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.


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