Hit the North! – Stage 3: March to Whittlesey

This is stage three of the Hit The North expedition.

I picked up the trail in the fenland town of March.  The route out of the town is very pretty, it follows a path between cottages and gardens with the river in sight most of the way.

Bridge over the river Nene at March
Bridge over the river Nene at March

After an hour or so I was out in the countryside, feasting myself on blackberries as I went along.  At one point the footpath took me through someone’s back garden, which felt a little odd.  The owner of the house came out and said hello though didn’t stop for a chat.

The back garden route
The back garden route

While the scenery wasn’t dramatic the bright autumn sun gave things a rosy glow and I was happy just strolling  along, out in the open, after two weeks of being indoors with a cold.

At one point I came across a rabbit eating grass on the middle of the river bank.  Usually rabbits scurry away as soon as I arrive on the scene but this one continued to calmly nibble away at his lunch.  It was only when I was right next to the rabbit did I notice the poor thing was blind.  I wonder how long he’ll survive like that?

Bridge over the Nene
Bridge over the Nene

After five miles the path leaves the Nene and heads northwards along a drove.  It was a bit of a slog, the drove felt as if it would never end.  I found myself caught up in several weather fronts in quick succession   Fierce winds and rain followed quiet spells of sun, rainbows shimmered on the horizon.

The never ending drove
The never ending drove

The endless drove ended up in the village of Turves.  The wind and the rain had picked up and the sun was now hidden behind a thick layer of cloud.  There was not one person to be found on the streets of the village, it felt like a ghost town.  I ate my sandwiches in the lonely bus shelter.

Lunch stop

I left Turves and marched up the road to the bank of  the ’20 Foot Drain’.  The rain and wind pounded down, my feet and trousers were quickly water-logged.  To keep my spirits up I sang marching songs at the top of my voice.  These included:

  • ‘White Man in Hammersmith Palais’ by The Clash
  • ‘Saturday Night Beneath the Plastic Palm Trees’ by the Leyton Buzzards
  • ‘Waiting for my Man’ by the Velvet Underground
  • ‘Tombstone Blues’ – Bob Dylan
Marching songs really help and it’s fun being able to bellow out tunes at top volume without caring what anyone thinks.
River crossroads
River crossroads

I eventually reached the watery crossroads that signalled the start of the end of the hike.  A few wet miles later I arrived in Whittlesey.  I spotted the ‘Sunshine Cafe’ in the town square and was soon warming up with a good cuppa tea.

Cafe Sunshine
Cafe Sunshine – Whittlesey

An enjoyable walk, the 12 miles took it out of me somewhat and I was feeling pretty knackered on my return home.  Still have to pick up strength after being ill for a couple of weeks. Only one more stage of fenland walking until I’m in Lincolnshire, hurrah!

7 thoughts on “Hit the North! – Stage 3: March to Whittlesey

  1. A pleasant walk in good weather, brave of you to do the garden walk out of March. Walking unaccompanied maybe not a good idea, think you would enjoy it more with another or even small dog. In the darker days of November when 4pm brings with it the gloom and rising moisture of the fen it can be quite dangerous. Sunshine Cafe a good resting place. I hope this blog becomes book form.

  2. Bit worried about you getting cold and wet whilst you are still recovering from a chest infection. Do take care. In this weather, a flask of hot soup might be a good idea. The early part of the walk looked lovely but I must admit my spririts would have sunk having to trudge that bleak and muddy drove!

  3. I imagine that your bellowing songs are picked up by the wind and carried off across the sea and mainland Europe, Fragments and strains can probably be caught in as far away as Siberia.

  4. A marathon Martin . Walking fields in winter conditions is bleak . Sometimes you ask yourself ” What am I doing here?” but nature, widlife and a friendly cafe compensate . The poor rabbit had myoematosis – a fox would soon end its misery !

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