The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Day 4 - New Hainford to Swanton Morley

23 March (0736-1450)
Distance: 15.5 miles
Weather: wall-to-wall sunshine
Number of stealth runners who gave me quite a fright: 1

The temperature in the night suggested that the sky had remained clear and indeed we woke this morning to a low mist and startling blueness. By the time we were ready to go, the mist had already burnt off and there was enough warmth in the day for us to set out in our shirt-sleeves.

It wasn't the nicest start to the day though. The location of the campsite meant that we first had to tackle a section of busy A road, only a small section of which boasted a pavement. The battle with traffic in a tearing hurry was over in twenty minutes and onto vast open farmland we went - where the line of our paths went straight across newly ploughed fields. Walking around may have been further, but it was definitely easier and cleaner!

Just north of Taversham we picked up the Marriott Way, a disused railway line that is now a 26-mile cycle and walking route. We were only on it for 4 miles, but they were a pleasing four miles. One of the benefits of the flat land is that cuttings were not a prominent feature. The dirt surface did muffle the sound of footfalls, mind, hence I nearly leapt as high as the trees when a runner suddenly appeared alongside me.

We'd engaged in the (usually) foolhardy game of 'what shall I have in the tea-room?' as we left the Way to go through the small village of Lenwade. We really didn't expect a tea room, and certainly not one that was open and so when we stumbled across one with multiple 'open' signs we didn't need to consult each other before stopping for a very early lunch (and I can report that they serve monster portions).

The nature reserve through which we passed, having finally hauled ourselves back out of the tea room, was set off very nicely under the still-blue skies, but by the time we got through the village of Lyng my body and feet were protesting. I don't think that the long stop and big lunch with so few miles under our belts helped, and I had to give myself a good talking to (not to mention a bit of chocolate) to convince myself that the last three miles were going to be over before I knew it.

The thermometer (admittedly sitting 90 degrees to the sun) was reading 24 degrees as we strolled along those final lanes to our night stop. A bit of a contrast to the same week last year when I don't think my fleecy hat left my head for the whole week and I was wearing everything I had with me.

Tonight's campsite (Hunter's Hall) is big, yet empty save for our tent. It's a very nice site and excellent value for money, but it's always amusing when arriving on such an empty site to get given strict instructions about how and where to pitch, as if breaching the rules would inconvenience anyone!

As to the state of the body, the feet are unsurprisingly protesting at the extra load they've been carrying and are not looking forward to tomorrow's longer day.

(Robin - I was going to suggest that Martin should go for a walk over the same period to counter-act your luck with the weather - but it seems that he beat me to it!
Carol - from the small sample we had it seemed like a nice route. The Marriott Way today seemed equally nice.
Mike - didn't want to be carrying extra hair around!)
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  1. So we'll see who really controls the weather. I hope it's not me!

  2. Don't worry about M&G, Robin, it'll be fine in the Wolds, even if you do get a bit of dreich on the Moors!

  3. your getting the best of the Norfolk weather we also did a nice 14 miler today taking in the coast and pedars way :-)

    Friday you will pass so close to my house shame i have to be at work by 7am..I did think about calling in sick BUT that's just not me :-(

    Hopefully i will catch up with you tomorrow evening :-)

  4. It looks like a good route. It's amusing to see what a long way from my route you are. The permutations between Lowestoft and King's Lynn are endless. It would be interesting to get ten different backpackers to plot their favoured route. Do you think we would come up with ten entirely different versions?

    I had a big day out yesterday - The Buttermere Horseshoe - 5200ft of ascent - post imminent on my blog. I'm a bit dehydrated today, but have to go on a walk with Pete at 10:30 which I am committed to - ah well, it's all good training for my forthcoming ventures.

    I hope this good weather continues for you.