Beacon Hill & the Grand Union Canal (part one)

At last we saw some sunshine.  The past few weeks seem to have been dull, dreary and wet and not the sort of weather to inspire you to go out or go far.  But today was a glorious winter day, perfect for getting your boots muddy, and we certainly did that trudging through boggy fields and nearly losing a boot in the liquid mud by one of the gates.

This is a walk I’ve wanted to do for ages – the recommended route in Pocket Pub Walks in Warwickshire suggests starting and ending at The Kings Head, Napton.  We decided to start halfway along the walk and parked close to the canal in the nearby village of Shuckburgh and do the tough bit first – the climbing of Beacon Hill, which left us with a gentle lop-sided stroll along the canal embankment on the way back.

DSCN4347
Shuckburgh Church and War Memorial

 

DSCN4349
I wonder if these are still put to use?

Carefully crossing the busy A425 we found the signpost that led across the field towards the farmhouse.  To begin with it didn’t look promising

 

DSCN4350
is this just to deter people?

The field was empty and we crossed, heading towards the farmhouse, through a kissing gate and looked out for the waymark signs continuing upwards in more or less the same direction.

DSCN4352DSCN4356

DSCN4355
Looking back down towards the village

 

DSCN4358
How Do
DSCN4357 (2)
Spooky Tree

Continuing upwards with a lake and wood to our right we turned right through a gate and headed towards the Trig point at the top of Beacon Hill, stopping to enjoy the views as we went.

 

 

DSCN4360DSCN4362DSCN4367DSCN4368DSCN4371

DSCN4372

 

Slightly misled by the guide book, we headed diagonally right across this field, talking merrily away, taking in the views and realising with our goal in sight we hadn’t bothered to check the route so found ourselves in the wrong corner of the right field.  Squelching back across the boggy field we headed up to the right corner to a find a pair of stiles across a stream.  Toby had to be lifted across, not something he enjoys.  Luckily there were only two stiles along the route.  Taking more care we made our way across a number of increasingly wet fields heading in the general direction of Napton.  Alex read out the next steps of the guidebook  –

Press on in the same direction towards Napton navigating from stile to stile (some of which are rather awkward as they lack steps at the time of writing…

Toby’s face fell at prospect of negotiating more stiles.  But luckily they had all been replaced by gates, much to everyone’s relief.

DSCN4373
towards Napton

 

DSCN4375
looking back

 

DSCN4376
 

 

DSCN4378
Tek care now

 

I suspect the fields we crossed to get to the lane have names like “soggy bottom”, “squelchy meadows”, “boggy pastures”, “Passchendaele”.  We left the last field and turned right up the surprisingly busy country lane.  At the top of the lane we carried on right down the hill to The Kings Head 

DSCN4380DSCN4382

Who was Cyril Collins?