Miles walked: about 11
Weather: lots of rain, but not too heavy, and the sun came out on the last stretch.
Laurel and Leigh gave us an excellent breakfast of porridge – nothing better to set you up for walking, IMHO. And let us each have a go in their massage chair, bless them. We didn’t want to leave really. But eventually we tore ourselves away from their hospitality and set off during a break in the rain.
The Trent Valley Way follows the south side of the river for the next stretch, but we decided to take the north side, so we could visit my brother in Burton Joyce on the way. It had to be either/or, because there are no bridges across the Trent between Lady Bay Bridge in Nottingham and Gunthorpe Bridge about 10 miles east.
There are footpaths most of the way on the north side, but it did mean we had to walk through a couple of industrial estates near the start. ‘Tirra lirra by the river’ this ain’t. But that’s one of the things I like about it – we aren’t doing an edited highlights tour of the pretty bits, we’re walking the whole river. Sewage works, factories and all.
Between two industrial estates we had the brief joy of Colwick Park. There we found a ruined church, filled with trees.
As we were going through Colwick Industrial Estate a man shouted over to us, and you can hear what happened next in the audio clip at the bottom.
We made good time, apart from all our tea and food stops. We were trying to make it to Nathan’s house, and should have been there by three, but it was raining and we were starving, so we stopped for a baked potato at the Ferry Boat near Stoke Bardolph.
Good baked potato and ample salad with it, 8/10. We dived on it like starving people, so we forgot to take a photo (I know you are desperate for photos of our every meal and cup of tea…).
So, of course, by the time we got to Nathan’s he’d gone out. Inconsiderate sibling. We were forced to have a pint in the Lord Nelson and wait. Not bad, but not as good as the Burton Bridge beer.
Happily, by the time we’d had a pint with Nathy and regaled him with our tales, it had stopped raining and the sun had come out. So we walked a happy last couple of miles, picking blackberries and singing as we went.
It’s cool to think we’ve now done 110miles, but sad to think it’ll soon all be over. We want to walk more rivers!
Gunthorpe is where my parents now live, and I know the river well here. Local legend has it that Dick Turpin used to cross the river near here, at a ford, to avoid the authorities who’d watch the main bridges. But I expect half the villages on this part of the Trent say that.
There’s been a river crossing near here for thousands of years: the Romans had a substantial town nearby – Margidunum, whose site was near Bingham – to service people travelling north and using the river crossing. Sadly they’ve just built a big roundabout pretty much on the site of Margidunum, but to be honest there wasn’t anything to see anyway.