This is stage five of the Great Ouse Odyssey, a hike along the Ouse Valley Way, from the mouth to the source of the River Great Ouse, the fourth longest river in the UK. The hike was between 16-18 miles in length.
I picked up the trail at Earith walking on a causeway between the river and flooded fields. Lapwings called to each other as the skies cleared and the sun started to shine.
The Ouse was still at a high level after breaking her banks and flooding earlier in the year.
Within half an hour of starting the walk I had stuffed my jumper into my rucksack, what a relief to be hiking in the spring sun, at long last!
I passed a Greenwich Meridian marker against which I checked my compass. This is the second time I seen such a marker. The last one was as I went through the village of Orwell on my Royston to Cambridge hike last year.
I stopped for lunch in the pretty village of Holywell. There is a lovely garden and bench just outside the church. I ate my cornish pasty in the midday sun.
From Holywell I headed on towards St Ives. The journey into the town isn’t pleasant, passing through an industrial estate. Unfortunately the Ouse Valley Way can’t always follow the route of the river, much of which lies on private land.
I admired the handsome 15th century bridge at St Ives.
On my way out of St Ives I caught sight of the rare Cambridgeshire Wildcat.
I became somewhat lost between Houghton Mill and Godmanchester.
The local council had given up marking the route at this point, leaving travellers to enlist passing locals as guides across the wet, wet water-meadows. I was lucky to find such a local who kindly led me back to my path.
And then, before I knew it, I was almost at my destination, the village of Brampton. I tried to buy a pint at the Brampton Mill pub, I didn’t have any cash on me and they wouldn’t take my card unless I spent over £5. Oh well…
A fine walk for the first true day of the spring.