one of my regular early morning visits to the gym but the clear blues skies were too good to miss so I took my exercise in the open air. I needed to recce the Wansford walk that I’m leading on 20 April and this seemed like a good opportunity.

This is fast becoming one of my favourite local walks – only 20 miles from home and I’ve done it quite a few times. For a change I decided to do it the opposite way around and made my way from Wansford up to Old Sulehay Forest and then through Ring Haw where I stopped for coffee. It was at this point that I should have diverted for a 2 mile loop to Jack’s Green but a 20 yard section of the path was flooded and impassable. I could have hopped over a couple of fences to regain the route but as I’ve done it many times before, I didn’t feel an overwhelming need to do it again today.

After coffee, the track took me to the edge of Nassington and then Yarwell before picking up the Nene Way across the water meadows back to Wansford. This last section was a little squelchy but my feet stayed dry and it was only a couple of hundred yards back to the car. This abbreviated route was only 5.8 miles but it was very enjoyable in the sunshine.

Rutland Water Recce

Wednesday 19 February. It was quite spring-like today so I took myself off to recce a walk that I’ll be leading on 6th April. It was 7½ miles; a little longer than published but worth the extra effort. I’ve updated the Group’s website and also included a note about the increased parking charges. Under the new system you are required to take a ticket at the entry barrier and then to pay at a separate machine before trying to make an exit. It’s a bit like the system at Queensgate in Peterborough. The charge is £3 for up to 3 hours and £5 for any longer.

My walk took me a little over 3 hours and included a coffee stop in a bird hide overlooking Rutland Water and lunch on the bench in Lyndon village. For anyone who hasn’t been to Rutland Water before, you should know that there are 4 car parks. We will be using the “Normanton” car park on the south shore of the reservoir. http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/leisure/what-to-see/water-parks/rutland/index.aspx Don’t make the mistake of turning onto the road signed to Normanton village but head towards Edith Weston, turning right into the Normanton car park just before Edith Weston. If you are using satnav, then programme it for Edith Weston and you should find the car park without too much trouble. It must have been my lucky day as the entry barrier wasn’t working and I was able to park for free.

The walk follows the cycle/footpath heading west and at the 2¾ mile point there is a bird hide which is where I had my coffee stop. From here there is an uphill section on a metalled road which then leads on to a series of field edge paths. Some of these were muddy but I’m hoping that they will dry up in the next few weeks. Lyndon village is about 5½ miles into the walk leaving just a couple of miles to do after lunch.

The Pickenhams

Sunday 16 February 2014. The start of today’s walk wasn’t the easiest to find without the aid of SatNav or a good co-pilot. St Mary’s Church is about a mile from North Pickenham, as the crow flies, but to get there you have to negotiate a number of very small country lanes and eventually a quarter mile or so up a bridleway from the last stretch of metalled road. This seems to have been too difficult for Helen who was spotted on the A47 but somehow didn’t make it to the start.

A select band of 8 walkers managed to find the start and set off for Josephine’s walk in almost perfect conditions. A clear blue sky, sunshine and a gentle breeze greeted us for what turned out to be a most enjoyable 8 miles. Heading south along the Peddars Way we passed Pickenham Hall before turning west to a coffee stop just before Brick Kiln farm and caravan site. We then continued along field edge paths in the general direction of Ashill before turning north to Houghton Common. At this point we had almost done a complete circle and we were less than a quarter of a mile from the cars.

It was far too early to call it a day so we then headed for lunch at the church in North Pickenham. Resuming on the Peddars Way we made our way, with some trepidation, to the water meadows alongside the River Wissey. Our fears proved to be unfounded and the anticipated flooding turned out to be no more than a few large pools of water which were easily negotiated as we made our way to the footbridge over the river. From here it was just a short walk back to the cars.

New Boots

Some of you will be aware of the foot problems that I had last year which, I’m pleased to say, were largely cured by the purchase of some custom made orthotics supplied by a very knowledgeable podiatrist based in Settle, Yorkshire http://reboundclinic.co.uk . As well as sorting out my foot problems, Andrew recommended that I move away from my Asolo boots and that I should buy something made by Keen as they have a wider and less constricting toe box.

So, as I was in the Lake District at the time, I went to The Epicentre http://www.theepicentre.co.uk in Ambleside and bought a pair of Keen Gypsum boots and a pair of Keen Gypsum walking shoes. These were incredibly comfortable straight out of the box and haven’t given me any problems until now, just 7 months later, when the boots have started to leak. Rather than having a goretex lining, Keen use their own KeenDry material which is guaranteed for two years. As with most purchases, the retailer is the first port of call when there are any problems with the quality of the goods bought. I have to say that The Epicentre have been excellent. I spoke to them on Tuesday when they asked that I post the boots back to them and they would progress a warranty claim with Keen on my behalf. Only 4 days later and I’ve had an email confirming that Keen have accepted the warranty claim and will be sending me some replacement boots.

I was given a choice of colours and have opted for these rather outstanding grey and yellow beauties. http://www.keenfootwear.com/gb/en/product/shoes/women/outdoor/gypsum%20mid/midnight%20navy!green%20sheen

Reversed Polarity

I’ve just become aware of the disastrous effects that can happen when keeping a mobile phone in close proximity to a compass. Instead of pointing North, my Silva Exped 4 compass is currently pointing South as referred to in this article. http://www.tgomagazine.co.uk/hillskills/reversed-polarity-how-to-avoid-it#ttmment Luckily, Silva will correct this for free with the owner bearing the cost of sending it back to them and they will pay the return postage.

If, like me, you have a Silva compass which incorrectly points South, then send it back to Silva Ltd, Unit 7, Elphinstone Square,Deans Industrial Estate,Livingston, EH54 8RG

Southwick

Sunday 9 February. A total of 17 walkers turned out today, 11 from Fenland and 6 from the Hunts, Peterborough & Hertfordshire groups. The planned route was too wet when I recce’d it a month ago and the revised route would be similarly affected so I opted for what I hoped would be a dryer route.

We soon found out that this wasn’t to be the case as we slithered our way uphill to Short Wood and along partly flooded paths. The paths on higher ground weren’t quite as bad and we stopped for coffee at a relatively dry spot just before Provost Lodge. From here we made our way to Westwood Lodge and a circuit of Glapthorn Cow Pasture (a wood not a field). A short section of road then came as a welcome relief before we hit the mud again on our way to the outskirts of Oundle. It was along this section of path that Sue took a fall but without too much damage. The way from Oundle to Glapthorn was on pavement and ensured that we arrived at the church in good spirit for a welcome lunch stop.

After lunch we walked through the remainder of the attractive village of Glapthorn before following a dry bridleway back up to Short Wood. It looked as if we had left the mud behind us, but no, the last section to the water tower just beyond Short Wood was as muddy as any that we had encountered and Roger took a slip before reaching the road back to Southwick. My estimate of an 8 mile walk proved to be too low and it turned out to be 8¾ miles. A little too far perhaps given the stamina sapping mud but what can be done when it has rained almost every day for the last month? At least it stayed dry overhead for the duration of our walk.

It felt like I had had a good day but when I got home I discovered that my rucksack wasn’t in the car. The sinking feeling that I experienced cannot be described. I wasn’t worried about losing my rucksack as this can easily be replaced but it contained both my current and old smart phones. Telephony with a value in excess of £500!!

I must have been thrown out of routine as rather than putting the rucksack straight into the boot of my car, I lent it against the near-side rear wheel and then proceeded to drive off without it. It seemed futile, but I felt compelled to go back to Southwick to see if the rucksack was still there or if it been handed in at the village pub. Neither proved to be true and my only hope was that one of our walking group had seen it and picked it up. When I got home, for the second time, I was massively relieved to find that Josephine had left a voicemail message informing me that Sue & Cavin had found my rucksack and that I could pick it up from Josephine’s in March. I was eventually reunited with my rucksack and arrived home for the 3rd time in the day at 5:15pm having driven a total of 127 miles and at a cost of almost £20. In many ways I was not at all bothered about the waste of time and money in searching for my rucksack as this was far outweighed at the relief in getting back my mobile phones. This has taught me a salutary lesson take more care of my possessions, especially those which are very expensive to replace.