It was a glorious late summer's morning as 21 walkers gathered beside the immaculately maintain and imposing church at Whissendine, Rutland. Most were kitted in shorts and tee shirt, as the early morning heat of the sun promised an even hotter day.
Setting off we soon became immersed in golden arable fields of ripening oats, already harvested crops or even recently ploughed and tilled fields where rape seed crops had previously been. Fortunately, the soil was soft and dry so we avoided the usual hazard of having to carry a build up of claggy, wet clay on our boots.
It was a joy being part of the intense farming activity that is going on around us at this time of year; we even had to gird ourselves to cross a field of wheat in the process of being harvested by a huge combine. Timing our pace to avoid the dust storm generated by this massive farming beast the group reached the far side with ease, leaving behind our fearless photographer to snap the bucolic scene.
Onward, pausing only to admire the patchwork of farmland fields basking in the glow of the August sunlight, we reached our lunch destination, The Black Bull, Market Overton, (www.blackbullrutland.co.uk). Having enjoyed a variety of local brews and a delicious lunch we replenished our water bottles and set off on the return journey.
The heat of the day truly tested us as we traversed more arable fields and one containing a herd of curious, excitable but relatively harmless heifers! The skies were wide and blue with only small wisps of cloud to break up the expanse. Convinced that the day was even hotter than forecasted, we had several shade stops to allow for some recovery, eventually reaching our cars at Whissendine by 4pm. It was a lovely 11.5 mile walk through a prime example of the best of the English countryside.