Hook Norton to Moreton-in-Marsh
Saturday’s stretch of the 52° North walk across Britain started in Oxfordshire (Hook Norton) and ended in Gloucestershire (Moreton-in-Marsh), but the majority of the day was spent in a southern toe of Warwickshire – see the map (county boundaries are grey dot & dash lines):
Warwickshire was beautiful – I think I should let the pictures speak for themselves.
Entering Warwickshire and looking northwest across to Brailes Hill:
Chris Hobbs, a dry stone waller, in Ascott:
Chris struck me as being incredibly committed to his work. He’d spent the last nine weeks building the wall below, and have a look at his amazing website too:
That is proper work!
The incredibly cool Straw Kitchen café at Whichford Pottery:
Looking back over Whichford (note the village church – more on that below):
A just amazing beech tree in Whichford Wood:
Looking down over Long Compton:
Again, note the village church. This week Sean and Andrew experienced with me that this walk connects a string of villages, with the church of each village always coming into view first. It made us realise just how fundamental church life was to the making of this country, and how central to the life of each small community in previous centuries. A huge contrast to my reflections on today’s urban living in MK on Wednesday.
A cheese and red onion sandwich at the superb Red Lion in Long Compton:
Pudding of apricots on the wonderfully tranquil village green in Barton-on-the-Heath:
And finally, leaving Warwickshire at the famous Four Shire Stone, where Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire all used to meet:
A complete change of tone arriving in Moreton-in-Marsh.
I was very lucky that the Fire Service College had offered to put me up for the night in their excellent new college accommodation, like a hotel really.
The FSC is one of the world’s leading fire training venues, which has trained emergency professionals globally for over 40 years . The “incident ground” is based on Moreton’s old RAF airfield and has a wide range of areas where firefighters and other emergency professionals can be trained. For example, the main runway is converted to a mocked up motorway where major road traffic accidents can be staged.
Walking around the austere site, I was left feeling humbled at the brave men & women who go into these horrible situations to protect us all.
As I say, humbling.
Halfway point tomorrow! My son Adam, brother David, sister-in-law Ann and niece Naomi (known as Gnome) are all coming to see me so it should be a great day!