Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The First Day

Left Mrs Wubbleyou sat disconsolate on the 07.26 to Snow Hill, and disembarked at Hatton. Walked along the canal towards Shrewley.

Crossed over the railway line and the M40 to Gt Pinley farm, then to Pinley Abbey. The OS map implies there are the remains of a Cistercian Abbey there: I couldn't bloody find them. Also the landowners are playing fast a loose with rights of way: couldn't continue N or ENE, so backtracked to the lane, and under the railway line.

 There were two wild deer in the field behind this hedge, happily cropping grass with some horses.

Walked up Pinley Hill, then took the path that runs parallel to the Mway between Station Rd and Hatton Lane. Feckin awful: the path is less than a foot wide, a quagmire, and overgrown. There are thorn bushes on one side, and the barbed wire on the other with the S-bound carriageway less than twenty foot away. It's a noisy and, quite frankly, horrible 1/2 a mile, but from the amount of foot (and paw) prints, very well used. No photos cos I worried about falling over.

Crossed over Hatton Lane and back alongside the Mway on a wider concrete track that leads past a telecoms mast and shed. Overshot the actuall footpath turning, and ploughed through a sheepshearing set-up, and two fields with barbed fences before rejoining terra cognita at Horsley House Farm.

At this point you have a clear run across open ground past Grove Court farm (?) on the Hatton Estate to Hampton-on-the-Hill and Hampton Magna: probably about 6 or 8 miles of  farm land and tracks with only incidental stretches of road before you hit Warwick's suburbs. However, my knees were hurting, the sky looked a bit dodge, and I was getting narky; so I thought 'Stuff it.' Finished the coffee and walked back the way I'd come, before turning up towards Hatton, the canal and the station.

Caught the twenty to twelve and was Radoxing away the pain just after midday. At a guess covered 6 miles in something like 4 hours. A very gentle amble, with plenty of breaks and conversations with random strangers - a very cheerful lady leading a horse, and a (less cheerful) gamekeeper from the Hatton Estate.

A better way to cover the open ground leg would be either to take the FP running east halfway down Hatton Lane to the nexus of FP by Hatton Court House (6 foorpaths converge at this point - unusual) or to bite the bullet and do the whole thing from the Warwick end, which would have the semi-advantage of sorting out the racecourse-to-Hampton stretch, which I haven't walked yet.

No walkies today, but the weather looks nice for tomorrow.