It's a good job I left the house early enough this morning so as to allow for plenty of time at the bus station. When I reached the town centre there was a competitive cycle race taking place and there were temporary interlocking crowd barriers blocking my way in every direction; there were no crowds though.
It's obvious that whoever put up the barriers weren't local and so didn't know the pedestrian access routes into the town centre...according to one of the race marshals I wasn't the first person this morning who was forced to push the barriers aside in order to get through.
Fortunately everything was running to schedule at the bus station and the Worksop bus departed on time. I got off at Langold, went to the shops and then found my footpath: there were playing fields and allotments at one side of the path, and houses with long gardens at the other side - at the bottom of one of the gardens there was a set of traffic lights; I haven't a clue why.
I soon reached Dyscarr Wood Nature Reserve, which was looking very pretty in the sunshine. At the far side of the wood I found a bench and sat down to eat my sandwiches and the treats I'd bought for myself at the shop. A couple of interesting characters walked by; a woman who looked as though her hair had been glued onto her scalp who was walking two Jack Russell terriers, one of which had a bell on its collar - she told me it was so that she could always hear him because 'he does his own thing,' and another woman who was holding her walking stick like a spear, ready to throw it at anything that moves - I stopped chewing my food as she passed me.
The next section of the walk was across fields and then through another area of woodland, down to a road, and then a bridleway down into the bottom of the valley, where Firbeck is located.
I arrived at the pub in Firbeck, the Black Lion, at 11:45, fifteen minutes before it was due to open, and so decided to take a detour up to Firbeck Hall. Well, it might be shown on the Ordnance Survey map, but I couldn't find it. It's a lovely location though, and some of the outbuildings have been converted into very nice houses.
I arrived back at the pub at 12:10 and was the first person to order lunch; it was a carvery and I chose the gammon...with as many vegetables as I could pile on my plate; roast and boiled potatoes, roast parsnips, garden peas, carrots, and cauliflower cheese. I certainly ate my recommended five portions of fruit or veg - the roast parsnips were the best I've ever had. All in, not bad value for £8.95 I reckon. I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity of missing out on the welcome sunshine and so I sat outside in the beer garden, surrounded by colourful hanging baskets of geraniums and petunias. I shall recommend this pub to my friend Justin, who goes out every Sunday lunchtime for a meal with his dad.
Next I walked along footpaths across fields planted with several different crops, the fields planted with potatoes were the most difficult because of their ridge and furrow ploughing - I needed to concentrate on every step I took.
Firbeck was a new village to me, but I have visited Stone before, only the once though, and I only walked along the main road, nor along the back lanes as today.
As soon as I left Stone and was down in the small valley I could see the looming towers of Roche Abbey. The approach from this direction is very impressive and I took many photographs; the sky had clouded over and at no time were the ruins lit by sunlight and so I'm not happy with any of the shots. The sun did pop out again a few minutes later though, just as I was close up to the ruins.
I briefly popped into the visitor centre to buy a mug of tea and then use the toilets a bit later, and then walked up the valley to Maltby by the quickest route to make sure I caught the 15:05 bus back to Doncaster.