Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 6 - Clipsham to Whissendine 7 September 2012

With Marta. Fine, sunny, very warm. A few dry ploughed fields to cross. garmin fail between Teigh and part way to Whissendine - human error. About 13 miles in all.
The first part of this walk was a little uninspiring - along the road from Clipsham to Stretton, though we discovered that we could have walked a little further from the verge, too late for today.  

We followed the road to the roundabouts under the A1.  Our path left the slip road for the A1 North, via a plank bridge and a stile.  

The route lies across a large grassy field, and crosses a concrete track, then another bridge and field before joining a minor road.
A very free range hen
At the road we turned right and walked up to the bend in the road, where a path goes to the right.  At this point we had some difficulty, and lost the waymarks.  When we came out at the road as the map route showed, we were still unsure, and diverted slightly to join another path which took us back to our route more easily. 

This was near the flight path and approach lights for RAF Cottesmore.  This is now known as Kendrew Barracks.  

Soon after crossing the old flight path, we had a quick break, before following the route into Thistleton. John Williams's book and the waymarking helped make this straightforward.

Thistleton, the most northerly village in Rutland, is very small, but has a fine church and a herb farm.
St Nicholas church, Thistleton
From Thistleton, we took the road west towards Sewstern - and carried on until we reached the point known as Thistleton Gap, where Rutland meets Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

From wikipedia:
On 28 September 1811 a massive crowd of up to 20,000 watched a prizefight at Thistleton Gap. Tom Cribb fought the American Tom Molineaux in a hotly contested re-match for the heavyweight championship of England. The match was a matter of national pride and the names of both these men were famous throughout the land. The venue was chosen as the three counties of Rutland, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire met there and if the police arrived to halt the illegal fight the boxers and crowd could escape across the county boundary. In the eleventh round Cribb knocked out Molineaux. The original match, a year before, had ended in exhaustion for both men after a gruelling 33 rounds with accusations of cheating. During the intervening period both men had lost weight; Cribb because of extensive training with the famous Captain Barclay and Molineaux due to loss of muscle whilst earning his keep at local prizefighting venues.[7]
We recognised the spot by the county boundary sign, and two large barns on the left hand side of the road.  
The barns near Thistleton Gap

Shortly after the barns we had to cross another ploughed field, diagonally right to the corner of the hedge.  After this it was a case of following the path and waymarks along field boundaries.  With the hedge on our right we could see a house - Cribb's Lodge, which is reputed to be the training base for his bare-knuckle fights. 

We continued with the hedge on our right, ignoring a path and stile on the right. We had to turn left then right with the field boundaries, joining a farm track just before a small industrial estate on our left.  We carried on skirting some woodland, still with the hedge on our right.  As we were on the south side of the hedge for most of the time, this was hot going, and the views weren't up to much for a while!  We had another break when we found a suitably shady spot - at last.
Just after walking past the wood there is a shadier path, with wider views -  quite a relief!

We turned left and later right around the wood's edge.  The path is crossed by a path towards Edmondthorpe.   We had to turn left at a point where a bridleway goes straight ahead. 
Use the book and the OS maps here - much clearer than my description!
At the end of the last field is a gate, near the disused Melton to Oakham Canal. The track goes over the canal.
The disused Oakham to Melton Canal
As instructed we headed slightly to the right across the field to a gate in the right hand hedge.   This led on to a track. When the track met the road, opposite Catmose Lodge,  we turned left towards Teigh. (TEE?) but no tea :-(.

We walked past a road to the right signposted to Whissendine, then just after the Teigh sign we turned right into the village and on to the imposing church.  It wasn't open at the time, so that'll be one for another day.

Holy Trinity church, Teigh
The path leaves just over the road opposite the west end of the church.  The waymarks are easy to follow here - there's even one on its own in the middle of the first field.  We went quite close to an area of water and saw two herons flying from there.   A footbridge and a stile, then a longish section with the hedge on our left was next, leading to this rather long thin footbridge:

Not quite a rope bridge over a chasm, but . . .
After this we took the path diagonally right across a field and through a gateway in the opposite hedge. We emerged on to a bridleway, turned right and then crossed the Leicester-Peterborough railway line.  You can see for a fair distance each side,  and judging by the train which came along soon after we'd crossed, you can hear the trains coming.
'Pill-box' remnant of World War 2 defences

Our path was along the bridleway for a good mile gradually uphill until it met the road to Whissendine.  We turned left, and in a couple of hundred yards took a footpath to the right, over a stile.
Whissendine windmill, seen from the path

We crossed the field to the stile opposite and came out near St Andrews Church in Whissendine.

From here it was all downhill to the village centre, the shop for a sandwich and some liquid, and back to the circular seat round a tree on the village green, where we ate our rather late lunch.
Map and details

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