Sunday 24 January 2016. Norfolk in mid-winter is synonymous with mud and today was no exception. 12 of us, including Janet who was walking with the group for the first time, set out for an 8.4 mile walk around deepest Norfolk. The weather was unseasonabley warm at 12c although the sun didn’t really break through until the latter part of the walk.
Soon after leaving Swanton Novers we encountered the worst of the mud as we skirted around the northern edge of the woodland at Neat’s Close. Our coffee break came at the 2½ mile point in the church at Barney. From here we headed south-west across country for 4 miles in the direction of Clipstone House farm before turning north-east through Croxton; stopping for lunch at Fulmodeston.
The last 2 miles of the walk were my favourite section as we walked over partly waterlogged pasture alongside Brown’s Covert and then through the National Nature Reserve in Little Wood.
Swanton Novers walk route
Sunday 17 January 2016. This is a dual purpose post. The first is to test some new technology and the second is to publish a report of the recce that Linda and I did today.
I normally produce these posts on my laptop but looking ahead to the summer and my holiday in the Dolomites, I felt that I needed something more portable on which to write my reports. Both my Smartphone and Tablet could fit the bill but their keyboards are far too small. What I really needed was a small portable keyboard that could be connected by bluetooth to either device. The answer was a Tecknet X366 mini keyboard which I bought from Amazon for just £11.99. I’m using it now to write this report and I have to say that it is a delight to use. Next, I needed some means of getting pictures from my camera & my Smartphone onto my tablet. This required the purchase of a micro USB to regular USB cable, just £1.99 from Ebay. I already had a USB/SD card reader and a 1gb USB memory stick so I now have all of the hardware that I need. Finally, I downloaded a photo-reziser app which enables me to reduce the file size of my pictures to something more manageable for uploading and viewing on the internet.
Turning now to the walk. There hadn’t been any overnight snow in Benwick but I encountered an increasing amount of lying snow, the further west and north that I drove. I met Linda at Wansford to carshare for the 20 mile drive to Castle Bytham where there was a good covering of snow. The first leg of the walk was 3.5 miles to Pickworth where we stopped for coffee inside the church. The second leg was 3 miles to Clipsham. This included a diversion through a quarry but didn’t really add too much distance. We had lunch inside the village church. The final leg was another 3.5 miles back to Castle Bytham.
Linda will be leading this walk on 10 April. It is listed as being 9 miles but, as we have now walked the route, it is actually 10 miles with little opportunity to make it any shorter. So, if you are planning on coming on this walk, be aware that it is one mile longer than advertised.
Friday 1 January 2016. For my first walk of the New Year I thought that I’d visit the highest point in Rutland and kill two birds with one stone by recceing a walk for the summer programme. Linda joined me on what was a cold but dry morning as we made an early start at just after 9am. The minor road that we walked along out of Braunston-in-Rutland was icy and we had to tread carefully to avoid slipping on our backsides. The footpaths were little better but this time it was mud that was the problem following heavy overnight rain. Almost all of the fields were waterlogged and those that had been ploughed were a quagmire. It was so bad in places that we diverted onto nearby roads, where we could. This added a little to the distance of the walk which turned out to 8.8 miles with a total ascent of 770ft.
Our first stop was in Knossington for coffee and later again for lunch at the foot of the radio mast near Cold Overton park. The highest point in Rutland is a trig point at 197 metres or 646 feet. This is located about 150 yards off the footpath and necessitated the climbing of a fence to get at it. Later we found a gate that we could open to get back onto the official footpath. Whilst we visited Rutland’s highest point, the walk took in some slightly higher ground at over 205m as we passed over the county border into Leicestershire for a short while.
The last section of the walk was down a bridleway which seemed attractive to start with but quickly deteriorated to a boggy mess and we had to climb yet another fence to get into an adjoining field. The walk provided great views and, given summer conditions (dry fields), would be an enjoyable outing and perhaps a little shorter as we would be able to stick to the intended route.
Braunston-in-Rutland walk route