A bus journey to my favourite local town today; especially on a sunny Saturday - here are a few photos I took just wandering round Retford town centre.
I started the walk in King's Park; over the years the park has won many awards, but it wasn't looking anything out of the ordinary this morning.
I found my way to the canal, going by a different route to the last time; passing the grandly-named Hospital of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, which seems to be managed as a charity.
It wasn't long until I was out in open country, however, it took me about five minutes longer than it needed to, because when I got to the bridge where the East Coast Main Line railway line crosses over the canal I waited for a few minutes for a train to pass. This is probably one of the busiest lines in the country and so I didn't expect having to wait for long. I was disappointed though: I did hear about a dozen trains, and glimpsed a couple in the distance, during the next half an hour or so as the canal kept quite near to the railway.
I spotted quite a bit of wildlife in the water, but probably not the most exciting...more of that later. Apart from the ubiquitous ducks, I saw plenty of tadpoles and tiddlers, a small group of quite large fish, each being about a foot long (I think they might have been perch or roach - they certainly weren't trout), and several dozen, or maybe even a few hundred of a variety of smaller fish, which were much more lively than the larger fish...and looked a bit shark-like to me in their appearance and behaviour.
I stopped to eat my sandwiches at Forest Bottom Lock; I noticed a barge approaching and so stayed for a few minutes longer to watch the boat pass through the lock. As soon as they were within earshot the father and son from the family told me that they had seen a fish in the canal that was three foot long; well, that's how far apart their arms were stretched when they were showing me. It was so big that I'd completely missed it.
I continued for about another mile and a half along the canal towpath, passing another three locks, so getting well ahead of the barge, the Robin Hood.
It was an easy walk of less than a mile to reach the Great North Road, the dual carriageway that is now the A1. Crossing it certainly wasn't easy, even though I only had to manage two lanes at a time - it's certainly not for the faint-hearted, and a group of walkers would have to be especially careful.
The next section of the walk was along private estate roads, which are designated as bridleways, passing through the small hamlet of Bilby after about a mile, and crossing over the River Ryton, my second river of the day; the River Idle flows through the park at Retford.
I crossed a minor road at a place where two equestrian centres were based, and then walked across the fields to Wigthorpe, than down a small length of road to reach the bus stop at South Carlton. A bus wasn't due for twenty minutes, so I walked up the main road to Carlton-in-Lindrick, hoping to find a shop there. I wasn't going to be able to slick my thirst, unless I went in one of the two pubs. The only shops I could find were two hairdressers and beauty salons, two photographic studios and showrooms, a wedding and bridal shop, and a fish and chip shop which was closed. There is a parade of shops further up in the village, on one of the estates, but I stayed on the bus as it passed. I did get a cold carton of milk from one of the local shops when I arrived back in Doncaster.