ELKINGTON TO BRAUNSTON 

The one with the scary bull, the blister and the forever friends. 

DISTANCE: 16 miles! 

WEATHER: Within 15 mins of walking the brolly ☔️ was out and it stayed like that for most of the day. 

HEALTH: Julia is fine, Debs has a blister and Rebecca is dandy! 

SUMMARY

As I type I’m sitting in the Admiral Pub Garden in my tent listening to the pitter patter of rain on my tent. It’s a familiar sound as I’ve been listening to the potter patter of rain against my trekking brolly all day! 

We were drenched through within 30 mins of today’s hike, but what kept us going today was the generosity of people. To Ed who turned up to meet us in West Haddon with homemade banana cake (still warm!), to Annette who organised our camping spot tonight. Annette and Stuart’s generosity did not stop there! They made us tea, took us for a meal at the Boathouse, washed and dried our socks and even pitched my tent while I went to collect Debby’s car! 🙏 The pub landlord has been brilliant and even though they don’t open until tomorrow they let us use the loo and said if we wanted a coffee or a glass of wine, or even just to laze on the sofa in front of the fire for a bit then we were more than welcome.  The highlight was Molly (Rebecca’s daughter turned up with hot water bottles for us both and they even had hot water in them!). 

This whole day has made me feel so grateful for the generosity of people. Xxx

Julia’s Ramblings

Feeling refreshed after a great nights sleep in our own beds we are ready to hit the trail about 8am. We organised a shuttle of cars so that we have a get-out clause if anything goes wrong. The weather is not looking great but hey, it’s just rain and our bodies are waterproof aren’t they? Debby and I both changed our footwear. I swapped to my more waterproof Salomon boots and Debby changed her shoes to boots. 

The climb out of Elkington was quite tough and our hearts were racing as we reached the top of Honey Hill. The rain started so we changed into rain gear and erected my brolly.  The conversation went a bit quiet as we navigated wooded areas and slippery stiles. 

8.49am – We eventually started our descent towards Winwick and we passed a very posh house with two horses in the front paddock. The dark brown horse lowered his head to eat some grass and let out a tremendous fart just as we were walking by! We all started laughing and then the silly conversations started again 🙂 

9.08am – We crossed a wheat field and suddenly the cold water from the rain reached parts of me that would make you shiver! Walking next to huge windmills with the mist is a bit early. 

9.38am – We spot beautiful white peacocks and doves galore as we walk by Winwick Hall. We stopped to chat with the friendly gardener who told us about the owners of the property. Winwick is such a quaint little village. The architecture of the wall surrounding the Grand Hall is very unique and very curvy! Rebecca releases her inner child and plays hide and seek! 

9.52am – On the outskirts of Winwick, we see three Llama’s or perhaps they are alpacas? I can never tell the difference. I quickly text Rachel with a photo of the cute animals….. they are Llamas.  🦙.

10.30am – The rain continues pelting down as we eventually drop into West Haddon. I’m praying that a pub is open. We know this village well so head straight for The Pytchley where we are greeted with a very warm welcome. ☕️ is ordered and all

Is ok in the world again. Who cares if it’s raining? As I exit the pub loos a song bellows over the internal speakers “Don’t worry, be happy”. We had a bit of a boogie singing along and then decided that we couldn’t delay the inevitable any more… packs on, let’s go! We are waiting to cross the road to pop into the shop to buy a sarnie for lunch and the man from the pub came running through the car park with Rebeccas stick! Oops! 

11.20am – We grabbed a few supplies from the village shop and as I’m paying I spot a familiar face in the doorway. Ed (one of my Adventure Geekers) was standing there holding three portions of homemade banana cake with nuts. It was fresh out of the oven and still warm. She had driven here and she had seen one of our posts on Facebook! Wow! How lovely was that? A quick selfie then we waved Ed goodbye, brolly up and we were wincing again on our way. 

11.46am – We Walk across more wheat fields. The eater from the wheat stems are drenching our clothes and it’s quite cold. It was a bit strange walking underneath the electric pylons in the rain as the noise is very sizzley! (I think I just made up that word!)

1pm – We reach Watford village as the clock ⏰ strikes 1! We stop briefly in the church for a group discussion as everyone is drenched to the bone. Rebecca makes a suggestion of having a coffee break under the M1 bridge. Great idea!  Our happy demeanour is running low as we are wet, cold and hungry! Let’s go and find that bridge. It’s not that far so shouldn’t take us long.  

1.20pm – We see the bridge but there is an obstacle in our path. The biggest Bull ever with his partner in crime, one lady cow! I’m NOT going in there! I declare (see video). Actually, if you don’t like swearing then it’s perhaps best to skip the video! Debby the cow whisperer takes charge and off she goes! This thing is huge! It took one look at Debby and it’s winky decides to make an appearance! Although there is nothing dinky about this winky!!! 

Next to the bull is a very pretty grey cow which starts mooing loudly. I’m not happy about going through this field. But then suddenly it’s as if they got bored and headed off into the sunset. If they could have held hands they would have done! 

1.40pm – We made it to the sanctuary of the M1 concrete bridge and built a picnic. Our Jetboils came out, we made coffee and ate our sarnies. We look like hobo’s! 

Debby removes her shoes and reveals a blister the size of Jupiter! Ouch! That looks painful. Debby also uses the shelter of the bridge to change into something a bit drier.  Suddenly the bridge is full of headlight beams as a tractor 🚜 driver decides that now is a good time to drive through the bridge. As he was unlocking gates it gave us time to move our stuff. We squashed against the wall to let him pass…. no thanks from the tractor driver. I bet he thought we were homeless people! 

The locks at Watford we’re lovely and many canal boats were making their way through. The rain had lifted a bit now and was more like a light drizzle so we could take photos and enjoy the scenery a bit more. 

3pm – The familiar site of Ashby St Ledgers is on the horizon. We just need to follow this herd of milking cows! We waiting until the last one had gone by and then we tagged on the end. We were following cow number 697 and the motion of its branding on its rear end going up and down was quite therapeutic. Well, it was until the dam thing decided to turn around and moo at us very loudly! 

We eventually arrive in Ashby St Ledgers and I text Annette (who is helping us out with somewhere to stay tonight) to say where we are. She responded, “you are only 2.5 miles from Braunston so I’ll put the kettle on”. Wicked! 

4.20pm – We arrive at our final destination (sort of). An eye and Stuart live in the centre of the village and greet us with open arms (virtual open arms as there is a pandemic out there you know!).  She motions for us to sit down and don’t worry about our shoes but I can’t walk through someone’s house in these sopping boots. We all take off boots (Debby does this slowly as her blister has now popped!) and drenched socks. Annette grabs a towel and tells us to dry our feet and then gives us all dry socks to put on. I’m so grateful for warm, dry feet I could cry! Tiredness sweeps over me as we sit in their conservatory sipping hot tea. Annette throws our wet stuff into the washing machine to put them on a quick wash & spin cycle.  

Once we had regrouped Annette explained our choices for camping tonight. We could camp in her garden (but only enough room for two tents) or she had spoken to the owner of the Admiral Nelson Pub and we could camp there. As there were three of us, we decided on the pub. The pub owner was so lovely and told us we could use the facilities as much as we wanted and even though they were not open until tomorrow we could have a coffee or glass of wine and spend time on the cosy-looking sofas! 

Annette has been a rock today. She pitched my tent in the rain for me as I drove Debby back to Ellington to pick up her car. Debby made the decision that she was going home tonight so that she could take good care of her feet. A good decision. 

We all met up at the Boathouse Pub on the outskirts of town and ate a meal together, including Annette & Stuart.  During the meal, we started our plans for tomorrow…….

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