Spring, at last!
The BBC weather forecast displayed that rare and wonderful thing, glorious sun all day and mild temperatures. I didn’t need much encouragement to book a day’s annual leave from work for a day outdoors.
I decided on a hike I’d first undertaken almost four years ago to the day when I walked crest of the Hertfordshire hills on the Icknield Way from Baldock to Royston. I could remember enjoying the hike then and the close proximity to my Cambridgeshire home made it all the more enticing.
Smithy dog and I hopped on the train from Ely to Baldock and took the wrong turning out of the station. A fine way to start the day. Never mind, we recovered soon and quickly found ourselves on the Icknield Way.
The skies were clear, the temperature so high I quickly consigned my jacket and fleece to the rucksack and wished I’d had the foresight to don a pair of shorts.
In the pretty village of Wallington we found George Orwell’s cottage. Orwell was married in the church and, according to the Icknield Way Path Walkers Guide, he managed the village sweet shop and ‘is still remembered by the older people of the village as a very kind man’.
The walk was a delight. Over gentle hills, though quiet lanes, past thatched cottages in sleepy hamlets, across fields and alongside brooks and streams. The very best of the English countryside on the first true day of spring.
We were looking forward to a drink at the Fox and Duck at Therfield but alas the pub was closed for the afternoon. We trudged the last few miles until we reached the summit of Royston common and descended to the train station. We had our pint at the Drayman’s Son in Ely, it was delicious.