the Viking Way The Jerusalem odyssey continues - on foot...

The Viking Way was officially opened on Sunday 5 September 1976 at Tealby. It stretches from Oakham in Rutland to the Humber Bridge in North Lincolnshire. Over the summer of 2017 I walked the Lincolnshire part of the Viking Way from west of Grantham to the Humber bridge. I actually walked it in short stretches, twice, because I always had to return to the car, so about 200 miles all together.

Lincolnshire Wolds

There are parts of Lincolnshire that are beautiful to walk through, where skylarks sing, buzzards mew and cows moo.

The Wolds are a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) though, I can not see much that is natural about them. Most of the Wolds is agricultural land and the rest is mostly grazing land with a few bits of managed woodland.

Nothing to do with the Vikings

The Viking Way has nothing to do with the Vikings, only that they once lived here hundreds of years ago. It could as easily been labelled the Roman Way or the Mercian Way. Even the emblem on the route’s way-points, a Viking helmet with horns is inaccurate as Viking helmets did not have horns. This is just a myth supposedly perpetrated by opera costume designers. I guess history is what you make it!

They did not have stainless steel boats either ;)

Quite a lot of the Viking Way is boring. Endless agriculture, dirt tracks, an occasional pretty village and an abundance of keep out signs.

Cement factory and rooks
Red kite

Red Kites were extinct in Lincolnshire until recently, I never saw one as a child. Everywhere you look now you see Buzzards, Kestrels, Sparrow Hawks, though, there seems to be fewer owls these days.

Pheasant pen
Oil and solar power

Farmers are really cashing in on solar, wind and bio-fuel crops now.

Factory farm

Then there are the factory farms, usually seen in the distance. Passing them by, they appear so clean, shiny and benign looking, you can only imagine what happens inside. Huge, anonymous looking buildings the size of multiple football pitches. Machines for growing millions of living creatures like crops to feed our greed for low cost meat until their unnaturally short, growth promoted lives are eventually relieved by a sudden mechanised and cruel death.

Factory farm
Rape field
Make sure you stay on the footpath
NO FORNICATION

Adding to my collection of landowners officious signage... It's the first time I have seen a sign that prohibits fornication and the throwing of dogs into lakes! I think that if it was legal, some landowners would class ramblers alongside rats, crows and wood pigeons as vermin and shoot them on sight. Or, maybe even hunt them like foxes on horseback with hounds.

Bardney Abbey
Woodhall Spa golf course
Four miles of boring

The first four miles of the Viking Way between Woodhall Spa and Horncastle is a straight (it's an abandoned railway line), beautifully manicured footpath through the woods. The first 20 minutes is wonderful, echoing bird song and leaves rustling in the breeze. After that it becomes a little boring as you can only see forward and backwards.

Lincolnshire voted overwhelmingly for brexit!
I have no idea what this is.
Horse in purdah

Horses can suffer from nasty fly afflictions during the summer and sometimes need to be covered. It makes them look a little weird, as though they were in purdah. However, they seem to be able to go about their business as normal.

South common, Lincoln

Lincolnshire's secret rocket base turns out to be a replica of Thunderbird 3 at Humberside Airport.

Red Bull, McDonald's, cigarettes and scratch cards

At 450 feet above sea level, the village of Fulnetby proudly boasts on an information sign of being the second highest village in the Lincolnshire Wolds. The local church offers refreshments to weary travellers. After that climb I'm not surprised ;-)

Bayards Leap

No, it's not a place to park the skip. According to local folklore this is the spot where Bayard the blind horse landed having done battle with a local witch and leaped to safety - full story on wikipedia

When it was built in the 1960's the Belmont TV transmitter was the tallest structure of it's kind (cylindrical tube) in the world. You would think that it would spoil the landscape but I kind of like it.

South Ferriby cement works

The Lincolnshire Wolds is littered with chalk quarries. Conveyor belts, miles long, transport the chalk down to the cement works on the Humber.

Detectorists

One of the more unexpected things on the muddy Humber is a white chalk pebble beach on the south bank.

When it was built the Humber bridge was the largest single span bridge in the world. With Lincoln Cathedral and the Belmont TV transmitter that makes three times Lincolnshire has held largest structure records.

The good thing about chalk and clay pits (apart from concrete and bricks) is that they make great wildlife reserves when finished.

The end
Created By
Chris Goddard
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