(Mick only; detailed supplied by Mick)
31 March (0845-1530)
Distance: 16 miles (Tot: 212)
Weather: cloudy start, then warm and sunny, but v. windy
Number of churches: loads
Number of unfulfilled kissing gates: all 14 of them*
It was a rainy night and having rained for so many hours the natural assumption was that it would continue. But, of course, rain always stops eventually (even if sometimes that is days later) and on this occasion it stopped about ten minutes after the alarm went off. Perfect timing!
With the skies still threatening we were dressed for wet weather as we strode/hobbled (Mick/me) away from the campsite, only to part at the end of the driveway as Mick turned left and I turned right.
I made my way down to Market Rasen and arriving an hour early for my train was pleased to find that next to the train station is a big Tesco complete with a coffee shop, so that was me sorted for the wait. Three trains, a bus and four hours later I was home.
Meanwhile, Mick found the beginning of his walk a little bit strange as he’s not accustomed to this solo walking malarkey. Moreover, he’d lost his navigator so he had to take on that task too – more of a challenge as he can’t see the map without his specs on (plus he had no-one to blame when it went awry, which I’m sure is why he usually delegates the navigation to me!).
By the time he climbed up onto the ridge at Normanby le Wold the weather was clearing, the layers were coming off and there were fine views to be seen out to the west, with Lincoln Cathedral visible in the distance (I had a closer view, as I had to change trains at Lincoln). It was about this time that a small panic ensued when Mick realised that he’d lost his camera and immediately back-tracked to try to find it, only to remember a few hundred yards later that he’d stowed it in his lid pocket this morning rather than in its usual home of the hip-belt pocket.
Meeting an elderly chap who was out for his daily exercise, Mick learned that when visibility is really good up on the ridge the views are extensive indeed, as the chap listed various distant features that can sometimes be seen. The chap then explained his various ailments (new hip, knackered knee) before wishing Mick a pleasant walk.
With the Viking Way having dropped down into a protected valley the rising wind went unnoticed for a while, but by the time Mick was the other side of Caistor, where he found a nice spot for lunch, the day had become quite blustery.
As the Way continued to through farmland and villages the wind became the most notable feature of the day; it was very strong and was causing lots of dust storms- Mick reported at the end of the day that he felt like he was being sand-blasted from the dirt blowing off recently-ploughed fields. With the clouds having cleared and the sun beating down, the sand was sticking nicely to the applied sun cream**.
Apparently there are some lovely villages along the way, which I will appreciate when I come to walk this section, and each village had its own small church, which Mick photographed as he went.
From Bigby on, things became less interesting, with pastureland being prevalent on the walk into Barnetby le Wold, where relief from the wind was finally found in arriving at the night’s B&B.
Whilst Mick’s been battling the wind and making progress north, I’ve washed and dried my down jacket so that it is now restored to fluffiness (I’d noticed last week that it was becoming a bit flat), have rested and aired my feet (not to mention having applied liberal amounts of surgical spirits) and I’ve booked a train ticket for Saturday afternoon to get myself to Mick’s brother’s house, which is where Mick’s heading on Saturday afternoon too. I’m pleased to report that the two most troublesome blisters are looking better than they have over the last few days. Fingers crossed that the others follow suit tomorrow.
(A couple of notes from me on Mick’s report:
*I’m quite pleased that the kissing gates were unfulfilled!
** I did a bit of pre-nagging before I left. Applying suncream was one of the nags, because Mick is a delicate flower who burns at the drop of a hat. This bit of Mick’s description of the day was, I’m sure, designed to let me know that he is a big boy and can remember his suncream without a prompt!)