The Viking Way is one of my two local, long-distance footpaths, and I seem to have been walking it forever. In fact (I've just checked back) I began hiking it on 6 May 2011. Since then I've been knocking off odd chunks on stolen afternoons, with lots of gaps in-between. Resolving to finish it this year, I made for the Lincolnshire village of Belchford early this morning and regained the route. It was comforting to see the Viking helmet markers once again. There's something strangely pleasurable and childlike in following these...
|Over the bridge.|
|Panorama of the Lincolnshire Wolds.|
|No mistaking the way.|
It was a glorious day: hot, but not too hot, with the suggestion of a breeze, and a sky of chicory blue. Although it was still high summer, the landscape had taken on a slightly worn and blowsy look. The vibrant greens from earlier in the season had now become more muted, and the bunches of ash keys and reddening hawthorn berries were signs that autumn was fast approaching. It was good to see, along the farmland edges, some untilled areas left to nature.
|The path bisecting uncultivated ground and a cornfield.|
|Another waymarker, another stream.|
Bordering the trail were clumps of burdock, and meadowsweet and willowherb crowded the streamsides. Bees and hoverflies pollinated madly, and butterflies were everywhere: peacocks, commas, gatekeepers, cabbage whites, the occasional blue, a tiny skipper.
|Mayweed and potatoes.|
|Pond near Goulceby.|
|Church of All Saints, Goulceby: rebuilt in 1908 using fragments of the former medieval church which stood on this site. Spookily, Goulceby was the birthplace of William Marwood, the hangman who invented the 'long drop' method of execution.|
There were not many birds about, though I was delighted to spot two wrens very close, and I also watched a buzzard effortlessly circle higher and higher on the thermals.
|Bank of bracken and rosebay willowherb.|
|Woodland edge, secluded green path, sunlit field, yellow arrow, Viking helmet. Does it get any better than this?|
|This young Gloucestershire Old Spot brought a smile to my face.|