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.