DONCASTER RAMBLERS: A very muddy five-miler
Sometimes the urge to get out walking, trumps all reason, which is why you might see ramblers in heavy rain, howling gales, or biblical blizzards.
Luckily, none of that today, instead hazards of another kind, MUD as we took on a local walk from Askern Lake.
Having mapped out a five-mile route, and roped in a companion Andrew, I was sure today’s amble would be dry under foot, through tree lined avenues, and grassy field edges.
After all this is my patch (as part of the ramblers’ annual footpath survey) and I know it well.
But what is in your minds eye, and in your eye line are two different things.
From the car park at Askern Lake we made out way along the shore edge then on in the same direction for 200m before turning left and crossing the railway.
Designed as a simple rectangular walk there was now a long stretch of just under two miles in an easterly direction passing Askern Common, Alder Wood, Mill Dike finally crossing a second railway line, our minds taken away from the boggy terrain, by the sound of birdsong.
At a junction of paths we turned left to be confronted by a waterlogged field, in which not even the deep ruts of tractor tread provided safe crossing.
Whether taking it slow one step at a time, or making a mad dash the result is the same, ankle deep in mud and water.
Finally through passing Wrancarr Mill we reached Wrancarr Lane, where we turned left and immediately right onto Clay Bank. This should have been our half way point.
Six hundred metres along Clay Bank where we should have turned right there was a notice saying the railway crossing ahead was blocked.
After consulting our on-line map an alternative route was found which would add a mile onto our journey.
One mile in mud, is like ten in dry. So we followed the zigzag path clearly popular with man and beast, by an abandoned horseshoe and deep footprints reaching the manned level crossing at Thorpe Grange.
It was a relief to have Tarmac under foot, and dream of summer as we made our way along Thorpe Grange Lane but all too quickly we were back in the thick of it as we hit Shirley Lane.
It did seem to get drier, in parts, as the route headed north along side the railway passing Rushy Moor House to reach after 1,000m Long Bank.
At Long Bank we took a left turn then crossing the railway for a final time, after 200m took a right turn over a bridge and up metal stairs.
The last half a mile back to thestart had one final hurdle, a deep puddle with narrow passing to one side.
Took some of the mud from our boots but none of the shine from a challenging walk.
Doncaster Ramblers local walks now available online. For details visit https://www.doncasterramblers.org.uk/walks/map-of-walking-routes.html and click on walk or follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/doncasterramblers/