Wed, 2013 Jul 31 9:41 AM British Summer Time
We start by walking past the large church along Churchgate, following it round to the little cemetery. Just after this we go through a kissing gate, taking the path close to the hedge on our left. We cross the stream and make our way over fields, with the site of Hallaton motte and bailey to our right
|The motte and bailey|
We did wander from the path once or twice when we couldn’t see the waymark posts. The rain made it more difficult to keep consulting the map or guide book! Too many raindrops to wipe off. So two graceful curves instead of a straight line on the garmin trace around Horseclose Spinney. After that point we managed to follow the route as far as Cranoe church for an earlier-than-planned stop for coffee in the church porch, watched by a couple of carved heads. Some one has been at them with the felt-tip, but this is clearer on the photos than in real life!
The lion on the outside of the porch has been left alone.
From Cranoe to Glooston involves road walking, but the road is very quiet and the surface a welcome respite from the wet fields. The rain is not stopping, and we take sanctuary in Glooston church porch for our second rain-pause in just over a mile.
We didn’t set out with the intention of studying carved heads today, but here are another two.
We walked the route from Glooston to Hallaton quite recently, so find our way easily to Stonton Wyville. We become aware that water has seeped from wet crops down into our boots – squelch, squelch. By the time we reach Stonton Wyville, we’re too wet to care, so after a quick adjustment of boots we head for Langton Caudle. Its fine views are visible but rain-hazed. We could still do with one extra LR marker up here, but we reach the trig point without problem, since we know the way!
|We came, we saw, we conquered!|
We follow the path from the trig point keeping close to the hedge on our right, and go downhill, through a long pasture to the ford. Here we turn left along the bridle path to Thorpe Langton. We cross the main road and take the street leading to the church. We turn right along the footpath. This church offers us no sanctuary from the rain – even the porch is locked.
So it’s over the fields to the farm road, turn left and at the end into a field and right through the gate in the hedge just after the shelter! Onwards more or less east until we arrive at East Langton. We’ll make the small detour to the pub.
They are remarkably pleasant to us even though we resemble drowned rats, and are quite happy for us to remove boots and socks in a side room before we order some lunch. The barman does offer us the choice of “waterlogged sandwiches”, but we decide we prefer the ciabatta – served with salad and chips. It’s excellent. £6.95 for the meal + £2 for a drink. I recommend The Bell.
The last three miles or so are flat and shouldn’t present much of a challenge – we think. And at first it’s just like that – through meadow/pasture land – a herd of Lincoln Red cattle, or choc cows and calves, who look but aren’t interested. Then there are sheep, and we go under the railway line. So far so good.
Two fields later we hit a small section of woodland. The path goes through here, but it looks as though the vegetation has had a growing binge. Luckily I have my trekking pole on my back-pack. I rarely use it, but it works as a substitute machete, and we force our way through along the marked path.
We’re going to head for the factory on the horizon. All goes well until we’re within 100 yards, and we have the same problem. This time it defeats us before we start. I know there’s another route. We go back, and just before we join the B6047, we face a similar problem. Tall wet nettles and umbellifers, and yes, LR waymarkers lead straight through this jungle.
We get there. Then we have a slightly hairy 200 yards or so to walk on the pavement next to the busy road, dodging cars and vegetation. It’s a relief to reach the canal. We’ve decided to make our own way to Foxton Locks. rather than tackle more soggy fields.
A short distance along the towpath, and a large willow tree has split and a bough has fallen on top of a narrowboat and is blocking the waterway. No one has been hurt, and they’re planning to get it cleared soon. We can walk underneath it.
Now things are looking smooth – the rain has stopped, we’re beginning to dry out, and the prospect of a coffee at Foxton Locks is inviting. A good path, water alongside, no nettles to fight. Life is sweet.
Of course, just before we arrive at the Bridge 61 pub near the Locks, the rain begins in earnest, and we get soaked again. We stay inside until there’s another break on the rain, and walk up past the flight of locks to complete the circle of the Leicestershire Round.