After several weeks of record breaking heat over the summer the daytime temperature had fallen to a more seasonal 24˚C on the day of our walk from Seaton in Rutland. Perhaps this was one reason for the higher than average turnout of 26 walkers.
The walk left Seaton and headed down hill, passed sheep dozing in the shade, over a disused railway track and across a country road toward Harringworth. It didn’t take long for us to have sight of the impressive viaduct, which featured frequently during our walk around the River Welland valley.
The railway viaduct, over the river flood plains, is over 1,000 metres long, was opened in 1880 and is now used mostly for freight and the occasional steam train event. Made up of 82 arches, each with a 12m span and a maximum height of 18m, the construction comprises of some 30 million bricks. These were originally red faced but over the years of continuous maintenance replaced with a more robust blue brick. A workforce peaking at 3,500 people, mostly lived in a purpose built base camp of wooden huts.
Walking beneath the viaduct and passing through Harringworth we cut across fields to join the Jurassic Way beside the River Welland. Traversing the river at Turtle Bridge, we paused for coffee, while watching a spaniel pup frolic in the crystal clear water. Leaving the Jurassic Way behind and taking an uphill track to the B672, which we took for a long road walk back to Seaton. Then on to the small village of Bisbrooke where a footpath to our left as we entered the village went across fields, passed a solar farm, to Uppingham and our lunch stop of The Vaults.
Filling an upstairs dining room, we were able to eat, quench our thirsts and enjoy a good chat. Then, summoned by our walk leaders, Derrick Hughes and David Scott, we gathered in the Market Place and heading back to Seaton. From a footpath next to the Uppingham School Cricket Ground, we walked back to Bisbrooke via a different route, and continued ‘cross country’ to Seaton and our cars home.