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]

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Day 5 - before Thorpe-on-the-Hill to Nettleham

Saturday 5 April (0725-1020, then another hour or so spread over the next 6 hours)
Distance: 12 miles
Fitbit steps: 30500
Weather: dry, with some bits of blue sky

It turned out that our pitch last night wasn't as discreet as we'd thought when we pitched. Rather, we were perfectly visible to anyone coming up a track from Thorpe. We know for sure that we were seen, but nobody challenged us and, aside from the constant hum of the A46, an undisturbed night was had (four nights in and three so far have had a constant hum!).

For a day that saw us walk into a city, it wasn't a bad morning. One nature reserve of flooded sand and gravel pits, and one country park, featured. As pleasant as were our surroundings, things didn't go entirely smoothly through the nature reserve, where the public footpath crosses the railway line.

It was a good lot of paces before we got there that we saw the big barriers, and had our hearts sink. The signs weren't official footpath closure notices (with attendant diversion route); they were simply telling us that the level crossing was closed from early Feb till Christmas due to the building of a new bridge. There was no sign of any building works, but there was an old bridge, equally obstructed by barriers.

Our reading of the situation was that the old bridge has long been closed due to rot, and the level crossing has been the sole way for pedestrians. It has now been decided that it's too dangerous for pedestrians to cross the tracks, so rather than build the bridge and then close the level crossing, they have simply closed the level crossing too, leaving no way of crossing until a new bridge is instated.

Given the state of the bridge, the safest way of ignoring the closure notices would have been via the level crossing. Unfortunately, the only obvious way we could clamber past the comprehensive (and well-secured) barriers was on the bridge. We crossed the spongy old structure with extreme caution and, in my case, a small amount of terror.

A while later it looked like we were on a run of bad luck when a road closure barred our route, complete with two workmen ensuring it was enforced. Happily, there was a way through for pedestrians, so I didn't have to bat my eyelashes and plead.

Once in Lincoln the top priority was Mick's new shoes and in search of the Lincolnshire Runner we looked at the numbering on the road, saw which way it numbered, and accordingly walked all the way up to the top of High St. We then discovered that it's a strange street in that it numbers up one side of the road and down the other (so our object, no 115, was opposite something like no 400). All the way back down to the other end of the road we went, a detour of over a mile, and new shoes were obtained.

Then, back up the hill we went, past the cathedral, the castle and lots of other history. It's an interesting city is Lincoln, worthy of more than just a quick walk-through.

The rest of the day was spent on the run from autograph hunters, although they did eventually track us down and stalk us for the rest of the day. Actually, it was lovely to see friends Lucy and Allison, who came out to meet us to obtain my signature on some paperwork and, having chased us through Lincoln, joined us for a pub lunch once we reached Nettleham.

There's no illicit camping going on tonight. We're in a B&B, where our room is so festooned with kit and drying washing that I really hope the owners don't have any call to pop by our room!

As for today's photo, it illustrates that with the number of people around, Saturday wasn't the best day to be trying to negotiate Lincoln whilst wearing backpacks and carrying walking poles!

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  1. I'm plotting your approximate route on the Memory Map and trying to anticipate where you will go next - seems to be heading a fair way east at the moment.

  2. How about adding an accumulative mileage tally as well. So far its 84 ish miles incl. day 5. To save you adding it up.