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]

Monday, 29 August 2011

East to West Photos: Day 17

Tues 5 April (0735-1630)
Distance: 21 miles (Tot: 295) (Wellburn to Scawton)
Weather: mainly overcast, some sun

This was a fantastic day! It was spent walking through the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (I’d never even heard of the Howardian Hills before we got to the first sign post that mentioned the name), and it was indeed outstanding.

Approaching the Castle Howard estate some of the trees in the woodland seemed to be exceptionally old. I had to have Mick stand next to this huge one to give a sense of scale.

Day 15-1Once on the estate there was plenty to see, as well as manicured grounds. Amongst other things there was the mausoleum …

Day 15-2 …the photo of which was taken from the top of this very steep bridge:

Day 15-3

And looking in the other direction from the top of that bridge was Castle Howard itself. Day 15-4 Just after leaving the estate was the village of Coneysthorpe, which looked to be estate-owned (matching paint colours and matching picket fences on all of the properties giving that impression).

After leaving the village our way was upwards, onto a ridge which gave superb views. On the way I noticed this way marker that had been partially eaten by the tree.

Day 15-5Once up on the ridge we paused for a snack and as we got back up, but before we started walking again, we noticed a hare heading towards us across the field. We stood still and it got closer and closer until it was within a few feet of us. Eventually we could resist no longer and, at the same time, we both started slowly moving an arm towards our cameras. No sooner had our muscles twitched with that thought than the hare noticed us and took flight (or hared off, if you prefer). These subjects were more willing to be photographed as Mick chatted to them. Day 15-7Our most audacious bit of trespassing to date preceded our arrival at this bench which I got the feeling was put there in memory of someone called Simon.

Day 15-8 The interesting features of the day weren’t done even then. There was another mausoleum, another stately home and then the remains of Riveaulx Abbey, which also looked worthy of further investigation (although on reflection if we had visited every abbey or priory that we passed on this walk I think we would have become sick of them; we did pass an impressively large number of such ruins)

Day 15-9

The original post for the day can be found here.

East to West Photos: Day 16

Mon 4 April (0755-1510)
Distance: 17 miles (Tot: 274) (Kilnwick Percy to Wellburn)
Ascent: 3000'!
Weather: frosty start with high cloud, then cloudy, showers from

There were quite a few days on this trip when I mentioned rain in the weather reports, but with some extraordinary luck there were only three days when it rained enough to really warrant use of full waterproofs. This was the only day during the first five weeks that fell into that category, and even then it was only an hour and a half of rain during the afternoon.

Long before that rain started we had a bit of a titter at the header on this sign as we both agreed that we’d never seen a cow with its dogs!

Day 14-1We assumed that this field full of colourful flags (I know you can’t quite make out that it was a field full of colourful flags, but it was) was aimed at bird-scaring.

Day 14-2 It was as we walked down this sunken lane that the rain started and after a few minutes we were both digging into our bags for our waterproofs.

Day 14-3 It seemed more than a little odd to have a sign at a field entrance to say that the field wasn’t suitable for motors. In fact, you might assume that someone had turned the sign around and that it should have been perpendicular to the road. A look at the map confirmed that it was correctly placed, as the left side of that field is, in fact, a by-way. We followed the by-way and didn’t encounter any motor vehicles (or any vehicles, or any people, for that matter). 

Day 14-4Kirkham Priory did deserve a visit, but the rain was really coming down as we passed which we didn’t find to be conducive to having a poke around some ruins. From the empty car park, I don’t think they had very many customers that day!

Day 14-5 “Can you smell garlic?” asked Mick as we passed through some woodland a short while later.

Day 14-6Regular readers may know that I have an issue with people pitching three feet away from us when we’re the only tent in an empty field. This is our tent, pitched six feet away from the only caravan (there were no other tents) in the whole of a quite sizeable field. In our defence, it was very windy, there was no other shelter, and we had already ascertained that there wasn’t going to be anyone at the caravan whilst we were there.

Day 14.7

The original post for this day can be found here.

East to West Photos: Day 15

Day 15

3 April (1600-1800)
Distance: 6 miles (Tot: 257) (by Shiptonthorpe to Kilnwick Percy)
Weather: rain to our left (we caught a few drops), blue sky to our right

I think the fact that this day was only 6 miles long (we didn’t even set out until 4pm!) explains why there were so few photos taken.

Walking through one farmyard we felt like we were being watched…Day 13-1

And then at another farm we pitched our tent. At £3 for the two of us for the night it was both the cheapest and the best value campsite of the trip (better facilities than at some sites costing four times as much, too).

Day 13.2  The original blog post can be found here.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

East to West Photos: Day 14


2 April (0655-1235)

Distance: 16.5 miles (Tot: 251) (Before Brantingham to by Shiptonthorpe)

Weather: overcast, some light showers, warm, bit breezy


Easter Sunday, 24 April (0810-1305)

Distance: 14 miles

Weather: high cloud, a few sunny intervals, warm again

This was the day that Mick described, in a text message to me, as being ‘much pimpled’, which, once translated from the language of iPhone auto-correct, turned out to mean that it was much lumpier. Sure enough, as I set out on my day I was soon huffing and puffing up a violent undulation. I don’t think that the photo represents how steep it was. Or maybe it wasn’t that steep, but after a couple of weeks with barely more than a few dozen contour lines between them, even a slight incline seemed steep:

Day 12 Pimplied

The road signs did seem to agree with my assessment of the terrain:

Day 12-1g

The lumps did make for some good views, and with the haze being significantly less than the previous day I could clearly make out the Humber below me.

Day 12 Pimply Views

Later in the day the views were over endless farmland, with the rape standing out against the lush greenness.

Day 12 yellow and green

Mick had enthused about the shape and generally pleasing look of this wide, shallow valley, and it was indeed a nice place to be on a sunny day. Admittedly the photos make it look rather non-descript, but as farmland goes, it really was quite pleasant.

Day 12 U shapedDay 12-2The original posts for the day can be found here and here.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

East to West Photos: Day 13


1 April (0805-1800)

Distance: 22.5 miles (but felt further*) (Barnetby le Wold to before Brantingham)


Saturday 23 April (0650-1600)
Distance: 24.5 miles (Barnetby le Wold to Brantingham)
Weather: wall-to-wall sunshine, v hazy, no wind, ridiculously warm

We both took lots and lots of photos on this leg of the walk. It’s been a job to whittle them down, and even now I’ve probably reproduced too many. For this day I’ve split them into Mick’s photos (first) then my photos (below).

Given my partiality for signs, how could I resist reproducing this one. I’m sure there must be a story behind it:

Day 11-1Mick had a good view of the Humber Bridge** on his approach:

Day 11-2

When he got there he had the bridge almost to himself. He chose the east walkway and crossed in the company of a chap that he met on the way. That chap was the only person he encountered in the 31 minutes it took him to get to the other side.

Day 11-3 

He had a good view from the other side too (with a noticeable lack of people in this photo too - the difference between a cool, damp mid-week day, and a sunny bank-holiday weekend is evident in my photos below).

Day 11-4 

It was Mick’s first solo wild camp that night. The main feature of his report of that experience was that Susie Superlite is absolutely huge when you have her to yourself!

Day 11-5

My day was a little different from Mick’s. Most notably mine was a lot hotter and a little bit further (and, in fact, not entirely following the same route as Mick had taken).

It was a hazy day again when I set out from Barnetby le Wold, but it was clearing a bit by the time I got to South Ferriby. I think this was the church in South Ferriby. Wherever it was, it was very pretty.

Day 11g Pretty Church 

Heading towards the Humber Bridge I came across this sign. I particularly like that the public footpath sign is pointing in exactly the same direction as where the ‘Danger’ sign is telling you to keep out.

Day 10-4g  

It was a very hot, but very hazy day, such that I didn’t get a glimpse of the bridge until I was pretty close. Even then I could only just make it out.

Day 11g Bridge

In contrast to Mick’s experience three weeks earlier on the east walkway, I passed no fewer than 75 people on this fine day on the west walkway.

Day 11g On Bridge

I should have taken a self-photo when I found the ice-cream and cold-pop vendor on the far side of the bridge. I reckon I must have had a big grin on my face at that point. As it went, the next time the camera came out was as I reached the riverside, by this ex-windmill (or at least, that’s what it looked like to me):

Day 11 windmill 

Looking back in the direction from where I’d just come, it was still a tad hazy.

Day 10-6g 

I walked along the waterside for further than Mick had, as I took the ‘low water route’ along this section of the Wolds Way, and having left the river my way took me through some woodland, where I noticed that the trees were well and truly bursting into leaf.

Day 11 woods

Did I mention that it was a ridiculously hot day? By the time I took the photo below, of the village pond in Brantingham, I had walked over 24 miles in that hotness. I reckon that if I’d stopped and immersed my feet in that pond then you would have seen the steam rise and the water level drop…

Day 11 village pond

The original posts for the day can be found here and here.

(*As it turned out, it felt further because it was further. I reckon that Mick walked a mile further than he thought.

**As I was typing this blog post I had a little bit of an aberration and couldn’t remember the name of that huge bridge. I turned to Mick and said “What’s the name of the big bridge we crossed at Barton-on-Humber?”  Doh! I did laugh a lot as soon as the last word was out of my mouth and I realised quite how ridiculous a question it was. Mick laughed more.)

Friday, 26 August 2011

East to West Photos: Day 12


31 March (0845-1530)

Distance: 16 miles (Tot: 212) (after Market Rasen to Barnetby le Wold)

Weather: cloudy start, then warm and sunny, but v. windy


Good Friday 22 April (1045-1700)
Distance: 17.75 miles (Market Rasen to Barnetby le Wold)
Weather: wall-to-wall sunshine; hazy; nice cooling breeze

A day from two perspectives, as Mick walked this day (and the next two) three weeks before I did. From his photos it seems that one of the first things that caught his eye was this super-sized golf-ball on a giant tee.Day 10-1It caught my eye too, but from a different angle and a further distance.

Day 10-1gThere was lots of pretty farmland, under stunning blue skies, and there was also a bit of woodland dotted with evidence of old industry. By the lack of leaves on the trees I can tell that Mick must have taken this photo.

Day 10-2Spring had moved on remarkably in the three weeks between our visits. The two photos below are of the same field. Mick had commented at the time that he thought I’d have a fun time walking through this rape field, and having seen his photo I said that it wouldn’t have grown that much in three weeks. I was wrong! The photo on the right is a little deceptive without anything to put it into perspective. Those flowers were up to shoulder height.

Day 10-3Day 10-2g 

Churches featured prominently during the afternoon, with every little village sporting one. Here are just a couple of them:

Day 10-4 Day 10 church

The Somerby Monument was, apparently, built in 1770 to commemorate 29 years of marriage for Edward and Ann Weston of Somerby Hall. Twenty-nine years seems like an odd number of years for such a grand commemorative monument. Why not 25 or 30 years?Day 10-3g

The original posts for this day can be found here (Mick’s) and here (mine).

Thursday, 25 August 2011

East to West Photos: Day 11

30 March (0730-1415)
Distance: 15 miles (Tot: 196) (By Stenigot to By Market Rasen)
Weather: Cloudy start, light rain from 1315

This wasn’t the happiest day of the trip. My feet were in pieces and I’d had to concede that they were likely to stay that way unless I changed some element of my footwear (I changed both the shoes and the footbeds and had no problems for the rest of the trip). In the meantime, it was a painful 15 miles.

I wasn’t quite a glum as I look here; it’s just that Mick snapped me unawares whilst I was contemplating whatever it was that I was holding at the time. As for the pitch, it was in a dip on a farmers field and there had been some nervous minutes the previous evening when the farmer had twice driven across his field, apparently not noticing our tent (we hadn’t pitched until the sun was down and the light was dimming):

Day 9-1Lots and lots of photos of churches were taken over the duration of this walk. Mick made it his theme to not pass a church or chapel without snapping it. This is a poor snap, but an interesting building. If it hadn’t been for the sorely feet I would have taken a wander over for a closer look.

Day 9-2

And, by way of a different type of graveyard, we found the place where local old Citroens go to die…

Day 9-3

The original blog post for the day can be found here.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

East to West Photos: Day 10

29 March (0900-1915)
Distance: 19.5 miles (Tot: 181) (Tattershall to Stenigot)
Weather: wall-to-wall sun till
then high cloud


On the way into Woodhall Spa the sound of an aircraft doing aerobatics was heard. For a while we couldn’t see it, but Mick said “That sounds like a Spitfire”. Finally it came into view and as soon as it did Mick exclaimed “It is a Spitfire!”. He tries (with very limited success) to instil into me his ability to recognise any military aircraft at a glance, but it was at this moment in our walk that I came to realise that I am married to a plane spotter. I’m not sure how that fact had eluded me until now. Anyway, a bit of consideration of the map told us that we had passed within metres of the Battle of Britain Flight the previous afternoon, which satisfied Mick’s curiosity as to what a Spitfire was doing flying aerobatics in the area, and on we continued to Woodhall Spa.

Once we finally cleared the town, our way was along a disused railway line, which in common with many such lines, boasts some very long straight sections:

Day 8-1

Disused railway lines, particularly those with such long straight sections and with trees obscuring views, can be a bit dull, but this one was made much more interesting by a series of art works.

Day 8-2

Each work had an information board opposite it, telling you what the work was about (and in a public-friendly, rather than an overly arty-farty sort of way). There were also regular signs telling the history of the line and of the building of it. I’m a big fan of information boards of that ilk, so I paused to read each one.

Day 8-3  Day 8-6 It wasn’t all metal art work either. Mick tried this sculpted seat for size, and found that he could fit in it even with his backpack on.

Day 8.5

Elsewhere, all around us there was evidence of the industry of farmers on this sunny day. I thought that this tractor looked particularly like a Tonka Toy sort of a model. Green paintwork and red wheels, that is surely how a tractor should look?

Day 8-4

Just before we left the railway line we passed an equestrian centre. Seeing a field of horses, this sign looked a little out of place – and not something I generally expect to see in English farmland!

Day 8-7

The orignal blog post for the day (which I notice features a photo of another artwork, which I obviously didn’t snap with the real camera) can be found here.