Sunday 27 April. Linda and I stood in for Barry to lead today’s 7.33 mile walk from Ickburgh. It was a lovely sunny morning as 11 of us set off from Ickburgh church for a short section of road walking which took us across the River Wissey.
A pleasant stroll through typical Breckland countryside brought us to the banks of a flooded gravel pit where we stopped for coffee in and around a bird hide.
The walk that Barry led last year was a little under 6 miles so we thought that we would extend it to visit Lynford Arboretum where there was, as one might expect, a wide array of trees and bluebells to be seen.
A little further on and Lynford Hall came in to view.
The last part of the extended walk took us a mile or so to the picnic area at the Lyndford Stag where we stopped for lunch.
After lunch, we made our way back along woodland tracks to pick up the pavement running alongside the busy A1065. Despite the traffic noise, we were able to hear the first Cuckoo of the year calling out loud. The last half mile or so took us back up the quite country lane leading through Ickburgh village and back to the cars.
Sunday 20 April. I must start this report with an apology to my fellow walkers. Today’s walk was advertised as 7.5 miles but turned out to be 9.4; perhaps a little to far for some! I’m normally more accurate with my assessment of the length of walks but failed miserably on this occasion. I think that it was because I hadn’t planned for the circuitous route through Old Sulehay Wood as well as the 2 mile loop between coffee and lunch.
9 Fenland members, 6 guests from other groups and “Taffy” the dog set off from Wansford to cross the bridge over the River Nene and make our way up to Old Sulehay Woods. There were bluebells in profusion and the 4 wheel drive boys were out playing in the nearby quarry.
Taffy had a whale of a time playing fetch the stick and sat still just long enough for me to take his picture.
Leaving Old Sulehay, we followed a short road section before entering more woodland at Ring Haw where the spring flowers put on a great show.
A short walk then took us to some well placed rocks where we stopped for coffee and later on for lunch.
Between coffee and lunch we did a two mile loop out to Jack’s Green and back where we encountered a herd of cattle which looked as if they had only recently been put out to grass. They were very inquisitive but most of the time we had a wire fence between them and us.
Light rain started to fall just as we sat down for lunch but it wasn’t too bad and thankfully only lasted for about 30 minutes. I put my camera away at this point so there are no pictures for the last section of the walk which took us to the outskirts of Nassington and Yarwell.
I was a little worried that the bluebells might be finished before my Mannington Hall walk on 4 May, so I took myself off to Abbot’s Wood, near RAF Wittering to see what they are like. They are probably at their best just now but there should still be a good show in two weeks time.
Sunday 13 April. It is a bright and sunny morning but the winds that have been blowing for most of the week are even stronger than ever today and don’t really favour hill walking. This was confirmed by my 10 minute walk in to Castleton and I have no regrets in taking the day off and to watch football on the TV. During the last 5 days I’ve walked a total of 37 miles with 8,600ft of ascent so I think that I deserve a rest.
Saturday 12 April. I met Jacqui today for a walk up Shutlingsloe which, although only measuring in at 1,660ft, is sometimes referred to as the Cheshire Matterhorn. This more a reflection of its shape rather than its height. Starting from the Tegg’s Nose car park we made our way through the old quarry workings where a group of youngsters were abseiling down a rock face.
Shutlingsloe dominated the skyline as we made our way down to the Langley and Ridgegate reservoirs and to a coffee stop at Trentabank.
A 700ft climb up through the woods of Nessit Hill brought us out on to open moorland and the final push to the top of Shutlingloe. The last section was up a series of steps designed for giants rather than the vertically challenged.
It was freezing and blowing a gale on the summit so we only stopped long enough for a couple of pictures before retracing our tracks to pick up the circular route back to Tegg’s Nose.
Statistically, this was the hardest walk of the week at 9.25 miles with 2,100ft of ascent. Much of this was up Shutlingsloe but there was a sting in the tail with a 300ft climb right at the end to get up Tegg’s Nose and back to the cars. Rain had been forecast for the middle of the afternoon but it held off until the drive back to Castleton where I had to make a 10 mile diversion as Winnats Pass was closed due to a traffic accident.
Friday 11 April. I did half of this walk over Christmas a few years ago with Amanda, Bea & Terry. At that time the ground was white with frost and we decided not to take the direct route to Win Hill up Parkin Clough but to take a more gentle path. Whilst there was some mud underfoot today, I went for it by climbing almost 700ft in under a mile to the top of Win Hill at 1,520ft.
The serious climbing soon began as I made my way up Parkin Clough.
It took me 50 minutes to make it to the top of Win Hill where I stopped for a well deserved coffee break and to take a few pictures.
Leaving Win Hill behind, I had a fairly level walk of about a mile with views down the Hope and Edale valleys.
Looking to the north I had views over Crook Hill to Derwent Edge.
The following sign amused me although I’d seen something similar before.
My route now took me gradually downhill to the village of Aston from where I had another climb of 500ft or so which took me close to the top of Win Hill (again!). It was a nice sunny day with great views so I didn’t really mind the extra effort required.
The walk was 7.6 miles with almost 1,800ft of ascent. It won’t be any easier tomorrow as I’m planning to climb Shutlingsloe (The Cheshire Matterhorn) which will be another 8.25 miles and 2,000ft of ascent. I think that I’ll be ready for an easy day on Sunday.
Thursday 10 April. I started today’s walk at Bowden Bridge, near Hayfield, the scene of the Kinder mass trespass which resulted in improved access rights for walkers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_trespass_of_Kinder_Scout As I gained height, Kinder reservoir came in to view.
I stopped near Broad Clough for a chat with a chap who was out recceing a route for a D of E walk at the weekend.
Although a little hazy the Manchester conurbation could be seen in the distance.
My twin targets of South Head and Mount Famine were now coming in to view. The climb to the first of these minor summits was at least 600ft with a short down and then another up to get to Mount Famine.
Whilst walking along the Mount Famine ridge I saw 3 Ring Ouzels flying together. I hadn’t seen this bird before so it made my day! https://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/r/ringouzel/index.aspx
The walk at 6.8 miles with just under 2,000ft of ascent could best be described as “lumpy”. It was new ground for me and provided great views all of the way.