Sunday, February 10, 2013

Walk it Wednesday (with apologies to Jez!)

Wednesday, 6th February 2013: The weather has been all over the place so far this year, just like my computer. I wonder whether the two are linked?  I found myself going stir-crazy, not having had a decent cycle ride (well apart from the weekend) so despite the wind whipping around and about I talked my wife into going for a walk with me.

When the kids were younger we found ourselves heading off to the Lake District for our Summer Hols more than once – in fact 7 or 8 times in all. (The run was interrupted by Foot and Mouth I seem to remember, we did resume but we had gotten the taste for other places). We started going because when I was at Primary School I started reading the Arthur Ransome series of books - Swallows and Amazons. Many of which were set in the Lake District. When the head retired she gave me a copy of Winter Holiday (my favourite), I was about ten at the time.  That is how small country primary schools worked in those days – we had 60 kids total (infants and juniors) and two teachers, no Teaching Assistants.

But I digress, when my son was a wee bit younger I started reading him the series and so we headed of their for our hols. We used to aim to walk 9 or 10 times during the fortnight and along with Beatrix Potter it was a great place to go. Both my son and daughter loved it and anyone with kids will know that happy kids on holidays means happy parents.

Although many people will have heard of Wainright, we had been recommended books by a chap called Bob Allen – such as this one On Lower Lakeland Fells. They were great and we used to mark off the walks as the kids grew older we migrated to On High Lakeland Fells. I also used to take my bike up and pop out early in the morning – you forget how hard hills can be to cycle living in the Flatlands of East Anglia.

Some ten or so years later my son and his girlfriend went up for a week and took one of the books and repeated some of the walks – duly marking the page to show the date.

The Lake District is named for a reason and even in the Summer it can quickly get cold and wet – we always took a map and compass with us, along with decent clothing and leggings.

So a bit of wind on the Fens was going to be a picnic. My wife still walks every week with her friends. They walk 6-10 miles at a time, with lunch in the middle.  So my offer was to park up near Burwell Lode footbridge and walk to the cafe in Wicken Fen, have a snack and walk back. That way we both got a bit of fresh air. It was rather strange driving along roads I normally cycle. Anyway we got there and had a look at Burwell Lode from the footbridge and then set of towards Wicken.   The wind was wicked – as we passed Priory Farm it was so cold that I got an ice-cream headache and had to put up my hood. Then it started sleeting – well at that point we wimped out and headed home for some hot soup. we’d had enough cold fresh air for the day and we’d walked less than a mile!

As we were driving back down Factory Road (aka Little Fen Drove on the OSM map) into Burwell my wife immediately spotted a pair of Heron and a few deer. Now the last time I bumped into Mike C and stopped for a chat I mentioned how I had seen far fewer deer around. well the reason is I don’t seem to be keeping my eyes open. Some friends in Burwell think they are a bit of a pain as they eat things out of their garden.

Deer near Wicken Fen

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