Saturday, 26 March 2011

A Challenge

Hello, I`m raising funds for Children With Leukaemia.
A charity that is close to my heart I`ve set myself a challenge:

I`m cycling from Inverness (highlands of Scotland) to Durness (Northwest tip of Scotland) taking part in The Cape Wrath Challenge (a week of various distance runs) and cycling back to Inverness, a distance totalling 260 miles.
Sadly my faithful companion will not be accompanying me, but I shall be in constant touch and keeping a daily blog I hope, dependant on signal.
The event starts on 12th May and ends 24th May

If anyone would like to sponsor me that would be great or just follow the exploits and see what I conjure up food wise!
Please visit: if you would like to sponsor me, Thankyou Karen xx

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ketton, Empingham and Rutland Water

Distance 8 miles (approx)
Time: 4:30 hrs or more!

The route goes from Ketton and follows part of the Macmillan way, Hereward Way and Rutland Round via Empingham and Rutland Water.

The walk starts from Home Farm in Ketton and follows the Macmillan Way, Hereward way and Rutland Round.
OS map no. 234 will show you the route.

Here, Willow knows exactly where she`s going!

 Once through Home Farm (above) you join a track that will take you through Ketton stone quarry.
It is an undulating walk, though not strenous and is enjoyable and as you can see, one four legged friend is certainly enjoying it!    

The route is easily accessible and easy to follow with signs in places that can`t be missed!

Go away, I`m playing with my friend River!
Ok, sorry Willow, but I thought you`d like a photo of you and your friend.....
Not while I`m playing!
Ok, sorry, I`ll carry on walking then.......

Whilst willow`s having a play, I`ll show you some more of the route!

As you can see, we are going through the quarry works again and will eventually have a short incline that will take us through an Orchard where during September there is an abundance of apples that can be picked from the trees or ground.

Deviation signs are about and they do keep you safe, though why E229 I will never know!

There are various gates and styles to negotiate and in the background of me climbing over a style is a path through farmers fields which has been marked out for walkers.

The route would take us passed Woodside Farm where they make pancakes (and very nice too)

Hello Willow, still not talking?
Yeah, but I`m enjoying myself!

The route crosses over a major road which is the A606 that will take you to Stamford or Leicester, so Be careful when crossing.

But once across, the small village of Empingham can be seen.
We were also lucky with the weather and yes, it was t-shirts in March.
Sorry Scotland, I know your freezing up there at the moment, my friends from Elgin and Inverness are struggling with snow drifts.
We are thinking of you xx

Poor Willow, she did have to climb under some gates, over others and then eventually we found some dog friendly styles, thankyou!

One of the dog friendly styles and the route would take us through the village of Empingham.

Empingham itself has its own unique story.
The church here, which is called St. Peter, had ties with Lincoln Cathedral.

Also the area once had a great Battle.
Known as the Battle of Empingham in 1470, it was connected to the War of The Roses and was also known as the battle of Losecote field.

This is one of several weeping Willows that have been here for about around 300 years.

The Willow is native to these parts of the world and in days gone by its bark was found to have medicinal properties for curing aches and pains as it contained salicylic acid, a precursor to aspirin.

Although to start, its bark caused alot of stomach upset, it was refined through the centuries and made less acidic and pallatable and is still used in the making of aspirin (if I have my facts correct) 
Off shoots of The Willows are used for hedge laying or basket weaving, even today.
Its uses have proved to be so versatile that in some countries it is grown as a source of biofuel.

The only wood we went through.

Was this the wood known as Bloody Wood during the War Of The Roses?

Hello Everybody! I`m still full of bounce and enjoying myself! 
Looking forward to more walks and steaks - please mum!
I don`t know about the steaks, but the walks yes.
1 out of 2 isn`t so bad - I suppose, the other.... I`ll have to dream about it....
Why don`t we finish talking about the walk - I promise I`ll get you a steak later?
Oh all right then. We`re nearly at the dam of Rutland Water, changed the route from the Hereward way to the Rutland Round and we then follow Rutland Water to Normanton Church.....

Normanton Hotel, they serve good teas and food here and if your visiting Rutland, why not stay for a while.
It is set in peaceful surrounds and near the nature reserve where you can watch the Ospreys, Swans and all walks of wildlife here, even Barn Owls have been sighted here.

Normanton Church, which is now a museum.
Once passed here, you enter Normanton car park, here there are cafe`s and a bar and bike hire shop which also repairs and sells some of the finest bikes and gear around.

The final leg of the journey, leaving Normanton heading up the Normanton road, take care as cars do travel quickly, Willow does know her green X code!
Just follow this road and Ketton is only 3 miles from here.

We found these rather well put signs on numerous posts, but in all fairness, clean up after your dog and make sure it is close to you in fields, especially where grazing animals are, but above all farmers want you and your dog to enjoy your walk, so as a responsible dog owner, we take care of what has been lent to us,we hope you do to as there is alot to explore and enjoy!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Oakham Heritage Trail

Distance : 2 miles
Time : However long you want to explore!

Although the walk is only 2 miles long and follows the old parts of Oakham market and routes taken by people to bring cattle and follows where once the castle walls were, but have over time, disappeared, it gives a unique insight into the smallest county in the U.K and shows how life has prospered and was and still is one of the most affluent areas to live and work.

My journey starts with a hearty breakfast at the Castle Cottage Cafe, tucked away, it drew my attention and I wasn`t disappointed!
With friendly staff and a big breakfast ordered, I was then ready to waddle around the walk!
You can`t get lost and there is a heritage walk guide book that can be purchased.
The roads and paths do have signs and that is all I did, just follow the signs and the walk came naturally!
With the walk going down some Obscure places, there is an element of mystery surrounding some of the places, but you will have to look yourselves to find out.
I wanted to put a map and route on here, but due to copyright (even though I would only be explaining where to walk) I am forbidden to write it, so I hope the pictures will help in viewing the walk.

With an enticing sign, I walked in......

I was not prepared for this and all for under £9.00!
My walk started at the Castle, although it looked more like a church, but in medieval times, it was an important building, although it is not known how long it dates back, possibly as early as 980 ad.
Inside the castle are countless horseshoes, all given by peers, dignitaries and Monarchs passing through Oakham as a forfeit or homage to the town, even Our Majesty the Queen has a horseshoe here.
All Saints Church
There are a few signs, keeping you on track of the trail.
This was known as the Butter Cross.....

The stocks have everyone baffled..
These pair of pure white doves didn`t mind where they nested, in the roof of the Butter Cross, though far enough from the weird stocks!
An old watering tap...
The thatched roof of a cottage. This residence has its own story.....
The cottages story....
Site of the old Gaol, that was here in the mid 1400`s and demolished in the 1800`s
Details of Dean`s street history
The Old Grammar school.
Graffiti dating back 400 years is still visible today on the outside.
Remainders of the castle wall barely visible
Is spring arriving? They are not bluebells though.
For a good meal or a pint, why not try the Wheatsheaf  or the Odd House Tavern (below)
It is exactly that, the Odd House, but it does good meals and serves a welcome pint!