Time: 15 hours overall.
This is the second time that I've walked this path. It passes fairly close to my house, and so the first time, I devised the plan of starting at the opposite side of the circular route so that I'd be able to stop at home to have lunch and top up on water and food, meaning I wouldn't have to carry as much with me.
At 7:30 am (an hour and a half later than planned) I was looking up at Bardon Hill, said to be the highest point in Leicester. Strictly speaking, the path doesn't go to the top of the hill, but skirts around the edge. There is a footpath to the top and down the other side, and a great view from the top, and so I prefer to do that.
It's quite a short and gentle climb to the top, through woodland. Note the ripening rowan (mountain ash) berries, giving lovely splashes of red against the green surroundings. They are apparently best picked later in the year.
A benefit of starting a bit later than planned is that the sun was up and the mist burned off, so the views from the top of the first hill were wonderful.
The walk passes through a wide variety of terrain - open country and crop fields, hills, canal towpath, dismantled railway, road and the odd housing estate, National Forest and (here) older woodland.
10:00 am Swannington has a very interesting old inclined railway with winches that pulled the trains up. The path just misses the best bits of that.
The beautiful countryside looks at its best in the sunshine. I'd picked a warm dry day (the weatherman turned out to be right) and in fact it was a bit too hot at times.
A-maize-ing. Walking through maize that's above head-height is a little bit claustrophobic!
12:30 This view over Staunton Harold reservoir is one of the best views in the area. Sorry Leicestershire, this spot is on the border of Leicestershire with Derbyshire, and the view is looking into South Derbyshire.
I really like Moira Furnace, and this part of the walk between Ashby and Measham really is very pleasant.
Many of the paths between Snarestone and Stanton-under-Bardon cross fields. Here they are generally very well maintained.
6:40 pm I think this next picture is my favourite shot from today. While walking along this canal towpath, I didn't see any boats or walkers. It was so quiet too. Really tranquil and idyllic.
8:15 pm Nailstone spire came into view as the sun was setting behind me. I love the way that spires are such good landmarks, helping you to orientate yourself as well as being good 'mental milestones'.
Once the sun had set, I couldn't take any more photos, and swopped my camera for a torch. I had hoped to finish before it got dark, but had to navigate the last few miles in the dark. Finally finished (absolutely exhausted) at 10:30pm = 15 hours.
More information about the route is available at http://www.uk-walks.info/ivanhoe_way.html