Sunday, May 25, 2014

Group Walk: Great Houghton and Clayton

The weather was slightly disappointing, but it could have been a lot worse - cloudy and quite dark all day with regular showers and some longer spells of drizzle.

The walk started at Sandhill, the lowest part of Great Houghton. Almost immediately we were walking through quite deep puddles, even though this path seemed to be well maintained.

The next section, where the path wasn't anywhere near as well-maintained, was a lot less waterlogged: we walked along the edge of a field and then climbed up through a wood to reach another supposedly well-maintained track that had many deep puddles.

This track led us back to Great Houghton, but the top end of the village this time - I stopped to take a photo of a sign on a gatepost.



We walked along the road for a few hundred yards and then joined our footpath, walking alongside the edge of a field. We all commented on the numbers of slugs we saw on the ground, and the size of some of them. There were hundreds, if not thousands...and several different varieties by the look of it; thick large black ones, slender long brown ones, and sandy coloured ones (these were the smallest - maybe they were the babies.) I even stopped to point out a small snail riding on the back of a large slug.

We reached a small area of woodland and turned to walk up the hill, stopping at a location called 'The Log' to eat our sandwiches. Normally there are extensive views to the west, but not today - we struggled to see the TV transmitter at Emley Moor, probably less than twenty miles away.

After eating our sandwiches, and a large selection of pastries and confectionery, we continued up the hill, passing a large wood...and then we ground to a sudden halt. Our way ahead would be very difficult across a field of mature rapeseed, so after a few seconds' debate we decided to walk along the field edge. This route was still quite difficult though, walking on uneven ground and having to brush against wet foliage.

For the last few hundred yards, maybe half a mile even, we hadn't been walking along the path and so I was navigating by line of sight, using  power lines as navigational aids.

We reached the road that leads to Clayton without any difficulty, but we didn't enter the village at the earliest opportunity. At this stage one of the walkers bailed out; Eddie had had enough and his feet were hurting him; he decided to walk down the road to Thurnscoe and catch the bus from there. I was confident in letting him do this on his own, he knows the area fairly well.

Bypassing the village, we walked along the back lane and entered Clayton by crossing the field that leads to 'Tea Pot Corner'. By this time, Oliver, the youngest member of our group had eagerly taken on the role of navigator and tour guide...and seemed to be enjoying every minute of it.

I noticed that a couple of the cottages at Tea Pot Corner had appropriate names, 'The Cosy' and 'La Tasse.'

We stopped to finish off our sandwiches at the war memorial next to the village pond; before setting off again we posed for a team photo taken by Oliver.

We walked along the road that goes to Thurnscoe and then took the footpath which leads across the fields back to Great Houghton. Oliver was still navigating, and with a few prompts from me, he got us safely back to Great Houghton.

On the way back we were puzzled by some strange looking sheep in an adjacent field. I suggested that they looked like they were crossed with pitbull terriers; other suggestions were cows, and bulldogs.



Oliver called them' sheepcows' - a new word in the English language I think.