Spring Walk (morning) - Finbarr Finn
On a lovely spring morning we gathered in Kings Cliffe at the Cross Keys Pub, where we were welcomed by a red kite soaring over head. Promptly at 9.30 am we moved off, past the village church, an old mill and over a babbling brook; we crossed old clay pits and were then in farmland heading towards Apethorpe. The pace was relaxing and so too was the conversation (which was much appreciated by the newbies like me) it was a great day to be in the countryside. Before long we reached the outskirts of Apethorpe. Here we paused a while, and then on down a country lane enjoying the views. After a half mile of easy walking we reached woodlands and the adventurous part of our walk as we went down a woodland path skipping over fallen trees and negotiating boggy patches. We emerged into a field of ponies and then Judith our walk leader was faced with a dilemma as the next field held a herd of cattle which were not present when she reccied the walk. Out came the O.S. map and Judith quickly organised a detour avoiding the livestock. Shortly afterwards we came over the crest of a hill and below us was a lovely view of Kings Cliffe nestling in its valley. Out came the cameras and the photo opportunity was availed of. Before long we were back in the pub enjoying a drink and the home cooked food. There was another walk prepared for after lunch but it was Grand National day and a piebald pony had whispered in my ear during the walk, so I made my excuses and went in search of a Bookie.
My thanks to Judith for organising the walk and also to everyone who made me feel so welcome.
Spring Walk (afternoon) - Fred and Glenis Key
As two of the newest members of the group we were given the duty to write this report!!
Following lunch and liquid refreshment at the Cross Keys pub, 18 of the original group proceeded to work off the calories we had just eaten by doing the second part of the walk. Smelter's Walk - a former disused railway track now open for the public to enjoy leisurely walks.
The hawthorn blossom and primroses made for a colourful display alone the route. No cows on this part of the walk but we did spot a few red kites.
Blue Badge Walk - Ange Folwell
We travelled to Stratford in several cars expecting a wet, rainy day ahead of us as the weather forecast predicted. However, the weather was kind to us; we only had one downpour which was short lived and a bit of drizzle.
Split into two groups of twenty with one guide per group, we enjoyed a mini tour of Ye Olde Worlde Stratford in approximately two hours, taking in the sights of William Shakespeare's birthplace, the site where his home once stood, parts of The Royal Shakespeare Theatre which we could freely access and the Holy Trinity church where he is buried. Due to the Sunday Service being in progress we were not permitted access, so not all of us caught sight his tombstone. Some went back later and saw this. It was inscribed with
'Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare,/ To digg the dust encloased heare;/ Bleste be the man that spares thes stones. And curst be he that moves my bones.'
This was because digging up the bones of the dead after 25 years was common in Shakespeare's time, either for religious or research purposes. Remains were removed to make way for more graves, and dumped in landfill sites or even used as fertiliser. The playwright was so fearful of this happening to him he had this curse engraved in advance as a warning to gravediggers after his death in 1616, should anyone dare to move his bones.
We admired the beautiful scenery, (the views from the actors' dressing rooms at The Royal Theatre), took in the sights of the Tudor buildings and learnt a little about the history of the town. The bridge that was originally built in the 15th century still stands today, busy carrying traffic. The other red brick bridge, once used as a railway line, originally had horses to pull the carriages. Tricky when going uphill, (the passengers had to get off and walk). Going downhill, the carriages were sent freewheeling as this was also difficult for the horses to negotiate. No sign of Health and Safety in those days!
Lunch was wherever you could find a table for your particular party as pubs and cafes were quite busy as expected in the middle of the day.
The rest of the afternoon, we went off in separate parties, free to explore the town at our leisure. Some of us took a 40 minute boat cruise on the river Avon whilst others ambled through the town to revisit places we were shown and bargain hunters took advantage of shopping in the sales. It was a pleasant day for all of us.
Thank you for my friendly welcome to the group on my first outing with the over 50s adventurists.
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