Monday, 11 April 2011

Our First Cuckoo Of The Year

OK ..... the photo isn't of a cuckoo! Afraid I'm not that good a photographer! This pretty little flower was growing on a wall at Broxbourne Mill and I just thought it looked very delicate, although I have no idea what it is :)

As the weather has been getting better, each time we have passed a spot where we saw a kingfisher last year, I have been automatically looking out to see if we can see our first kingfisher of 2011. Unfortunately, we haven't seen one yet.

Still, we actually had two 'firsts' on Saturday. Walking along the Stort navigation, not far from Parndon Lock on the outskirts of Harlow we heard the unmistakable sound of a buzzard calling. In actual fact, it was two buzzards which we could then see wheeling about in the sky. Who would have thought to see buzzards in deepest, darkest Essex :)

Then, further along on our walk, just south of Bishops Stortford, we heard a cuckoo calling - our first for the year.

The photo below is just north of Sawbridgeworth.

So, although we were once again walking from Cheshunt, along the Lea Navigation and then along the Stort Navigation to Bishops Stortford and then across to Stansted, finishing at Elsenham, it isn't boring doing the same walk as every time we do it, we see or hear something new.

Certainly, one very noticeable feature, having not walked the weekend before, was how green and lush everything looks! It is always so amazing how quickly plants start growing once the temperatures start to rise. Also, just two weeks ago I wondered when we might start seeing some baby ducklings ... the 'aaah' factor! Well, you can't really blame me for that, can you? Well ...... no ducklings! However, mallards were conspicuous by their absence! Just the odd drake mallard every now and again, and we only saw about two female mallards during the entire length of our walk. Might they be off someone sitting on eggs?

Of course, Saturday's weather was glorious! However, this meant we felt we aught to take more drinks, so our rucksacks were rather heavy. I also had to be careful not to get sun burnt! Although my red hair may have now gone, the fair skin that goes with red hair is still with me and I burn easily!! So ...... sun hat ....... long sleeved t-shirt ...... but I stupidly forgot a scarf for the back of my neck, so improvised with a clean hanky from John!

The photo below is near to Bishops Stortford. Actually a field full of dandelions! Although possibly everyone hates to see them in their garden, this field looked quite spectacular! Afraid my photo doesn't do it justice.

Of course, I also had to be careful of the new skin on my previously blistered feet! Masses of Compeed plasters (I think I shall get shares in the company at this rate!!), boots laced so tightly that I regretted it later! But ...... I still got blisters and in particular, on both little toes, one of which burst at the same distance as before ..... just over 28 miles. Sigh! I guess this really means that my boots are just not a good fit ....... but how on earth I could have worked this out when I bought them I don't know. My little toe really hurt! It's going to be back to the drawing board to think of some way of stopping my little toes rubbing against the side of the boots.

Also ..... I ached by the time we finished, so not walking the Saturday before, although necessary because of my blisters, from a fitness point of view it was not so good.

However, John only got a couple of little blisters and his back ached a bit by the time we finished. However, I think at the moment he's in better shape at the end than I am ....... all because of these blooming blisters!!

One final point, having watched 'Lambing Live' all week on BBC television, I was hoping we'd see some lambs. However, none to be seen in any of the fields alongside the tow paths. Nevertheless, when on the train coming home, we passed a field full of little, pure white gambling lambs. So cute and a delight to see :)

Anyhow ...... stats for this walk:
Total distance: 29.6 miles
Total time: 10 hours 3 minutes
Total time moving: 9 hours 22 minutes
Average moving speed: 3.2mph


joy said...

Well done you for such a long walk. Although sorry to hear about the blisters.
No cuckoos have been heard in Wiltshire yet, and no lambs in evidence either, as yet, although it has to be said I haven't been out and about looking for them!.
Joy xx

Elaine said...

Thanks Joy :)

Because I laced so tightly, at least my heels faired reasonably well.

Mind you, I'm becoming a very good customer to Boots! Yesterday I bought some wool that is supposed to be good for packing areas prone to rubbing and also some tubular bandage .... both will go round both little toes. So I'll see how I get on next Saturday.

At this rate, I'll be mummifying my feet totally in plasters and bandages :)

Elaine said...

And the lambs were seriously cute :)

I really love this time of year.

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