Day 38 - Forest of Arden to Lea Marston
Unwelcome anxiety last night with pain in my leg and concern about the heatwave coming. I have always said that if I have to miss a day’s walking for any reason then dealing with the disappointment of that will be part of the journey. But the possibility of that occurring was disconcerting in the early hours. However this morning it was a shortish walk again, and I started to construct a plan for walking at dawn next week if necessary.
Breakfast in my posh hotel was interesting. It has two golf courses, and at 7.30 am it was Pringle tops and golfing slacks agogo. Almost entirely a male clientele, there were lots of bants about who made a mess of the 8th hole yesterday and who needed to go to the optician when they got home because of their poor putting. I quietly ate my granola.
A treat to see my brother Jim and nephew Ned pull up in the car park to join me for today’s walk. They’d made a long journey, starting really early, and I was very pleased to see them.
After a bit of road, the walk was mainly on footpaths today, both trails and normal. I was concerned that the latter might have been non-existent, but fortunately they were clear enough. But the brambles and nettles were pretty high, and so there were a few comments, repeated often through the morning, from the others about the stinginess of nettles on a beshorted leg.
It’s gentle countryside round here, with the interest mainly in the smaller things as opposed to dramatic views. We admired the crops, and went through the old debate of whether a raw broad bean is edible. Much of where we were walking was described as a nature reserve, certainly the butterflies were out in force again.
The Heart of England Way segued into our footpath, with many others joining the party.
The route was going to take us past a reservoir, which we thought might give us the chance to see some water birds. As we approached the area we could hear the sounds of construction. I wondered if it might be more HS2 disruption, but as we got nearer we could see it was much smaller scale than that. However, the footpath was very much blocked. We debated rerouting, but tried calling over to the workmen to see if there was any chance of getting through. James couldn’t have been more helpful. He allowed us to come through the area, escorting us to check that we were safe. He explained that he and his colleagues were doing work on behalf of Severn Trent water authority. The stream that we were near had been drying up, causing the eels and fish to die. So they were creating a fish path, with a series of stepped ponds. This will mean that if the water levels drop there will be places with deep enough water for the wildlife to survive. What a brilliant job.
A long straight section following the train tracks caused Ned and I to be intrigued by Jim’s hitherto unknown excitement when in close proximity to trains. He was keen that we should all wave at them. We left him to it. Ned’s interest was more in lunch. So we sat on an eponymous bench in Colin Teall Wood and ate sandwiches. Mr Teall had bequeathed this little patch of woodland to the parish in the 1990s. Lots of wildlife was described as inhabiting it. We didn’t see much, but certainly saw plenty of evidence of Colin’s name.
After crossing Lea, it was a short walk through Lea Marston village, debating the different advantages of camper vans versus caravans. Let it not be said that our familial discussions are not wide ranging. Then we arrived at my hotel, another upper end golf establishment. I think the others now have an inaccurate picture of the standard of accommodation at which I generally stay. We got a taxi back to the first hotel, all keeping schtum as the driver told us that Birmingham didn’t exist in the Second World War. They then dropped me back before driving back to South London. Such a pleasure to spend time with them, and they had really cheered me up.
A longer day tomorrow to Lichfield, but then a 3 day break from walking so that we can go to a wedding in Wales. Hopefully it will give my leg and my blisters a chance to heal a bit before starting again. Unless I’m throwing some excellent shapes on the dance floor.
Distance travelled: 9 miles
Total ascent: 510 feet
Calories burned: 1120
Local tipple - Becks Blue (the draught was off)
Dinner at Lea Marston hotel - better than expected
Deep fried Brie
Ginger sponge with Amaretto cream (a rare pudding entry!)
Video of the day