Sunday, March 30, 2008

Leicestershire 4 Peaks Challenge

Walked: Easter Monday, 24 March
Distance: 17 miles

Today's important lesson was that making plans to stop and enjoy lunch / coffee at a viewpoint only works if it's a nice day. Today was a cold and breezy day, with some late snow sprinkled around. On a day like this, somewhere sheltered is a much better bet.

Having planned to have lunch on the Markfield viewpoint, we didn't spend long up there, and retreated to the church below. Even there I got very cold and wanted to press on to warm up.

This is a variation of a walk I've done a couple of times before, and called the 'Leicestershire 3 Peaks Challenge'. That's a bit of a joke name, as the 'peaks' aren't really very dramatic Leicestershire is pretty flat. (I enjoy saying that as I've spent my life railing when people claim that Norfolk, my homeland, is flat. It isn't!)

I noticed before that there are other viewpoints marked on the map nearby, so this could easily become the 5 or 6 Peaks Challenge. I'm intrigued about why there are so many viewpoints clustered in a small area. Today we started in a different place; the lay-by on the A511 is convenient but not a pleasant start / finish to the walk.

The car park just through Whitwick was much better. There's a short walk along a road before Mount St Bernard Abbey. The monastery may be worth exploring, but we didn't make time today. Just past the abbey, you can take a footpath to the right and cross a reservoir dam. Footpaths take you to Ingleberry Lane, but there's then a couple of miles to do by road before coming to Beacon Hill.

This is the current beacon. Strangely not near the top of the hill... Apparently you can see the one on Breedon Hill from here, but we couldn't spot it today. It was a bit misty, and the strong breeze made it uncomfortable trying. I'll try to get a small pair of bins, I think.

This is the top of Breedon Hill. A really good view, but as expected there were lots of people on top, thanks to the car park close to the summit.

After Beacon Hill, we're back on footpaths, past a 'Priory, Rems of' (it sez on the map) which looked as if it was being converted or restored.

These were my first gamboling lambs of the spring.

The road sign opposite says 'Polly Botts Lane' which is a delightful name. Take it, and

This was today's surprise. We included the Quarry at Markfield (Hill Hole Quarry) as it has a viewpoint marked on the map, and it delivered on that promise. As you can hear in the video below, (turn your sound down before pressing 'play') it was cold and windy up there, but it has a very good 360 degree view. You can see why it's called Hill Hole - The water is where a hill used to be. It's as if the hill has been turned upside down or inside out:

I've written about Bardon Hill and Billa Barra before. We approached it from a slightly different direction, so this is the view of the 'crown' of trees on Billa Barra from the 'back':

Fourth peak is Bardon Hill. This is said to be the highest point in Leicestershire, and Garmin confirmed that it was the highest point of our walk today. The picture shows the view looking across at Bardon Hill taken from Billa Barra:

You can pick up the Ivanhoe Way to get to the top of Bardon Hill and then follow it all the way back to the car park.


Anonymous said...
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dive said...

Hey, Pea.
Nice to see so many familiar place names on the walk.
Hill Hole truly is spectacular!
And Polly Botts Lane makes me proud to be English. Only here are such overdoses of twee quaintness and silliness the to be found.

Alifan said...

Pea.... lovely walk....looking forward to seeing you one day.. xxx