Walk and talk … the Hanslope Circular Walk

Someone recently mentioned the ‘Hanslope Circular Walk’ and that was it … Steve was on a new mission. The maps were out, Ordnance Survey app fired up, route investigated, fellow walkers recruited, messenger group set up, details informed – logistics completed. And off we go again. 😎

This was a 20 mile cross country walk conveniently designed in ‘an almost’ figure of 8, which meant we could make two pleasurable circular walks out of it. We plumbed for a 12 mile day on Wednesday and an 8 mile walk Friday. And, to make it even more convenient and pleasurable, both walks ended by a drinking establishment … now that’s planning at its best.

The Hanslope Circular Walk

Wednesday 22nd July 2020

So our fellow walkers were David Rose, Stuart Sullivan and Sheila Quinn. We all met sharpish at 9.00am in Castlethorpe, eager beavers setting off with our rucksacks to cater for all weathers and eventualities – sun gear, rain gear, water and snacks. The only one to walk empty handed was our troop leader Steve, not even water – he’s like a camel.

Despite the early overcast weather, we enjoyed the open countryside walking, chattering as we went. Stumbled across many a farmhouse to envy with views stretching for miles. The sun and blue skies soon appeared so layers started to be removed and suncream applied (be prepared)! As always, many discussions on the crops … is it wheat, is it barley?

The distinctive spire of Hanslope Church
Barley or wheat!?
Barley or wheat!?
Some of the houses were quite remote and so had their 4 legged alarm systems installed! These two friendly but efficient doggies were not going to stop barking till we were well off their land!! 🤣

The route ran alongside Hanslope Park – Her Majesty’s Government Communications Centre. It appeared to be all very ‘secret squirrel’ stuff with its barbed wire fences and security gates. We hoped they didn’t mistake us for Russian spies as we sneaked a few photos. Sheila’s son Dan works there so we were peering (from a distance) through windows and waving – how embarrassing would that be!! 🤣

And so we continued all the way back to Castlethorpe by which time we had packed in 12 miles of rambling and a whole load of chatting. As Redway Runners we’ve known each other for years – but walking gives so much more opportunity to chat and learn about each others’ lives. I do love a chat!

We were so near ‘The Navigation’ pub it would have been rude not to stop for a beer and a bite to eat. David sadly had to leave us due to work – he’s retiring any day now so packing in some last minute handover bits. Sheila, Stuart, Steve and I enjoyed a touch of normality – first time eating out since Lockdown for all of us. We had fun but sadly not the best experience as service was incredibly slow – over an hour until our food arrived … they were very apologetic though and gave us drinks and chips free of charge (and with the wine at £8.95 a glass, we were quids in)!!

View from ‘The Navigation’

Friday 24th July 2020

A shorter route today so we met up at a more civilised time – 10.00am, for an 8 mile circular walk from the Black Horse Pub at Great Linford.

Another scenic day in open countryside – fields and farmland stretching for miles, relatively flat so easy going. Incredibly peaceful and away from civilisation – no face masks required!! Rivers, lakes and canals today as well as woodland. As the name suggests, at all points we could see the distinctive spire of Hanslope Church. And stunning houses and gardens – so much envy.

Stuart settled into his high chair, waiting for his packed lunch!!
Some incredible wildlife photography from David

At Little Linford we had to do some roadside walking and it was fairly busy traffic too. We caught up with a large group of ‘Ramblers’ – there must have been more than 20 of them which surprised us in these ‘regulated’ days … I don’t know, elderly people today!! 🤣

The final stretch took us alongside Redhouse where we viewed some of the artwork trail and then canal side all the way to the finish line at the Black Horse pub. We had made good time too – only two and a half hours (so we were early for our table booking).

Our pub lunch awaits

We enjoyed a fabulous lunch, delicious food and first class service, top marks.

The two days of walking had been so enjoyable – absolutely recommend it … and NO stiles.

And as for the chats … we’d talked about our families, our weddings, the good old days of our childhoods, our past careers … you name it we discussed it. Sheila even enlightened us on the unsavoury after-affects of sugar free gummy bears – oh we learnt so much about each other.

And the great thing is – we all want to come back for more. So it’s head down for Steve, planning our next local walking adventure.

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