Today’s walk was planned to be the final lap in my Myton Marathon. Who could of thought, when I was lying face-down in Spittle Brook, that we should come to this? I had splashed and squelched the 5.55 miles of the first walk; investigated the remains of Broom Junction in the second and survived the emergency call at the furthest point of walk three. My companions and I have walked 18.27 miles in for The Myton Hospice and I am incredibly grateful to them for their support, sympathy, empathy, chat, laughter, fortified coffee and christmas cake. But now it is time for the last lap; the longest walk of all; some of the muddiest miles around Alcester. On top of which I must return to the site of my soaking in walk one.
We will follow the widest perimeter of The Exercise Yard. We will cross the Roman Way portal and sweep in a wide arc, through Coldcomfort Wood and beyond. Then down to cross The Millennium Way before once more negotiating the stepping stones over The Spittle Brook Interchange. Assuming I survive the water jump we will cross Alcester Heath and re-enter via the little-used Roebuck portal. For sustenance we have coffee, water and a couple of pieces of Slovakian Apple Cake. What could possibly go wrong?
Refreshment stop. We are sitting on the seat at the corner of Newman’s Plantation, a small wood with a view over a large field. Last year I sat here and watched hares scamper and box. But no such luck today. However, the weather is lovely, blue sky, scudding clouds as we sit sipping coffee, munching Slovakian Apple Cake; enjoying the view over Cold Comfort Farm and the wood. We are anticipating the walk along the farm track, past the ruined barn towards the farm buildings where we have a choice. Over the field or the longer route along the lane. We drain our drinks, pack up and set off.
Now we are enjoying a brief water stop at the western edge of the wood. The path continues across the field (see photo at the top). We had decided on the shorter field option earlier. It’s been dry lately so the going was considered “good to firm”. The path through the wood was pretty muddy in places so we detoured along a narrow but drier alternative. So now, out into the sunshine to cross the field and follow the hedge line onward towards my nemesis. The ford over The Spittle Brook.
Not even a wet foot. Would you believe it. I crossed, not with the agility of a gazelle certainly, but effectively and successfully. Now we proceed onward, glowing with unwarranted pride, towards Alcester Heath. Then finally past the house reputed to be once owned by Nigel Mansell and then the tricky pass through The Roebuck portal back into The Exercise Yard.
So there we are. My Marathon complete. The weather was lovely; the going good to firm, muddy in places and the company delightful. Distance walked 7.49 miles. Beautiful, quiet countryside walk. I will be publishing guidance under the Walk tab.