First walk of 2010 – Circular walk from Everdon via Woodford Halse

After the excesses of Christmas and spending a lot of time in bed with various bouts of illness (what is it about evolving colds that won’t go away this winter!) the Offa’s Dyke team (well everyone except Alex) decided to break in the new year  with a 13 mile walk around the Northamptonshire countryside South of Daventry.

I have to admit to starting to run out of local countryside near where I live to walk around – if I was more organised it would be quite easy to get up early and, within an hour or so, end up in gorgeous hilly countryside (Derbyshire, The Malverns, and the Chilterns are really not that far away), but once again I left it to the last minute, and had to rely on trusty Viewranger to knock together a local route.

Circular Walk from Everdon
via Woodford Halse

Date 3rd January 2010
Length 12.5 miles
Time Taken 7 hours
Average Speed 1.8 mph
Max Height 610 ft
Min Height 339 ft
Height Gain 882 ft

View the map on OS Explore
Download GPS data exported
from Viewranger

The circular route I chose started in Everdon, just South of Daventry. From there we walked over Everdon Hill to Fawlsey Hall, a manor house as early as 7th Century – although now a luxury hotel, spa and conference centre. We then headed South, joining the Jurassic Way to Woodford Halse, passing the lost settlement of Church Charwelton (just the parish church of Charwelton remains, isolated from the village).

After my decision to walk Offa’s Dyke in April, I seem to have become more interested in these, seemingly random, long distance routes. The Jurassic Way follows the jurassic limestone ridge between Banbury and Stamford, although most of it’s 88 mile route is in Northamptonshire. The Explore Northamptonshire website has the loveliest description of the route – which probably shouldn’t surprise me considering it’s aim is to market the county.

From Church Charwelton, we then cut back East towards Farthingstone, and finally turning North to return to Everdon.

I do enjoy walking in rural Northamptonshire – we might not have stunning scenery and breath taking views, but we do have lots of rolling pastures,  small isolated woods and picturesque villages. There is also the added bonus that, outside the villages, you are unlikely to meet another walker (especially perhaps considering it was hovering around freezing for most of the day!).

With Offa’s Dyke now only months away, it was great to be joined by Karen and her daughter for their first official training walk. They were both testing out some equipment they got for Christmas, especially new walking boots and rucksacks, which held up really well (no blisters). They both had no problems with the walk, and we all remained in good spirits which, considering how cold it was at times, was no mean feat!

For my part, this my first walk carrying significant weight on my back. I loaded my new Berghaus C71 with as much equipment as I could find – other than the cooker and the tent, I think I probably wasn’t too far off the amount of equipment I am likely to be carrying – it weighed in at 30lbs!

Considering this was the first time I have walked with a heavy backpack for over 15 years (I used to be in the cadets in my youth, so had my fair share of carrying equipment over Dartmoor and Exmoor!) I didn’t do too badly. My feet were a little sore on the soles, although that faded a few hours after we finished, and my hips were bruised (the tenderness faded by lunchtime the next day). The backpack itself was brilliant – the Bioflex system really helped spread the weight and made life much easier when the dog does pull.

However with only just over two months remaining before we start, I really need to get out there walking more – this walk was after all only the equivalent to an easiest day on Offa’s Dyke!

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