Sunday 26 February 2017. This walk was originally described as being 8.5 miles but when Linda and I did a recce it turned out to be 9.5 miles which was far too much for many in our Group. Luckily, I was able to change the route into a 7.2 mile figure-of-eight stopping off in Aldwincle for coffee and lunch sat on benches in the children’s play area adjoining the village hall. 10 of us turned out for this walk for which it remained dry but we battled with a strong wind for much of the way.
Setting off from Wadenhoe we made good progress until we encountered a fallen tree on Byway MC17 (known historically as Northampton Way). This was a substantial tree and, had it been any bigger, it would have completely blocked our path. Fortunately we could step over the thin upper most branches without too much difficulty. As we turned off this byway to head into the village of Aldwicle we met a group of motorbike trail riders who seemed intent on heading towards the fallen tree. Despite our warnings, they headed off on a collision course with this obstruction. I’ve reported the fallen tree via FixMyStreet.com in the hope that Northamptonshire County Council will get it moved.
Our coffee stop in Aldwincle came after 2.5 miles and was a welcome respite from the gusty wind and muddy tracks. Suitably rested and refreshed we set off for a circuit of one of the lakes on the Titchmarch Nature Reserve, returning to Aldwincle on the Nene Way which we then followed back to our starting point in Wadenhoe.
Monday 13 February 2017. Buying myself a new camera (Panasonic Lumix TZ70) for Christmas has revitalised my interest in photography. To further this interest and to get in some much needed practice, I took myself off to the village of Laxton this afternoon. I remember walking through here with the Thursday Stroller some years ago and seeing a flock or “wake” of Red Kites circling above. I had hoped to get a picture or two but despite there being dozens of Kites today, they were a little too high and moving too quickly for me to get them in the frame and in focus at the same time. I’ll come back for another try.
The other objective of the outing was to get a few sunset shots. I’m pleased to say that I had more success in this regard and I’ve added a few of the better images below. The pdf map link shows a red box from where it is best to park and see the Kites. The red cross, not far away, shows the location of the sunset shots.
Sunday 12 February 2017. Helen was scheduled to lead today’s walk but cried-off with a heavy cold. Given the weather forecast I don’t blame her. Hilary also cried-off and a number of other members had previously advised that they were otherwise engaged this weekend. It was a 65 mile drive for me (each way) and, if it wasn’t for standing in as leader, then I too might have given it a miss.
As it turned out, there was just 4 of us: Moira, Betty, Josephine and me. The weather wasn’t quite as bad as forecast but there was a strong and chilly easterly wind. This was on our backs as we set off towards Stiffkey but we knew that it would be blowing into our faces on the way back. We agreed that we would walk part of the Norfolk Coastal Path first and, if the weather deteriorated, we would then retrace our steps and cut the walk short.
We stopped for coffee after just a mile and a half in a fairly sheltered spot just north of the small lake near White Bridges. I suggested that instead of going through Stiffkey that we should follow the path down the side of the lake and onto the main road for a while before picking up a path through Hang High Plantation and across Cockthorpe Common. I’d walked the road section many years ago and was pleasantly surprised to find that there is now a permissive path which runs behind the hedge and provides an effective barrier from the passing traffic. The path across Cockthorpe Common was new to me and was the most pleasant part of the walk.
We made a short detour into Cockthorpe for lunch at the church before heading back towards Morston. There was a ploughed field on our route and rather than getting ankle-deep in mud, we walked along 3 sides of this field to rejoin our route on Love Lane. It was at this point that we had our only few spots of rain but this lasted no more than 5 minutes and really wasn’t a problem. The walk wasn’t much shorter than planned at 6.6 miles with just 300ft of ascent.