For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Back On The Viking Way

During the spring and summer of 2011 I walked in stages (a few hours here, a few hours there) sixty miles along one of my local, long-distance footpaths: the Viking Way. (For my old posts on this, click here.) It was high time I thought about completing the remaining ninety miles, the section running east of Lincoln across the Witham Valley, then north over the chalk hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds to the Humber Bridge. So yesterday I decided to nibble at another short chunk of the path, and covered the flat, mostly dead straight seven miles from Lincoln City Bus Station to Fiskerton village. The trail follows the trackbed of an old railway line now used by pedestrians and cyclists as a recreational route. Though the afternoon was dull and cloudy, it did not rain, and an invigorating breeze blew over open field and fen.

It was good to be back on the trail. I soon came across the reassuringly familiar Viking's helmet marker.

This is a land of drains and ditches, fen and rough pasture, long horizontals and far horizons. Here a pair of mute swans make their graceful way up a drainage channel. Can you spot Lincoln Cathedral in the distance? Parallel to this ditch . . .

. . . flows the sluggish, navigable River Witham. I took this photo from Five Mile Bridge near Fiskerton.

I passed these scrap metal cow sculptures . . .

. . . near the village of Washingborough, where more swans were gliding downstream in a rare glitter of sunlight . . . 

19 comments:

Dominic Rivron said...

I once -when about 6- dropped my dad's binoculars in a ditch like that, near Aisthorpe.

Didn't anyone tell the waymark makers that the Vikings didn't have horns on their helmets?

Loren said...

Love those cow sculptures, almost like those I often see in the American West!

Sandy's witterings said...

Good grief, the vikings caused enough trouble without sigh posts telling them where to go.

Thanks for the reminder of how Lincon stands out in the countryside - I had a good visit there a few years ago.
Loved the metal cows.

Rachel Fox said...

And don't try to milk those cows!
x

Suman said...

Beautiful! Loved the first swan picture, there's a certain timelessness to it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a lovely blog to come across Robert - as you know I grew up in Washingborough and learnt to swim in that stretch of the Witham. I so enjoyed this trip down memory lane. There used to be a ferry across at Five mile House - we used to cycle there regularly, my friend and I, and cross to see her gran who lived in Fiskerton. Thanks for the memories.

Ruth said...

Those "long horizontals and far horizons" are more like Michigan, though there is still something about your terrain there that is signally British. Photos are great!

Anonymous said...

Nice blog. But the Viking Way looks dreadfully dull.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, I do believe those horns are a myth — but my imagination would rather still believe in them, Dominic!

Scrap metal sculptures, Loren — reminded me in turn of those scrap metal 'vehicles' at the closing ceremony of the Paralympics.

Sandy & Rachel — ha!

Suman — thanks for visiting, and Weaver — I suppose the ferry was where the bridge is now?

Thanks, as always, for reading, Ruth.


The Solitary Walker said...

A few sections of it are on the dull side, Anonymous. Thank God for a few metal cows and the odd swan to add a bit of interest! The plus side is that, if you have a more monotonous stretch of walking, you can completely 'switch off' and not think about where to put your feet, not feel the pain of the steep slopes and sharp stones etc. Quite restful. However, there are many splendid parts of the walk, full of interest and good views: the Lincoln limestone escarpment and the Lincolnshire Wolds, for instance.

Goat said...

Will have to look this one up again on the ridiculously large and almost-impossible-to-fold-correctly wall map of every trail in Britain that I brought with me to Korea - just in case..

The Solitary Walker said...

Don't bother looking it up, Goat — you won't want to walk this one!

Ruth said...

"Dreadfully dull" eh? I used to pine for mountains growing up in Michigan (which could also be termed "dreadfully dull," and was, by me). But over time, I learned to see the trees, grasses, wildflowers, fences, birds, creeks, rivers, farm fields and barns with relish. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is demonstrated once again.

The Solitary Walker said...

I so agree with you, Ruth — about finding neglected beauty in ordinary places, about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. We look, but often do not see.

Anonymous said...

Yes Ruth, dreadfully dull; some places are- it's not a personal criticism! I've been in a desert (The Empty Quarter, Arabian Peninsula) which had nothing but wind shaped sand and was beautiful. I've been out on vast mudflats which were beautiful. So beauty doesn't depend on a variety of features and of course is in the mind of the beholder.

Susan Scheid said...

I am sorry to have got so far behind in my correspondence, though I'm afraid it is the way things are going to be & hope you will forgive me. I so love the photo of the swans in the drainage ditch, a poem in a photograph, for sure.

The Solitary Walker said...

Susan — thanks for your visit, and for your comment, but please don't worry about how much or how little you comment or converse! None of us have any obligation whatever to comment on anything; just your presence — whether in the background or in the foreground — is enough. I am privileged you continue to read my blog. Thank you.

Susan Scheid said...

Such a lovely, generous response, and you may rest assured I am at least in the background--for your walks and your thoughts give me much pleasure.

Martin said...

Good post, reminds me of much of the fen walking I've done around my home in Ely