Croxton Kerrial - getting map brave

>>  Monday, September 23, 2019

Spurred on by the success of my Birthday Amble I decided I was ready to drag my walking friend out to test my map reading and leadership skills. I had seen another walk on the same website  as before.  But I didn't fancy the full 21 miles, so I bought the maps (why does any decent route always go over at least 2 maps!) and set to reducing the walk a bit but still having a bit of ascent.

I then put the maps down and did what any sane person would do and plotted it out on OS maps!  It's much easier to pull lines around and see the distance recalculated as you change paths.  Then I took it back to the paper maps to be sure I was familiar with how it looked.  There were also a couple of parts where I was not sure whether the paths shown would be permissive or private and I needed to be sure I knew what my alternative would be.

We started at Croxton Kerrial church.    There is a handy space  to park there at the start of the path.
The weather was perfect walking weather, warm and generally overcast with a gentle breeze. And from the start point the views were an indicator of a lovely walk ahead.
through the edge of Harston wood
And Belvoir castle was in sight (I've visted this castle many times as it's not far from home and it's a 'tourist from a castleless country' 's wet dream - 1067 blah blah, Duke of Rutland blah blah.  But I've never walked to it so it was pretty cool to see it like this.

It's as foreign tourist English as it gets around here unless you are actually in the Cotswolds!

And the locals play ball by keeping London buses in their back gardens.

Just past Harston, we joined the Viking way.
The path is 147 miles long from the Humber to Rutland water.

The path started well.

But I wouldn't fancy some parts of it in very wet weather,  It would clearly be very boggy in places.
But lovely all the same.
People seemed very excited about this small set of locks near Woolsthorpe, I assume because they are a short walk from the Dirty Duck which looked a pleasant pub for a lunch.

I would have liked to have pointed them towards Foxton where we do locks 'properly'!

Anyway, onwards towards the castle.  The first of the paths I suspected would be private was indeed, so we went the alternate (or correct) way around - if you use the gpx file I've made available it does use the proper route.

We joined the Cross Britain Way (279 miles Boston to Barmouth!)
And continued towards the castle.

The unfortunate thing being once you think it's getting really close it disappears behind a screen of trees not to be seen again!
But they do have a good set up at the car park for tea, cake and a toilet stop. And bizarrely not overpriced - have they learnt nothing about fleecing Americans!
The next part of the route was the other part where I thought the path I was looking at might be private so, over cake, we decided to follow Plan B without even trying Plan A (and again the gpx is on the correct footpath).  The correct path is to the south of old park wood and the Jubilee Way onto Terrace Hills.
Again this was 'England'.  My money was on:  if I haven't read a novel written in this cottage then there is one written  about happenings in it!
This was my favourite part of the walk.
It had amazing views towards Nottingham
There is a beacon tucked just off the path, which I couldn't see marked on the map at all.  It is the Armada Beacon Memorial on Beacon Hill.
Not beautiful but of great importance.
I really like it up here and would walk this way again just for a short stroll and there were plenty of other people doing just that.  

We continued to follow the Jubilee Way to Tofts lane, just skirting Stathern.

And turning south towards Eaton

where we left the Jubilee Way to head west towards Branston.

This was actually a tricky part of the navigation, that shouldn't have been hard but the paths were not well marked and very overgrown in places.

This was an interesting run off.  I felt happy enough with it to wash my hands in it.  Walking partner did not.  I'd trust him more than me!

 I chose the high route out, there is a low route too.

Then followed a good path out of Branston (yes we sang "bring out the Branston") back towards Croxton Kerrial

And the hardest part of the route.

We were so close to the car I could almost smell it and only 2 fields and about 1000 turkeys stood between me and it.  They were so loud and even if we'd managed to push open the gate we were worried they'd be out before you could shout 'Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat'

So we turned back and walked the last section on the road!

It was a lovely day of 16 plotted miles - 18 walked in total according to my GPS - I'm still struggling to find those extra 2 miles even with the private path discovery and the wander around Belvoir castle shops so I'll sign it up as a 16 miler still and 1125' ascent.

There were a lot of red kytes, buzzards,  red legged partridges, sand martins and other birds, a surprising amount of intact but dead animals on the paths like a robin, vole, partridge.  We saw a pheasant get hit by a car too which lead to a lengthy discussion about is it appropriate as a vegetarian to eat meat if it was killed by accident rather than design!  Anyway, lots of flora and fauna (if not all breathing) around.

If you want to see the route you can download the gpx file.

I did put it on my watch before I went but I didn't really bother with it, I followed the map.  I'm totally impressed with myself and always grateful for my walking partners calm support and never ending patience.


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