Friday, 22 July 2016

Humberstone to Great Dalby 21/07/16

12.9 miles, via Keyham, Hungarton, Lowesby Park, Twyford & Thorpe Satchville.

Two days of intense heat, the sort not experienced in years, is not that useful for me getting active whilst on my jollies, so not get much gets done aside from an early morning start for three hours of shed painting, so the hope comes that my batteries will feel recharged when the temperature drops and the need to walk comes on. Thursday has a 4 degree drop from the previous days' highs, so it has to be the time to get some miles under my feet, as it's been 12 days since my last serious burn, and it's good to keep things relatively local whilst in Leicestershire, adding a few new places to my wandering field and establishing a new boundary to the land of Car Treks and youthful travels. A 9.30 start then for a projected 5 hour trek to the north-east, starting out from Abbots Road URC and heading up to the ring road to detour into Monk's Rest Gardens, one of the three local parks of my youth, the others seen in March, taking the route between tennis courts and bowling green to the wooded shade beneath the Cedars and Beeches on the lawn of the Italianate vicarage. Arrive in Humberstone village at the lych-gate of St Marys, and head east on Main Street to take in the Medieval Mud walls preserved on the north edge of the churchyard, and the imposing red brick house in the old folks flats that I always assumed was 18th century but is actually a 1970s reproduction, before passing my old schools once more but this time continuing east once we reach the top of Keyham Close. Across the Ring Road again, and the ongoing road will always be Keyham Lane to me, bordering the outer edge of the city regardless of a name change to Elms Farm Cottages in it early going and the Hamilton Estate having grown over the last 20(!) years to its north, and largely hidden from view anyway, with the correct name returning with its West addition as it passes on above the Nether Hall estate.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Humberstone to The King Power Stadium 18/07/16

5.9 miles, via Uppingham & Humberstone Roads, St Martin's, Kate Street & Filbert Street.

A Summer week off from work, and I'm off Down Country because it's July, and not feeling the need to attempt the 30+ miles that I did last year, so this time around we are scaling back the wandering so that the stamina might last a bit longer as the warm months press on, and it sure looks like we've got a few hot days on the immediate horizon so modest distances are a given. Rather than heading for the countryside, it's good to start with a city walk, as Leicester's centre has still to drop onto my schedule, and an early start from the East is due so the trail might be done before lunch time, departing my chosen local start point of Abbot's Road URC at 9.05am, and setting course along Scraptoft Lane. Always felt that this was a good road for illustrating the development of suburbia in the early 20th century, showing up both the planned estate developments of the late 1930s and the more haphazard and bespoke building that preceded it, and this leads to the Troc and the Terminus, already mentioned here, before joining the A47 and Uppingham Road for the Red Route to the city. The shopping parade along here has seen a lot of family custom over the years, from Nando's the Barber (spoiling the Chicken restaurant in my mind forever) to the Hong Kong (the Chinese restaurant that was a favourite until becoming takeaway only last year), before we go a bit more Victorian Residential past Coleman Road, the sort of townhouses which I always desired way back when. Pass the site of Humberstone station on the GNR Leicester extension, where the station house remains, and on into the empire of takeaways on the latter portion of Uppingham Road, ending by Swallow Park, The Uppingham Hotel (the pub being an Islamic school these days) and The Shaftesbury (a lost cinema that still names the junction). Continue on as the A47 crosses the Willow Brook and becomes Humberstone Road, and beyond the terraces, the Merlyn Vaz health centre is the major new arrival in these parts, and a telling indication of changing times is noting the second-hand electrical retail store occupying a shop which once sold Pianos. Pass under the Midland Main Line, and the site of Humberstone Road station (the building now preserved at Shenton), and some of the industrial buildings to the south are worthy of note, the ones to the north (and the St Matthews Estate) rather less so, but you do have to love the name of Lesta Packaging PLC, don't you?

Monday, 11 July 2016

Selby to York 10/07/16

15.8 miles, via Barlby, Riccall, Naburn, Bishopthorpe, Knavesmire & The City Walls.

Saturday drops from the schedule as the weather looks gross and I'm really in need of a lie in, but I've still got a timetable to maintain so footfalls have to come on the Sunday, which requires some creative transport usage to get eastwards, and unlocking a travel achievement as we go, having now departed from all 17 of the platforms at Leeds station, checking off the elusive and rarely used #14 on this morning. So back to Selby for a 10.15am start, with a six hour walking window ahead of me and a day that looks distinctly changeable in the air, ready to burn another track to York as the last of the major railway paths in the locality is to be found out here, but there'll be a few miles to go before we get there, so early steps are made to Ousegate and on over the river to find a different, non-A19 track through New Barlby, rising onto the flood embankment around the backs of the council houses to see rather a lot of vegetation and little of the river itself. It's a theme that persists as the path takes us past the towering flour mills and eyes are cast to the river to take in what must be remnants of docks which once served them, a small crane being the most interesting relic seen atop the former landing stages. Pass around the back of the small council estate at the bottom edge of Barlby, but this supposed riverside walk isn't offering much that isn't vegetation, so steps are made across the field to York Road, arriving at about the point I left it when I passed through last year, to take a proper look at the village, the best course of action as picking up the railway route would involve pacing the side of the A19 bypass. It's an altogether odd place, with an old core around Barlby Hall, along with a spread of suburbia and council houses at both bottom and top, but lacking a pub and a church, and it's still growing too, a field being claimed for new developments when I'd figure that everyone should know the folly of wanting to live on the Selby Levels these days. Still onto the superseded main road on the path north, past Turnhead Farm and finally getting some railway relics with the crossing houses at Sand Lane and Newgrove farm, before the A19 is met, still sat on the alignment of the old ECML and with an independent cyclepath for us slow travellers, and it's an odd thought to ponder that 'Flying Scotsman', 'Mallard' and the Deltics all used to consider this line home.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Tadcaster to Selby 02/07/16

15.2 miles, via Kirkby Wharfe, Ulleskelf, Ozendyke, Ryther, Cawood & Wistow.

Arriving at the High Street bus stop in Tadcaster, it looks a lot like the weather that I left here last weekend has only just passed, which is odd as you wouldn't think you could fit all this rain into the weekends when the other days have provided so much shirtsleeves weather. Anyway, it seems like it's impossible to get out here early in the day, not getting my start until 9.55am has passed, and I wonder just how many more times I might be pacing my way up Bridge Street before this season passes, having been here four times in the last month, and the ghost town is soon to be left behind as the path takes me to the riverfront once again. Pace past the 2016 footbridge, as there'll be no criss-crossing the Wharfe on this third and final leg, taking the tree lined avenue out to the east, detouring around the house on the bank, and past the local plating fields (where all the town's sounds of life are to be heard) and on to the embankment path, onwards under the A64 and the last crossing point on the river for foot passengers and rubber tired vehicles. The hiss of rain continues as the river winds on, these lowest stretches of the Wharfe being a completely unknown quantity to me, and this feels a lot like a path I might have to myself, aside from the company of the odd dog walker and a number of roaming sheep. Pass over the sluice at the outspill of Cock Beck, finally encountered after so many appearances elsewhere, and this must be where the Wharfe ran red with blood in 1461, if the chroniclers are to be believed, and the eye does wander some to seek any landscape interest as the flat lands head east, and you stop looking west to the receding town and the hills at the edge of West Yorkshire. Grimston Park spreads out to the south, but offers little more than a lot of trees, despite the relative proximity of the house, and the only other habitation in the area is Ouston Farm, distant on the other bank, so it's time to watch the livestock and waterfowl along the way as the last hiss of rain passes over, ending just as we meet the hamlet of Kirkby Wharfe. It's a pretty modest place, set just far enough from the river to be off piste, and well hidden by many trees, but the tower of St John the Baptist peeks out to give a first bit of landscape interest since the start of the day.