Well, one of my ambitions for my time off has been chalked off; walking to Southwell and not getting lost like happened when I tried to run there in 2014. I figured I'd walk it today rather than run it, as my legs were a little bit stiff, and I figured it would give me a chance to listen to some Radio 4, followed by the brilliant Radclife and Maconie show on 6 Music in its entirety.
The sky was blue when I started off, but you could see various heavy grey downpour veils on the western horizon. One of them was bound to catch up with me sooner or later, but I had my yellow cagoule of sexiness with me, and in my walking trousers I thought I'd be OK.
First landmark on route was the Wednesday auction on the old cattle market, where a crowd of excited punters were bidding over such valuable goods as broken lawnmowers, filthy children's toys and empty plastic buckets. Better selection today than some days; I've seen endless boxes of coathangers or stacks of dirty jam jars for sale on previous occasions.
From here it was a slog across the rugby club and farmer's fields to Kelham village. Plenty of bird song in the hedgerows, but there weren't the flocks of lapwing I've seen around here on other occasions, and no kestrels were on hovering duties looking for prey.
After crossing the river at Kelham, you then head past the underground reservoir and follow a cross country path that skirts a couple of woods, before ascending sharply through some farmer's fields. Lots of peacocks were flushed up by my footsteps, and the sun was bright and warm.
You reach the highest part of the route here, and there are wide, if not massively amazing, views of the surrounding countryside.
After this section, the ground descends towards the main Mansfield road, reaching a lane that crosses the Kelham Hills towards Caunton. The hedgerows on this lane were lively with birds, and at ground level flowers like ground ivy and dandelion provided food for some species or other of solitary bee, and red and white campion added extra colour.
There then followed a hairy crossing of the A617, a dangerous road at any time, before ascending a sharp climb as the fearsome looking clouds began to close in. A herd of calves proved to be the more immediate concern, as they decided I must have food for them, and decided to chase me en masse down a slope. I only just reached a kissing gate before I was crushed to death, or eaten, by thirty tons of Fresians.
When I reached safety, I taunted them with the news that none of them were good looking enough to make a Pink Floyd album cover. Atom Heart Mother??? You wish.
By now I reached Upton Village, home of the famous Horological institute. There's probably millions of pounds worth of history timepieces in the building, but I was on a hike, not Bargain Hunt.
It was just after Upton that it began to snow for about 20 minutes. Luckily, I was prepared.
By the time I reached the edge of Southwell, the sun had come back out and orange tips were fluttering along the hedgerows. I've already seen more this year than last, where the cold spring seemed to wipe them out. Not that this one is any better I suppose. I passed the Workhouse, one of the affluent town's major attractions.
I then turned onto Church Street, where I used to go to school. The school itself is now gone, flattened to make way for housing, before the re-excavation of a Roman villa on the site revealed that it was a far more important site than previously realised and everything was put on hold. It just sat there as various heaps of ugly rubble until a local benefactor bought the site for its future preservation. What happens now, no-one knows.
The main objective had been to visit Potwell Meadows nature reserve, but it was only a small site and other than lots of rabbits and cowslips, not a lot to see today however, and I had a bus to catch. It will be pretty later in spring I think, when the yellow rattle comes out.
Finally, a trip through the Minster grounds. In the Bishop's Palace, it appeared they were getting ready to burn a witch, and in the gift shop "Ruby Sweet" bottles of communion wine were available, much better value, I'd say, than the rubbish alcohol free ones.
You need something warming after those endlessly long services in there that I remember from childhood.
Have a great one!
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.04.16