Where’s water?…..

Day 71 of Lockdown. 02/06/2020

Today, Steve, Tom and I set out on the first leg of the 60 mile Milton Keynes Boundary Walk, a little ‘Easing of Lockdown’ project. We are aiming to cover a distance of 10 miles each day or thereabouts. The logistics have been interesting as we needed a car each end, an ordnance survey app, a picnic and last but not least, plenty of water (the weather is still unseasonably hot)!

Today’s walk – Stony Stratford – Salcey Forest.

We met up with Tom in Salcey Forest, parked up for the princely sum of £6 … then drove in Tom’s car back to Stony Stratford. And off we marched at a reasonable pace – remembering to social distance as much as we could.

A beautiful riverside walk and then we were onto the canal path leading to Cosgrove. Had a little blockage along the towpath – a family of swans just resting before a swim – had to be very patient and let them move in their own good time. Some great bird life and insect life along the way – butterflies, dragonflies – all perfect photo opportunities. Wild flowers out in full force too including the spectacular poppies.

Then across miles of farmland with their magnificent crops looking so healthy in the sunshine. Constant discussions as to what the crops are.

At one point we entered a field where the farmer was chopping up some trees – as we walked through the gate there was a stampede of cattle tearing towards us, with a tractor moving speedily behind. Gulp!! Tom, having been chased by cows the previous weekend was a wee bit nervous … and I’m always on edge where our bovine friends are concerned! The farmer shooed them away and told us just to walk and they’d be fine. So, we did as we were told (with a little backward look now and again) … and indeed we were fine.

The day continued to be spectacularly warm and, only a mile or so in, Tom realised that he had left his water bottle on the roof of his car (placed there while putting his walking boots on). So we got to talking about water in bottles and how in the ‘old days’ we would go out all day as kids with no water. Steve, having grown up in a village and being friendly with the son of a Farmer relayed some interesting tales of drinking out of cattle troughs – apparently there is a section where the fresh water is pumped in from the ground. There were plenty of these troughs around today … but Tom was not for trying!!

The orienteering and recording of activity is of course an important element to our walking … and Dad and Son were sharing this well. Tom is relatively new to Strava and has only used the OS app once before, so Steve was enjoying passing on his knowledge and experience …whilst still holding firmly on to the reins of course!! Strange business though … at the end of our journey, Steve’s Garmin watch had clocked up 10 and a half miles while Tom’s Strava on iPhone showed that we had walked 12 miles. And boy it felt like 12 miles – I knew which one I was choosing.

And so we’d reached our destination, Salcey Forest – sun still shining, we settled on a shaded picnic table and enjoyed a feast of rolls, crisps and fruit … with lashings of ice cold water, which had been stored in the cool box.

And then we drove back to drop Tom off at his car – where his trusty water bottle was still standing proudly and faithfully on the car roof …. boiling hot 🥵

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