10-13 October: Starting to head south

Author: Mrs A

Location: Harby, Nottinghamshire UK

We checked out of Castleton and drove through showery weather to our friends John and Catriona in the village of Harby, just south of Lincoln. We arrived mid afternoon and after cups of tea and stories told, ambled over to their village pub for a pre-dinner drink.

It’s been a while since we last sat across a table with friends, and although those Zoom sessions are wonderful, nothing beats the connection of an in-person conversation, the more spontaneous banter and laughter that comes with it. We had a fun night with fine wine and delicious food, concluding with dancing around the lounge as all evenings should!

The following morning we went out to RSPB Langford Lowfields (map) for a stroll. The area is common of the Nottinghamshire landscape, with a former sand and gravel pit turned into wetlands. Although much of the work has been done relatively recently, the location has already attracted a wide variety of birds.

A lot of happy water birds make this their home
Catriona makes her way over the boardwalk that takes you through the reed beds
More than 50 years of friendship between these two
The locals are pretty chilled out

The reserve sits alongside the River Trent and a roaring weir. You definitely would not have wanted to fall into this, with its whirlpools and churning waters. It is known as the Devil’s Caldron and claimed the lives of 10 soldiers in 1975 who unwittingly went over this weir during a night exercise. Cromwell Weir is now roped off in response to this, preventing any further tragedies.

Standing in awe of the Devil’s Caldron

We ambled down to an area of the wetlands not usually open to visitors, finding a huge tree trunk. The story accompanying it was quite impressive. We were surprised the tree trunk is not better protected.

4,000 years of history in a tree trunk
Nobody told this large German wasp, busy chewing the wood to build a nest
More wetlands full of swans and various duck varieties
A kestrel hovers over the grasses hunting for a mouse or shrew for lunch….

Catriona went back home to get tucked into an afternoon of tennis on the TV, while John, Mark and I went to nearby Doddington Hall to buy goodies for lunch.

We had another delicious meal whipped up by Catriona on Sunday night before saying goodbye to our friends on Monday morning.

It was so fortunate we got to enjoy our time there while we did – on Tuesday a three tier system of protective Covid-19 measures was put in place across the UK, and by Wednesday their region was put into tier two, forbidding the meeting of non-household members indoors. This virus continues to throw spanners in the works of our ever fluid plans, but so far we seem to be just a day or so ahead of it! Phew!

3 Replies to “10-13 October: Starting to head south”

  1. Have only just found the comment box!
    We love following your travels, and were thrilled with the honourable mention is the previous week’s blog! All our family have been sent it! It also featured in my weekly letter to solitary souls – describing two angels who cane to our rescue in the form of Catherine and Mark! We have not had any adventures since to equal that but have done a bit of the trans Pennine Trail which is where we live in Sale. I cycle along short parts of it frequently in my daily exercise ( to a riverside coffee caravan which has enterorisungky sprung up during lockdown! – and every now and then insist – like today – Derek comes in the wheel chair. As the beeches join the sycamores in glorious golden red shades, we shall get out whoever it is dry – it is such a short season to catch!
    I love your photography and will see if I can share photos via email.
    Catherine we were humbled to read your story, and all you have done for iSGS sufferers. We can see why walking has become a therapy for you both. I think it is especially important during lockdown to keep one’s sanity as well as physical health. Which reminds me I haven’t yet looked for a copy of the Salt Way – will do that! Have you read Kate Humbles ‘Thinking on my feet’.
    Not sure how many lines I’m allowed but think I’d better stop! I enjoy writing almost as much as walking!
    Was so glad you had a real meal with friends. We would so love to meet up for a meal – or even better invite you here – but the covid prospects make it unlikely. ?
    I will investigate emails!
    Meeting you was a great joy and will remain a happy memory – and a great talking point for Derek! Keep walking and talking! And thank you – again! Xx

    1. Ah Rosie so good to hear from you! We are always mentioning you two – your ears must be burning! Thank you for your message, and please keep in touch – one day all this Covid business will be over and we will be able to share a meal together. Typos all forgiven! 🙂

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