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, 22 November 2015

A Visit to the Smallest County (2)

Thursday 19 November

Having noticed on Wednesday afternoon that the Morrison’s supermarket just outside of Stamford doesn’t have any parking restrictions, I thought we may as well take advantage by visiting the town and walking a circuit taking in the river and a bit of the perimeter of the Burghley Estate.

The town surprised me in how attractive it is, how many churches it houses and how big the Stamford School is, but we didn’t loiter for very long, knowing that we would be coming back through at the end of the walk. Instead, we made a beeline for the river and along it we walked, tracing the steps of the Romans, apparently:

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The river wasn’t actually very attractive and the riverside path was a mudfest. By the time we struck off across muddy farmland I was hankering after the surfaced tracks around Rutland Water and thinking I’d picked a poor route for this day:

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It did get better. Once we reached the woodland visible ahead of Mick in the above snap, the underfoot conditions improved considerably and the surroundings were more pleasing too. The village of Easton on the Hill (if I’d read the name of the village before we’d set out perhaps I wouldn’t have been surprised that we had to go uphill to get there!) was another delight (albeit one of which I didn’t take any photos) and beyond there the view from another good track gave us a bit of history, in the shape of this derelict building, to ponder over:

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Wondering what St. Martin was without…

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… I had hoped that by taking a little out-and-back along the edge of the Burghley Estate we would get a good view over the grounds and maybe a glimpse of the house (which we would have visited, had they not been closed for the winter). Alas, even though the contour lines on the map looked promising, trees and a bank obscured all views, meaning that most interest along that section was in watching a plethora of poor golfers on the adjacent course.

Cheekily we commandeered the bench behind the fifth tee for our lunch break, whereupon it started to rain. Harrumph! The forecast had told us we should remain dry until late afternoon, but it definitely continued as we short-cut back into Stamford and perused the bookshelves of the charity shops. As with the previous day, any inclination to explore the town further was eradicated by the rain, so back to Colin we headed, having walked just over 7.5 miles with around 400’ of ascent.

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