Having not done so for a long time, it was good to walk with a group larger than 6, in fact we doubled that number. It was a beautiful morning with a fresh breeze that cooled us as we walked. We met at Meadowcroft Garden Centre, as arranged, but regrettably there was a lack of communication with the restaurant staff and they wouldn’t take our food orders before the walk – they would have taken them yesterday, but not today! Frustrating when you have had a long conversation beforehand with the restaurant manageress. However, that was not going to ruin our walk and we set off in good spirits.
Due to lack of time, I had not, as I usually do, walked the walk beforehand, although we, as a group, had previously walked part of it. Bravely holding the OS map and with David conscientiously holding his phone also showing a map, we started in an anticlockwise direction, hesitated when the footpath didn’t become clear, changed direction, had a discussion, changed direction again and finally found the footpath and so began our walk.
It was a good group with everyone chatting with each other and when the way became unclear, they waited patiently whilst maps were studied adding their opinions to the mix. The first part was easy following a good track that gently climbed through farmland. We were to be on such terrain for the whole of the walk except a brief spell on a road. Muck spreading was in progress which gave a nice country smell to the air.
Footpaths on maps don’t necessarily mean footpaths on the ground. The first missing one was at Mark’s Farm where grapevines had been planted. This path should have cut across over the hill passing by a couple of lakes. We instead had to continue on to the next farm where we turned to climb to a high point where stands an oak tree – a good place for a breather.
Descending over fields, and crossing a stile, we reached the road and briskly walked single file to the safety of the footpath and once again joined country footpaths.
Several fields later, some of grass and others ploughed but dry and not furrowed, we made our way back to the garden centre.
It was a fairly strenuous walk of just under 8kms/5miles but one that got the muscles working again.