Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Doncastrian Way - 14th March 2016

Being a native of Doncaster, i'd known of this long distance challenge since I was quite young, probably 12 or so. Im not sure where I first found out about it, perhaps when I was in the scouts. I sort of knew of it passing through the next village from mine.

Anyway, it had long been on my list of routes to do sometime. So, when me and Bob were looking for something long and a bit different to the usual fare of doing the three peaks again, I suggested we took this one on. Bob of course was all over it like a rash!

Normally for a route of this length there would be several weeks of planning... nah, sod that. We decided to knock this one off the next day we had off work together. However, we did decide to do the fluids, nutrition and sock change regimen as a dry run for the next Lyke Wake.

So Bob planned the meals, I informed my mum that we would be taking over her driveway at 06:00 on monday morning (I told her this 11:00 saturday!), Bob treated himself to a new GPS unit, and I obtained a copy of the 'official' route from the Vermuyden branch of the LDWA. Parking at my mums meant a couple or four extra miles between villages to get on and off the actual route.

Well, yesterday morning arrived, and after a pretty poor attempt at a nights sleep, I slipped out of bed at 04:30, put my trousers on, had a cup of tea, made up a flask and loaded the car. At 05:00 I set off for the drive to my mums, and a text to Bob woke him up.

A bit of breakfast, some tape on the feet, and a mug of steaming brown liquid (potentially decaf coffee) from the flask, and a chat with my mum, and with every electronic device about our persons set to record our progress, the above pictured duo of metalists hit the trail

In very little time, what to us as kids had seemed a very long walk to the next village, was done, and we reached the farm shop, our rendevous with the official route. We were already two miles in! From there over the canal and river to cut left into Fox Covert and down past the 1900s remains of 'the second st. Helens', this being how Kirk Sandals Pilkington float glass plant used to be known. It was rather muddy along this section

But we were soon out of that and onto the flood embankment towards Bentley. A small miscalculation here but soon corrected and back on course, with slightly heavier boots due to claggy mud. At this point we realised that there would be a few styles along this walk - we dont mind styles when walking light, but are not so keen when we have a 15kg pack each!
But we went on, the countryside starting to wake up around us. Soon the double railway crossing into Yarborough Terrace was behind us, and after threading our way around the early morning chavs and crackheads, we were over the roundabouts and passing back into open country with HMP Doncatraz and Crimpsal MF station on our left, Cusworth hall on the horizon to our right,

Pressing on, we approached Sprotborough Falls, Bob as usual on the hunt for some plumbing facilities. What we found, whilst interesting, were not quite the comfortable sit-down porcelain Bob was favouring

Over the falls, up the bends, and away across Warmsworth we went, noting with interest that the big pub is now a resturant, just as well really since I was barred from there some years ago (not for the obvious! - I put a cue through the pool table lights during a bad shot), past the sewage works and over to Alverly Grange, passing the very house my wife grew up in, and the fields where she used to horse ride

The woods between here and Wadworth were a sea of thick, cloying mud, churned up by bikes. Somewhere along here I took a nice whippy sapling right across the lip! Ooh that stung a bit! The picture above I dont think is from this stretch of the walk, but I cant be bothered getting them all in proper order! The ones below however, are as we crossed the final fields to Wadworth and our lunch stop!

In the very far distance on the photo above, it was possible to see the tower of Rockware glass factory. We had started several miles on the other side of it! It was quite amazing to think that we were now right over the other side of town from where we started!

 We stopped for lunch and sock changing in the churchyard. Coconut water and pasta, and fresh socks! Feet not too bad at this stage. Feeling good al round. As expected my right heel was blistered, so that was Compeeded up, but my left ball of foot and toes were doing better than expected.

 From Wadworth a steady bimble, with a bit of a play on 2m FM, led us down into Rossington. Here the GPS track showed differently to the available footpaths, so we decided to go with the GPS and ploughed on straight over the pit top! We passed round two of chav and scum, stopped briefly at the level crossing, which we went over in the half a dozen seconds that it opened for before the next train, on into the more affluent part of the village (taking me away from the temptation of a kebab special at the Nelson chippy) and off over the open parkland leading eventually to Bawtry Road and the Mount Pleasant Hotel

 The above photo taken I think in Kings Wood, was taken during one of around half a million momentary 'refreshment' breaks! We do like to keep properly hydrated...

Starting to ache a bit now and with the feet becoming a little sore, we passed the lakes and made a slight navigation error requiring a bit of inventive navigation, a minute or two of death defying climbing on a narrow ledge under a bridge, and the customary few hundred yards run, to regain the railway crossing we should have used at this point. But we didnt die, again, and so carried on, passing within calling distance of Bobs mums house, and over to our second foot care stop at Auckley, the time now being about 15:00

Socks changed and bodies refueled, we set off along the pleasent banks of the river Torne, for the long stretch to Hatfield Woodhouse. This also involved the hairy scary walk along the side of the rather fast road, but we were soon off of this and a brief stop at a farm allowed Bob to replenish one of his water bottles from a farmers hosepipe! It was now just gone 16:00, it was finally T-shirt weather, although this wouldnt last much longer

As we made our now slightly weary way along towards the crossing of the M18 besides Ruane Potatoes, the sun finally set and the light began to fade. We were still around ten miles from the end. These last few photos from the walk show the dying embers of  the day

Now, footsore, tired, aching, we pushed on towards Dunsville. Neither of us quite sure which way the route took us here. As we bent our weary way past the spud factory, a waxing moon stood above us in the now forbidding darkness. Crossing open fields again, we realised that a couple of head torches wouldnt have gone amiss. But, soon enough we reached the bright lights of Dunsville. We now knew all that was in front of us was to cross the fields to the edge of 'Ratties Wood' past the old ICI bunkers.

That said, we didnt remember that theres a wood to go through first! By now it was very dark, the stars were beginning to shine over us, as we threaded our way by the light of Bobs I-phone. The woods past, we could see the bright lights of the driving range to our half-left, but the glow of a passing train showed we were a good way yet from the final level crossing. By now we were moaning, breathing heavily, but still in surprisingly good spirits and maintaining a decent enough clip.

The next train to pass showed we were close, and then we were back in civilisation, or as close an equivalent as posisble on Pinehall road in Barnby Dun! Back on home ground, it was just a 'short' walk from here, over the railway bridge, and across the fields back to my mums house, pausing only to send her a text telling her to get a brew on!

And then, we were done! Sat with stinging feet and slowly seizing limbs at my mums kitchen table, agreeding whole heartedly with her assesment - 'your bloody mad you two'

13 and a half hours, 35.4 miles. We had done it. Back in time for tea and medals!

Compeeds are great until the come off early!


No comments:

Post a Comment