Sunday 1 May 2016. It was back to group walking for me today as I led a 7.3-mile Fenland Ramblers walk from Oundle. 13 of us set out to walk along part of the Nene way as far as Barnwell where we stopped for coffee in the sunshine. So far, much of the route had been alongside a minor road and it was a relief to get out into the countryside as we made our way for lunch at Polebrook. It must be spring as the cattle can now be seen out in the fields including some small brown calves and some much bigger Longhorns.
On the way back to Oundle we passed through the hamlet of Ashton which had been the home of the World Conker Championships but it had outgrown this venue and moved to nearby Southwick a few years ago.
A footpath closure near Ashton Mill seemed as if it would spoil our walk. Having had time to subsequently study this online, there was no alternative route offered. A way around it would have meant a mile of road walking up to the roundabout on the A605 and then back on the main road into town. Instead, we (I) chose to ignore the footpath closure signs and to squeeze past the fence at the Mill end of the closed section of path. Exit wasn’t quite so easy as there was a fence in place blocking access to the bridge across the river. A bit of limbo dancing meant that we could all squeeze between the scaffolding pole handrail of the bridge to overcome this obstruction. It was clear that some “groundworks” were being undertaken in the area with diggers etc. lying silent and unused as it was a weekend. There might have been a hazard if the diggers had been at work but my “risk assessment” determined that it was safe to proceed and to ignore the footpath closed sign.
As it was such a sunny spring-like day, I thought that I’d add a picture of the cherry blossom at home in front of my caravan. It doesn’t last long so I grabbed a picture before it had gone.