The combination of a clear, frosty morning and the promise of Hilda's mince pies tempted 53 ramblers to meet up on the green in Finningley for this figure-of-8, 8 mile winter stroll.
After welcoming a few new guests and outlining the details of the walk, Hilda led us off in a north westerly direction through copses and open fields up towards Blaxton Common.
On route at the front we could hear Hilda mutter 'I hope there are enough pies!' Â
The open field footpaths were dry and solid underfoot, making the going easy for a change. Moving through forests now bear of leaves, felt eerie as you could see far into the wood. Â
At High Common wood we made a couple of left turns, to loop back south on the Thorne Road before detouring right to the outskirts of Blaxton before returning south Â into Finningley and the pavilion in the local park where friends and family were waiting for our arrival with tea, coffee, sherry and trays of mince pies - what a welcome treat. Â
The Harvey Arms tempted some away, many of us were happy to stay in the pavilion and chat over the refreshments and our pack-ups.
The name Finningley comes from Old English and basically means 'Clearing of the fen dwellers' Â but in modern times famous for its 2700m runway and during the Cold War home to the RAF Vulcan Bomber fleet. Â The first commercial flight took place in April 2005 from the then Robin Hood Airport which has since been renamed Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
The afternoon took us south towards Bawtry Golf Club, along the edge of Crow Wood then across the A614, before passing the club house then 200 yards further on taking a sharp right across a very muddy field sinking ankle deep. Â Thankfully the tarmac surface alongside the airport runway provided ample opportunity to shake off at least some of the clay. Â On cue an enormous cargo plane came into land. Â Exciting stuff for the child in us all, as was the walk, the pies and all.
Our sincere thanks go to Hilda, her family and Bet for looking after us at lunchtime and for providing such a generous reception. Thanks also to Rob for backmarking. A perfect December day out for everyone.
Doncaster Ramblers have over 200 members and we are part of the Ramblers, a national charity.
The group provide walks on Tuesdays and Saturdays throughout the year. These walks are usually of about 10 miles in length and vary in location from local walks starting from Thorne, Fishlake, Edlington and Epworth,Â to Grindleford, Calver and Hathersage in the beautiful Peak District, to walks in the Castle Howard area, in the Wolds, as well as many more locations up to about an hour's drive away. These walks are for reasonably experienced walkers.
On the second Thursday of every month there is a seven to eight mile walk in the local area, with members meeting at the foot of the escalator near the information point in Doncaster Transport Interchange from 9.30am, or meet at the start point.Â
Ramblers is not only about walking. Volunteers from the group monitor the Rights of Way in Doncaster to identify problems and maintenance teams assist DMBC in building and repairing stiles, kissing gates and bridges, and clearing overgrown paths.
Ramblers Volunteers also attend meetings of the DMBC Public Rights of Way Forum where wider issues concerning the network are discussed.
So far this year Ramblers have checkedÂ Â 557 Rights of WayÂ out of 591Â in the DMBC area.
The ramblers maintenance teams have hadÂ 13 sessions carrying out improvements and repairs on various parts of the footpath network.
The first Doncaster Ramblers walk of 2019 takes place on Saturday January 5 entitled '˜A Fool, the Boggins and the Haxey Hood'.
The leisurely nine mile circular walk starts from Haxey, with a lunch stop at Epworth in a choice of pub/cafe before returning in time for the Haxey Hood, a tradition of ' fun and games' dating back to the fourteenth century, involving a large rugby-like scrum of participants or 'sway', a leather/sack or 'hood' representing a bullock's head, and an effort to place the 'hood' in one of four pubs.
The walk starts at 10amÂ at the Haxey Recreation Ground car park on the A161.
On Tuesday January 8 the group will undertake the Cannon Hall Park and Silkstone Circular walk, starting at 10am.
Walkers should meet and park at Cannon Hall car park, opposite side of road to Garden Centre (Â£3 all day) for a moderate walk including lovely rolling farmland around Gadding Moor and Barnsley countryside.