Friday, 5 September 2014

Pilgrim Days 8-10

Pilgrim Day 8

A surprisingly hard day because of rain and freshly ploughed Rutland clay. It stuck to your feet in huge clumps slowing progress and being impossible to shake off. I waddled along like a swan with webbed feet. I am sure I had more weight on my feet than in the rucksack at times. Each footpath led me over yet another ploughed field and the rain was relentless. After 4 hours of this I decided to change route and keep to the lanes, slightly longer but more pace. Inspector Morse could have easily followed these muddy prints that went on for miles.

I headed for a village for a late lunch and prayed for a pub. Like many a village pub on this walk it was "closed"!

Criss-crossing 3 counties in one day I realise how the church tower is universally the first landmark spotted. Buildings built for the worship of God now mainly in neglect their graveyards overgrown, even the names on gravestones illegible. Musing on the news and the dark clouds of terror and abuse I marvel at the local church.  They are beacons in the darkness, sign posts to the lost traveller, and communities that centre truth and goodness in the heart of our towns...

Those of another generation may lie forgotten, their names erased, but not to God. They have walked their pilgrimage and fought their fights and if we but stop and listen we hear God's encouragement to us to seize the day.  Whatever the churches faults it has no equals in terms of the good it can do.

Pilgrim day 9

A beautiful day for walking and I left Grantham at quite a trot looking forward to flat farmland and no more than a 24 mile walk. I soon left the scaffolded tower of Grantham behind me and headed for the pretty little village of Caythorpe. The Stone houses are beautiful and clearly this is a land of Millers as you keep finding windmills in assorted disrepair and none to date with sails on. At Brant Broughton I found a little garden of Eden donated by the church to its community. I sat and ate my lunch and watched the aerial display of numerous small tortoiseshell butterflies enjoying this paradise. 

From here to Lincoln the walk just got harder. It seemed every field was freshly ploughed and twisted and tweaked my ankle like a pinball in an amusement arcade. Got to Lincoln in time to see its canal, churches and castle. Made the mistake of then walking to B&B another 3 miles out of town!

Pilgrim day 10

Leaving beautiful Lincoln felt sad, would have liked a day to explore.

The morning was one of navigating waterways, canals, ditches with high sided paths that tracked their course. It was sunshine all morning and a few late season fishermen took their chance along the canals.  I managed a needed pint of shandy in a beautiful village pub and then headed into a very different farm scene. From arable to livestock, horses, bullocks and some very friendly sheep. I climbed into this field to be greeted by a dog sheep. A black faced animal than ran excitedly towards me. Then bleating to his mates he managed to gather for me quite a following. Took a picture to remind me of the good shepherd that loves his sheep. The last part of my journey took me around an old WW2 airfield. Wasn't difficult to imagine the Spitfire pilots waiting for that phone to ring and taking to the skies once again.

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