This is stage two of the Hit The North expedition.
I set off across Little Downham recreation ground on a bright and sunny autumn morning.
The plan was to follow the Hereward Way to March, a distance of just under 20 miles.
I crossed many fields; good black fen soil, lush green grass.
Then came the start of the waterlands
I finally reached the New Bedford river where I stopped for some snacks and a quick self-portrait.
I walked along the bank for a while and met a lonely looking horse on a long chain. Was it happy? Hard to know really. It was doing a good job of keeping the grass cropped.
Past the horse the grass was thick and wet with dew, hiding big bushes of nettles.
I decided to drop back down onto the road. No sooner had I reached the road when a farm dog rushed at me. I backed up onto the bank and shouted ‘No!’ at the top of my voice. The mutt stopped, growled and stared fiercely at me. I walked back to the top of the bank, I swore at the dog and its owners, whoever they might be.
It can count itself lucky I didn’t have a stick with me.
I crossed the New and Old Bedford river via the A101, a dangerous route, I can tell you. Not one I’d want to do again. Hairpin bends and blind corners, the locals careering past like formula one drivers. Not fun at all.
To my surprise I arrived in Welney in one piece. I’d reached the half way point and celebrated with a lovely pint of Egood’s Cambridge bitter at the Lamb and Flag.
After a drink and pastie it was back to the road, and quite a bit of road it was as it turned out. Four or so miles of tarmac and pavement, somewhat demoralising, especially as I was starting to tire a little.
Finally I reached the Sixteen Foot Drain which marked the last quarter of the walk. I hiked across pumpkin fields for thirty minutes or so before arriving at the River Nene.
On the other side of the river was a wind farm. I know many walkers hate wind turbines but I thought these gave a rather beautiful backdrop to the occasionally featureless fen countryside. I enjoyed the graceful movement of the huge blades and the way their shadows danced over the footpath.
I found a place to sit for a while and enjoy the afternoon sun. A narrow-boat passed, I saluted the passengers, it was then I realised I hadn’t met another walker during the entire journey.
I shot a little bit of video:
March was only a couple of miles to the west, it was good to have some time to relax.
I was feeling very tired as I trudged into March
I had thought about another pint in town but was just too knackered to look for a nice pub. A friendly local pointed me to the railway station where I hopped on a train back to Ely.