Sunday, August 26, 2007

Burton Marathon

  • Walked: 26th August 07
  • Distance: 26m
  • Terrain: fairly flat
  • Summary: starting from Shobnall, follow Millennium Way along the Trent and Mersey canal and through to Yoxall. Leave the MW and take footpaths to Braken Hurst Woods, pass the airfield and head north, skirt south of Tutbury and back to start point via Anslow.
  • Time: 11.5 hours start to finish
  • Notable views: View over Burton from SK229244; the view all the way across to Ratcliffe power station from Hanbury and Tutbury; Anslow is a really pretty village

This is the same walk that I wrote about on the very first entry on this blog (Nature's Bounty). I'm not sure whether it was a good idea to walk the same route a year later. Maybe it was because memories get 'rose tinted' and so today's walk couldn't match the expectation. Maybe it was because the sun didn't really get shining until this afternoon, but I was a bit underwhelmed for the first half of today's walk.

It's still true that treading 26 miles of Staffordshire is a great way to spend a Bank Holiday Monday. The best views are certainly on the second half of this route, when the long views over Staffordshire and South Derbyshire really open up.

The most important lesson learned today was that although this time of the year is the best weather for wearing shorts, it's also the time of year when the overgrown undergrowth is at its most lethal (and there were a few areas which were a bit overgrown, Staffs CC). It may be because of the very wet year we've had, or simply the time of the year, but the stinging-nettles, brambles, thistles etc are all at their most vigorous. The lower half of my legs are just throbbing now. The worst injury happened when I picked up a bramble with one foot, which then whipped the back of the opposite leg when I brought the foot forward. Somehow I didn't manage to free it and so it whipped back across the leg for a second time. Ow.

The first few miles of the walk are along canal towpath. This is easy walking - the towpaths have a good surface and are by their nature as flat as can be.

This first part of the walk follows Staffordshire's Way for the Millennium so is clearly marked and passable. We leave the MW just through Yoxall. The hedges and trees are now loaded with fruit. Blackberries were close to hand all day, damson plums were ripe, and there were so many elderberries looking ripe and ready for making home-brew.

This is the first decent long view over Staffordshire. The sun was out for most of the time, but the distance was still hazy. None of these long views looked anything like as beautiful through the viewfinder as they did in real life!

Braken Hurst wood is well-established. It'll be a few more years before the National Forest is as tall as this.

The walk passes an airfield. For part of this, signs warn that the track isn't a public right of way, but the track and the right of way it joins are very pretty.

This is my favourite view of the whole day, I think. Click to enlarge and see Willington power station (horizon, left) and Ratcliffe power station (horizon, centre) which show just how long the view is. We're zoomed in a bit here, but Ratcliffe is about 15m away from here. Again, the picture is nothing like as beautiful as the view was at the time.

This made me laugh - what's wrong with "Please walk around the cows"?

There's not much wheat left standing now. This combine was busy harvesting some of the last.

I'm a country mouse rather than a town mouse, but this view over Burton-on-Trent is quite breathtaking. We're quite high up (about 50 metres above the Trent valley) and so Burton spreads out below.

The route above was generated using Meander and scanned OS map.


dive said...

Stunningly beautiful photos, Pea.

What a gorgeous way to spend a Monday.
And I'll make sure to deviate around the next cow I see.

aliqot said...

Ha! Why did I never appreciate Burton when I was kid in the fifties and sixties? My dad used to play for Anslow cricket team, too!

Lovely pics.