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, 7 April 2014

Day 7 - beyond Walesby to vaguely near Elsham

7 April (0810-1715)
Distance: 18 miles (tot: 120.5)
Fitbit steps: 43200
Weather: rain to start, epic rain to finish, but mainly dry in the middle
Number of fine tea-rooms frequented: just one, but notable for serving liquorice and peppermint tea :-)

It wasn't the dryest of starts to a walking day, but, counting our blessings, the rain was not heavy and the wind was from behind. Even so, we lived in our own little worlds of Underhood for the first couple of hours for the day, and the rain had removed all views from the escarpment along which we walked.

I blame the rain and the hoods being up for us merrily following a clear line through some fields and completely missing the gate where we needed to switch sides of the hedgerow. The first we became aware of the blunder was when we reached a multi-stranded barbed wire fence at the bottom of a large field, with no way for us to exit. It transpired that the only way to put ourselves right was to backtrack, uphill, to the originally-missed gate.

The second backtrack of the day wasn't really our fault, and was not large. Some wag had switched a sign-post to show the Viking Way going in a direction it didn't, and we merrily followed it for a handful of paces before both agreeing that the direction didn't feel right. A quick check of the map confirmed where we really needed to be.

Churches (all in fundamentally the same style) were a significant feature of the day. I can't think of anywhere else I've been in the country where there are so many village churches in such close proximity to each other. From a noticeboard at the church outside of which we lunched (Somersby, I think) we learnt something of the finances of these churches, thanks to last year's financial statement being displayed. We also learnt that church only holds four services a year (raising £311 in collection money last year, y'know).

It was also as we lunched that our presence horrified and embarrassed a couple of young teenage girls who came squealing down the churchyard steps on their bikes, not expecting to round the corner and find two (apparent) vagrants sitting there. Their total embarrassment amused us no end.
It wasn't much after lunch that we reached Barnetby. There we picked up our parcel from the Post Office (the Post Master had, until Mick's phone call last week, never heard of the Post Restante service and was expressively disgruntled not knowing how he was going to get paid for holding our box for us). As we were unpacking our goodies outside, we decided to cut short our day (or rather, return it to its originally planned length) and stay overnight at the Guest House across the road.

Alas, there was no room at the inn, so instead we added the weight of four litres of water to our resupply, and toddled off up the road.

The potential stealth-camp spots never looked great on the next section, and the place we ended up was dictated by the ridiculously heavy rain which started to fall. Unfortunately, when it started, I was taking a wander (without my pack) to scout out a pitch. More unfortunately, I wasn't wearing my overtrousers at the time. I wasn't gone more than a couple of minutes, but when I got back I was soaking. We threw the tent up where we stood and in all our years of inner-pitch tenting, this is the first time that we've had the inside get signficantly wet in the pitching.

If the rain lets up at any point, we may move a little - just to somewhere slightly less lumpy...

(Thanks everyone for the weather forecasts. Martin - yours was certainly detailed, and involved some sums to convert windspeeds in m/s to a scale I understand! Conrad - you (and Louise) achieved the level of detail I was expecting.)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. It is indeed an area of lovely and many village churches. Sorry about the rain. Glad that Mick now has Happy Feet. This is all going to do a fine job of keeping me amused for the next four weeks and four days ;-)

  2. You are coinciding with my Broads to The Lakes walk in 2009. At Barnetby I stayed at The Holcombe Guest House in The Annexe across the road. Sounds like the place you found to be full. I had full use of washing machine and tumble dryer on my own all for £32.50 including breakfast.

  3. Sounds wet. Next two days should be better:
    Today, Tuesday 08/04/2014
    00:00–06:00 Partly cloudy 6° 0 mm Gentle breeze, 4 m/s from west-southwest
    06:00–12:00 Partly cloudy 7° 0.1 – 0.5 mm Moderate breeze, 8 m/s from west
    12:00–18:00 Clear sky 11° 0 – 0.1 mm Fresh breeze, 9 m/s from west-northwest
    18:00–00:00 Clear sky 11° 0 mm Moderate breeze, 8 m/s from west

    Tomorrow, Wednesday 09/04/2014
    00:00–06:00 Clear sky 7° 0 mm Gentle breeze, 5 m/s from west
    06:00–12:00 Clear sky 5° 0 mm Gentle breeze, 4 m/s from west-southwest
    12:00–18:00 Fair 13° 0 mm Gentle breeze, 6 m/s from west-southwest
    18:00–00:00 Fair 15° 0 mm Moderate breeze, 6 m/s from west