Robin, Clive and I set off on a lovely sunny morning to start our walk from Kirkwhelpington. While we were togging up, a taxi drew up and discharged an American girl who was walking St. Oswald’s Way. She’d had terrible weather the previous couple of days, but with 10 miles to go today, we promised her she’d be basking in sunshine all the way.
We exited the village, crossed the A696 and then followed the farm road towards Horncastle. We looped around the farm steading and continued to head westwards towards Cornhills Farm. We missed the turn off to the right to go around the buildings, so had to back track a short way, but, once on the correct route, the path was clear through a series of grass fields towards Cornhills. Two of our number had a slight contretemps with a fallen down wall and fence, but we eventually made the cottages at Cornhills. A Limousin bull in an adjacent field completely ignored us !
From the farm, we joined the metalled road, still heading just south of west, past Ferneyrigg with its moat, and then stopped in the lea of some trees for coffee. The next part of the route took us past Sweethope Loughs, though they were obscured by conifers. Many of the conifers of Lake Wood on the other side of the road, had been felled, so we had good views of the Wanney Crags to our right.
Near the cattle grid, where the River Wansbeck emerged from Rushy Dene and plunged under the road, we turned off left to follow the footpath around the lake.
The path was initially well defined and easy to follow, but gradually became narrower, wet and rushy. We made for the water’s edge to find an easier route and came upon a lovely spot to have our sandwiches – it ticked all the boxes !
Moving on after lunch, we skirted the small lake to emerge onto a good track, edged in places with small clumps of early purple orchids. What a delight !
The track continued to Sweethope farm and then led us north east, over the Wansbeck again, and then on, via fields to Hawick Farm, and thence to Crookdene. From here, we had some super views of Kirkwhelpington Stone Quarry and the remains of the medieval village of West Whelpington, partially destroyed by the quarrying activities.
More field tracks guided us to The Shield farm, and on to a metalled farm road back over the A696 and a return to our car parked next to the Post Office and shop. It had been a smashing day, no rain, lots of sunshine, light breezes, and an interesting walk in glorious countryside.