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, 30 June 2014

On the Viking Way

It was an early start this morning. 0517 to be exact. I do wish that Mick would put the time right on his phone so that when he sets his alarm for 0530, it doesn’t go off at 0517. As it turned out, the earlier-than-intended start was beneficial, as it caused me to be out of the house by 0605, giving me the best part of 2 hours to complete my 55-mile journey by my intended arrival time.

I had expected that two hours would be nearly an hour more than I needed for that journey at that time of day, but what I hadn’t reckoned on was the A50 being closed and major road works for quite some distance as I skirted Nottingham. I arrived at my destination just a few minutes before 8 and after no small amount of faffing (I thought I ought to get most of my faffing out of the way before I was in company!), off I set from the church at Long Bennington to walk towards Marston along the Viking Way.

Aside from having two (mucky-pawed) dogs jump up me in the first mile (separate incidents), missing an unmarked turn which occurs right in the middle of a crop field, and having to stop to apply sun cream under the morning’s glorious blue skies, all was uneventful on my outward leg. I made it two miles into the walk to Marston before I spotted Conrad walking towards me, and as the purpose to my day was to walk with Conrad, I performed an about turn as we met in a gateway to a green lane.

With the exception of the aforementioned unmarked turn in the middle of a crop field, the Viking Way proved to be very well way-marked and very straightforward, which was a good thing, as chatting took precedence over paying attention to our surroundings. Much of the day wasn’t just straightforward, but also about as straight as a walk is likely to get:


We weren’t without our grumbles about the route, mind, when we got to a section of old drove road that had been horribly rutted by tyres:


The ruts were generally much deeper than they look in this snap

By and by, we left the old drove road and joined a disused railway line instead, which runs adjacent to the disused Grantham canal, and a short while later we joined the canal itself. I should have taken a photo of our lunch-stop at a lock, with the lock-keeper’s cottage behind and a bridge in front. Or, of the evidence of the canal being disused. Or, of the pub just over the way. Or, of Conrad, to prove that he really is out walking this walk and not making up his nightly blog posts. But, I completely failed to take any photos apart from the one above and the one below taken from the ‘big hill’ (one hundred feet above the surrounding flatness counts as ‘big’, doesn’t it?):


With time marching on, and the knowledge that I needed to negotiate the road works again on my way home, once lunch was eaten, I bade farewell to Conrad, did another about turn and walked back the way we had come.

An hour and a half later, I was back at Long Bennington church where, conveniently, my car was still waiting for me, whereupon it willingly transported me home. My stats for the day were 16.1 miles walked with somewhere in the region of 250’ of ascent.

It was a fine outing, in fine company, which made a very nice change from the local paths. Thank you Conrad Smile


  1. It was a good day. I have reported on my blog. I'm sure you must have walked more than 16 miles. For me that last mile or so into Woolthorpe was the longest.

    1. The 16.1 miles was as measured by the Garmin Gadget GPS. It stacks up with your distance too, as I didn't join you for the first or last mile of your day, but did the rest twice.