Leicestershire Round Round 10 (National Forest)

>>  Sunday, August 13, 2017

So, to recap, it was my birthday and I had decided to treat myself with a 24 mile walk on my own to mark the occasion!   I had just finished 12 miles of section 9 of the Leicestershire round and was at Shackerstone expecting to go over a bridge on the steam railway line.  For the last few miles I had been listening to the train whistling and seeing puffing steam across the fields.

But the bridge was closed so I followed a diversion
 under it, I passed a tea room here and it marked the end of section 9.
 The path then went over a disused railway line
 and out into a long stretch of paths across fields.

It is so good when the farmers allow the clear paths across the fields, it makes for easy walking.
 And it finished with a pleasant field of daisies.
 But the fun ended with this.

The path clearly went through the field.  The crop was planted up to a ditch and there was no way around it on the edges.  I did try honestly.
 But there was nothing to be done other than to curse the farmer and plough into the crop.

And out came the OS map again (on the phone) as it shows the path line and a helpful arrow showing me on or off it.

The next couple of fields were no better and the paths were hard to see, badly maintained and I suspect it will be the same landowner across them all.  Bah humbug to them.

This took me into Nailstone where I bumped into a large group of walkers in stout boots and with walking poles going in the opposite direction.
"Does this go to Barton in the Beans?" one said
"Not that I know of, I've come from Shackerstone and didn't see a marker for it"
"Oh well, we ARE going a LONG way you know" another walker returned looking me up and down.
 I assume my running shoes and trousers implied I was not a proper walker.  I considered mentioning how far I had come, how many miles I walk, that she was a meany and it was MY birthday but I decided to let them JudgyMcJudge me in their own sweet way and ploughed onwards passing the footpath to Barton in the Beans on my way (karma can be very quick sometimes!)

 There was a buzzard in Underhills Wood that was incredibly unhappy to see me.  It shouted and hovered above me for the whole way through.  At one point I really though it was going to dive at me, I held my guide book over my head and then vigorously shook it at it but it did not give up until I was out of the wood.
 Bagworth was a drag.
 And the path went through a cemetery, presumably full of people that also didn't want to spend any longer in Bagworth.   It was understandable.
 Bagwood Wood had an interesting pair of drinkers in it and I was now really regretting not having a walking partner or dog with with me.
 Over a railway line.
 Through Thornton and the skirts of the reservoir, and then through another wood.
 And down to a gate where the farmer had seen fit to hammer wood across the round marker and put barbed wire over the fence across the round path which was next to a stile to a path that was not the one I needed.  The landowner was clearly doing everything he could to divert walkers off the round route,  But again OS maps saved me and I went over the barbed wire (carefully) and be damned to the farmer.
 And through another wood.
 And under the motorway.

(This was really turning out to be the least enjoyable section of the round I'd been on)
 And into Markfield.  I felt the whole ambience of Markfield is summed up well by this picture.  Let's not dwell on it any further.
 And the joys of Markfield led me to the A50 and an underpass with a  delightful bend at the end for muggers to wait in.  Seriously, I do not recommend anyone does this section of the walk alone.
 and into a cutting edged by brambles
 leading directly onto the A50 and a walk along the verge with lorries thundering past, but that's ok because once I had shown all the passing traffic I was a lone walker it led me off into another cutting with plenty of bends!
 There was a sawn off branch for me to hit my head on
 Before the long walk through John Lees Wood.  Now the state of the photo will give you an indication of how quickly I was walking and how unwilling I was to stop.  I seriously felt very vulnerable.  But it was a  result of the previous miles because I know this wood and I could even smell the wood smoke from the scout camps and I knew if I yelled alpha scouters would be rushing to my rescue (*wishful sigh*)
 But I emerged from the wood and across a few fields that started to feel like Bradgate and finally into Newtown Linford.
And HWMBO was waiting for me in the car park.  (and had been for 45 minutes as I had completely underestimated how long the last 5 miles or so would take) and the icing on his cake:  I made him walk  5000 steps with me around Bradgate park before driving home as I needed them to hit my 60,000 steps for the day!!

So there we are, the 100 miles of the Leicestershire Round done.  I said at the start of the year I would do it and I have.  I'm really proud of myself.

There are parts of it I would walk again and parts of it (like this section) that I never want to see again ever.  But Leicestershire has parts that are lovely and I'm glad to have seen them.  

The one piece of advice I would give to anyone about to embark on this challenge is start at Burrough Hill and go clockwise, to start and finish somewhere inspiring.  Oh and do it with friends and lots of cake breaks, it will be much more fun.  Enjoy.


Leicestershire Round Round 9 (Bosworth Field)

>>  Tuesday, August 08, 2017

I decided I wanted to get a 60,000 step badge on my fitbit and doing the 2 final sections of the round in one day would do it. So I went alone for the first time. In all the previous sections I had found various walking friends to go along with me.  But I suspected none of them would be prepared to do the route march I had planned.

  The start at Barwell didn't bode well.

It was a wet morning, it had rained hard as I drove there and there was a  drizzle mist in the air.
The high crops soaked me and I immediately regretted not having my gaiters with me.

I couldn't see Bradgate, my final destination,  in the distance.  I had expected to and thought it might gee me on.

But no, I just paddled around the shit and kept on keeping on.

It picked up at the canal.

With amusing signage (I can only assume this is because it is 1 knot)

A birthday treat to myself at Sutton Wharf (Yes, it was my birthday.)

And a pleasant walk through Albion Woods to the Bosworth Battle Field Visitors Centre.  (If you haven't been there, go and go on an events day if you can) 

Sutton Cheney had the flags out
And the Church was charged with items by the Richard III society making sure we remember he was a good king not the one Shakespeare invented to stay in favour with the Tudors.
It is an interesting village.

Coming through the fields after Sutton Cheney was the first time I've needed OS maps,  Page 99 of the new guide book was a little confusing as there was a yellow pole only yards away from the route the round takes that has no marker.  I could have done with the book telling me to ignore the marked route.
But I made it through and Oak Ring wood was lovely.  I saw the biggest heron I've ever seen at Looking Glass Pond.
I went across Market Bosworth Park and into the town.
You know you are in a posh place when the garages have chandeliers.

This town is worth a visit but perhaps without the walking boots and backpack.  The public loos are decent though!

The path goes through Carlton and then onto Shackerstone.

This was a really lovely 12 miles (after the first few out of Barwell) with lots of opportunities to stop and eat cake.

I would do this section again (and will with one of my walking friends that needs to do it to finish the round herself)

As I was on my route march to the end I pressed onto Section 10.

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