I've just got home after leading the Autism Plus sponsored walk to Sprotbrough; going out along the river via Newton, and calling at Cusworth Hall on the way back to town - a total distance of over eight miles, which was quite a difficult challenge for one or two on the walk.
Being in charge of twenty one people was a bit of a challenge for me too, making sure they were all safe and had a good day out; marshalling them across roads, pacing the front runners so that the straddlers weren't left behind, pointing out interesting things and deciding how long to stay at the pub, and later at the tearooms, were all new experiences for me.
We left the Autism Plus centre on the edge of the town centre and then walked through the town, over North Bridge and down to the lock where we followed the footpath which goes right past the prison; which we passed just as at was exercise time for the inmates.
At wasn't long until we were walking among trees at our side of the canal; it was still quite industrial on the other bank though. The situation soon improved and it was open countryside on both sides of the water just before we reached Newton.
There are several nice cottages there.
People had the opportunity to abandon the walk here after two miles, but no-one did.
We continued along the riverbank (not all of this section of the River Don is canalised), passing under the two railway bridges and then the A1 motorway before reaching Sprotbrough where we stopped to eat our sandwiches, or visit the pub: some of us needed to use the toilets and the only ones are in the pub. I had time for a pot of tea, which I enjoyed outside in the sheltered beer garden with some of my fellow walkers; some stayed inside the pub and the others sat on the seats or on the wall down by the water.
We were running ahead of schedule and so had time to visit the weir - an ideal spot for a group photograph. My photograph here is just the weir, or 'Sprotbrough Falls' as we locals call this location.
The next section of the walk was the most challenging for those who weren't regular walkers; first climbing up several dozen steps through a wood and then along the edge of a field to reach the higher part of the village; walking passed one couple who where struggling I commented that's why it's called the 'Don Gorge.'
A short stretch along the road was next, and then across fields to Cusworth Hall, with the last few yards being a relatively steep climb up the lawn to reach the house...where the tearooms and toilets were.
We were able to linger for a bit longer at the hall, time for another pot of tea and a scone, before the final stretch back into town, arriving over half an hour ahead of schedule.