Friday, 22 October 2010

Stort Trek - Captain's [S]Log

OK ...... title is a little corny but there you go :)

Last Saturday, the 16th October, we started out on our next training walk a little later than we planned. We didn't start until 8.50 and, once again, we started out by walking along the same section of the Lea tow path we've done before between Cheshunt Lock and Fielde's Lock.

However, again the weather was really glorious and we could really appreciate all the wonderful autumn colours. There are so many red berries along the tow path. A veritable riot of colour!

Once we got to Fielde's Lock, we diverged onto the towpath for the river Stort. Although there is a clear signpost pointing across the lock saying 'The Stort Towpath', having crossed it, it was unclear which way to go as there was a weir that appeared to be in the way! Unfortunately, it is just past here that you need to start using another Ordnance Survey map ........ and we thought we'd be perfectly OK at this part of the walk and hadn't brought the Ordnance Survey map for this junction. A Big Mistake! We must have wasted about 10 minutes working out where to go! Ooops! never mind.

There is a very different 'feel' to the walk along the first part of the Stort - much more rural and away from it all. Despite the fact that the weather was good, we hardly saw anyone!

However, you do gradually become aware of the scourge of so many places (if not everywhere) in the UK ...... the distance hum of traffic on a major road. In this case, it's the traffic on the A414. Nevertheless, it was whilst walking along the stretch of the Stort that is really close to the A414 that we saw a fleeting glimpse of a kingfisher! It is so wonderfully uplifting to catch a glimpse of this most stunning of our birds. Yet it is so odd to think that we saw it in the least peaceful of places!

This building is Parndon Mill, restored as a rather nice looking block of flats.

It was just past Burnt Mill lock that it started to rain, quite heavily to start with but thankfully not for long. We also had to take a slight detour away from the towpath because the towpath itself was out of bounds because work was being carried out on it.

Still, we made it to Harlow Mill station by 13:35. A distance of just over 12 miles in 4 hours 40 minutes. This was a slightly slower pace than for our last walk which surprised us. We didn't find ourselves struggling towards the end of the walk as we had on the walks to both Ware and Hertford East, so not entirely sure why we took longer.

A reward once we got home! My brother bought John an apple tree for his 50th Birthday two years ago. It didn't fruit in the first year, but has this year. Here's a perfect specimen of an apple just before being picked.

So we were able to have half an apple each! It was lovely!!

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