Monday 23 November 2015. Linda and I started our winter walking project today with the first leg of the Rutland Round. As the name suggests, this is a 65-mile circuit of England’s smallest county. Previous winter projects have included the Nar Valley Way, The Peddars Way and the Norfolk Coastal Path between Hunstanton and Cromer. I’ve done most of the long distance trails within reasonable travelling distance in Norfolk and have had to go west to find fresh ground to walk.
Oakham is the administrative centre for Rutland and it was appropriate that we should start and finish our “Rutland Round” here. I’ve broken the route down into seven reasonable legs of about 9 miles each and this first leg took us from Oakham to Belton-in-Rutland. Leaving the centre of Oakham we made our way out to the nearby village of Egleton where we stopped for coffee and to eat some of the 6 mini sausage rolls that I’d bought before setting out. Being the gentleman that I am, I gave 2 to Linda and kept 4 for myself.
The next part of the walk was familiar as it took us across the railway line and uphill towards the hamlet of Brooke. It was on this uphill section that I took the picture of Linda disappearing into the distance. She likes to test herself on these uphill bits and, as I struggle to keep up with her on the level, I’ve no chance when going uphill. Linda and I were deep in conversation over the relative merits of a dedicated GPS compared to a Smart phone or tablet and missed a turning. We hadn’t gone too far before realizing our mistake so there was no real harm done.
The next village was Braunston-in-Rutland and with a little over 5 miles already covered it was time for lunch. Suitably refreshed and the last of the sausage rolls consumed, the next target was Leigh Lodge. This took me over new ground before picking up a more familiar route into Belton-in-Rutland. We had covered the 9 miles in a little under 4 hours (stops included) and walked uphill for a total ascent of just under 900ft.