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]

Friday 22 April 2011

Day 12 - Market Rasen to Barnetby le Wold

Good Friday 22 April (1045-1700)
Distance: 17.75 miles
Weather: wall-to-wall sunshine; hazy; nice cooling breeze
Number of long-tailed black flying insect-things encountered in the lee of hedgerows: 5.3 million

What a stunning day for a walk! With it being a public holiday too I would have expected half the world to be out walking, and maybe they were, but not on the Viking Way.

Three trains, which ran nicely to time (something of a relief what with a 5-minute connection to make at Lincoln), had me in Market Rasen by 10.45, to fill in the gap in my journey from 3 weeks ago.

Three miles of road walking got me onto the Viking Way at Walesby, and soon I was huffing my way onto a ridge that would have commanded superb views over the flatness below, had the weather been clearer. I may have missed the view that Mick had of Lincoln Cathedral, but I can't really complain about a bit of haziness given the perfection of all other aspects of the weather.

What goes up must come down, and it was a long downward trend into Caistor, which presumably isn't always as quiet a town as it was today. I arrived there having covered 10 miles in under 3 hours (I blame it on having only a light pack on!). I did then start to take things more gently, or at least to stop more. A can of ice cold pop gave me cause for a break in Caistor, but with nowhere attractive to sit without backtracking from the shop to the town square, I carried on another half a mile before pausing for lunch.

From lunchtime, the afternoon had two distinct trends: yellow and the -by suffix.

I was walking through lush farmland where the main crop (or maybe just the most noticeable crop) was rape, which is currently in full bloom. Mick had noted one particular field where the path was very narrow and had said that I would be covered in yellow pollen when I passed through. Looking at the photo he took, the rape was so short that I dismissed the notion that it would have grown so much as to cover the path within 3 weeks. I now appreciate that rape grows quickly - it was up to shoulder height and above, and in full bloom. I didn't get covered in pollen, though; a wider path has been recently mown through.

The -by suffix was the other notable theme. During the last six miles, before reaching Barnetby, I passed through Clixby, Grasby, Owmby, Searby, Somerby and Bigsby. They were mainly tiny villages, and in most cases I just crossed the main street from one bit of farmland to another, but I couldn't help but notice that all bar one of these -by villages had impressive little churches.

Barnetby is a bigger village than the ones that came before it, but it seems to be lacking in interesting features. Still, it had everything that I needed on arrival: a shop selling ice creams, and the guest house where I'm staying tonight.

Tomorrow, the Humber Bridge (a surfeit of big bridges - it was only two days ago that I crossed the Forth).

(Note: without the need for most of my kit, and with access to plug sockets, I brought my Garmin Forerunner GPS with me to record some stats, mainly to see how the actual distances compare to the distance measured on the map. I can therefore report that I covered 17.8 miles today with 5 hours 5 minutes spent moving and 1 hour 10 minutes spent stopped.)

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  1. I understand that the -by suffix is down to the Vikings who presumably came raping and pillaging some years ago.

  2. I cannot believe your speed!!! Maike

  3. I second the -by suffix being of Viking origin. When I was at school, we were taught that Grim carried the child Havelock on his shoulders through deep water and his reward was a small village named after him, Grimsby. It is a vague memory, so may not stand up to interrogation?!
    Your filling in of the gaps sounds good so far.