Day 79 of Lockdown. 10/06/2020
Today’s walk – Salford to Waterhall
Having had two rest days (for Tom’s blister to heal), we set off heartily on this the penultimate leg of the MK Boundary Walk.
An early part of the route involved crossing a bridge to take us over the M1 – simple – we just needed to get to the other side. But, oh no, the bridge was closed for construction purposes.
Plan B – we just needed to walk a little further out to get to the next bridge … it would add a little extra on but hey ho, we were keen. Next bridge – closed for construction! Steve suggested jumping the barrier and going over anyway but no no, not for anxious me.
On his app Tom identified another bridge a bit further along so no worries, surely this one had to be open. So, adding a bit more on to today’s route we plodded on. As you may guess – No Entry … Construction in Progress. This time, Steve did jump the barrier to investigate – he was gone ages – but finally reappeared to say that there’s was no way through at the end of the bridge. I was imagining Tom going to find Steve and losing them both in the process.
This led to much discussion – do we go back? Do we carry on going further and further out until we find a way to get to the other side? We’d already added 2 miles onto the journey at this point. It looked like the next possibility was junction 13 of the motorway – God knows what that would involve but there had to be a way over somehow. And that’s the path we chose – not the greatest of starts to a day’s walking.
It’s not often during a ‘ramble’ that you find yourselves walking along the edge of a dual carriageway – it was scary stuff. We hoped that we wouldn’t get picked up as illegal immigrants. Afterwards we did laugh – suggesting what the drivers must have been thinking … “All this countryside and they choose to walk here!!”
After some dubious crossing of the M1 Junction 13 slip roads we found ourselves clear of craziness and finally on to the side we needed to be …. and facing a much longer day of walking. The men then got their heads together to work out the next stage – me, I just follow!!
It all got so much better after that. Still a fair amount of roadside walking but through villages rather than high speed thoroughfares. We passed through Husborne Crawley and into Aspley Guise – another day of complete house envy.
From there on it all started to get a bit hilly. We walked through Woburn Sands and into Aspley Woods, soaking up its natural beauty. Spectacularly tall conifers, huge ferns, rhododendrons and wild foxglove. And we skirted parts of the magnificent Woburn Golf Club course.
There were more woods at Brickhill and some particularly narrow prickly paths, then into long grass. It was at this point that I regretted watching Springwatch the previous evening, where they had an item on it being the season for slow worms, grass snakes and adders.
After this we crossed numerous fields, plenty of them with horses – seems to be an equine area … and plenty of horse poo come to that. In one field the horses were keeping company with goats – felt relieved they were all laying down – didn’t like the look of those horns. I was once chased downhill by a goat at a goat sanctuary – he apparently took a liking to my handbag! My sister, Geraldine, found this hilarious.
I was relieved to climb over the stile … but only to come face to face with a ‘kid’ (with horns) who had obviously managed to stray. He looked at us menacingly and then darted between us, turned around and then started towards us. As Tom said “Don’t run” – he and Steve ran and I was left frozen to the spot. As I took off my rucksack to defend myself, Tom came back to rescue me and the ‘kid’ just bleated and let us go on our way.
A pretty straightforward walk after that and so much more level and downhill. Had one scary moment when the path took us through someone’s front garden – really felt for Tom as two pointers charged towards him (he’s not a great dog lover having been chased down the road by a Rottweiler when he was young). He did the right thing by standing still and the dogs turned out to be lovely, not guard dogs after all. It always seems strange when the Public Footpath takes you onto someone’s property.
The last stretch took us along the canal towpath which made a welcome change. And finally we were at Tom’s car at Waterhall car park, our destination for today. I’m not ashamed to admit I was somewhat weary after what turned out to be 14+ miles – it plays with your mind springing an extra 4 miles onto a planned journey but, as Judi Dench once said “It is not good to cross the bridge before you get to it.”