A smaller group than usual boarded the coach for our walk today – a 9 mile circular walk , lead by Trevor around Rutland Water, one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe. Three new lady walkers, Diane, Alison and Carole were welcomed to the group. There were 33 walkers today, with the 2 non-walkers being dropped off in Stamford for the day. On nearing the reservoir one of the highlights of the day was spotted from the coach, an osprey, soaring overhead, identified by Dave C.
The walk began on the shores of Rutland Water and proceeded across fields to reach the beautiful village of Empingham, with its lovely thatched cottages. It was whilst walking through the village the we said the walk should be named ‘A Rapture of Raptors’ due to spotting not only a Kestrel, but Red Kite and Buzzards along the way!! On leaving the village the route took us along a section of the Rutland Round named The Macmillan Way. The path then joined The Hereward Way that crossed pasture and farmland to eventually reach a quiet tarmac road whose verges were packed with wildflowers and butterflies. Species spotted included Orange Tip, Holly Blue Brimstone, and Small Tortoiseshell. Along the way a convoy of MG classic cars passed the group. After following this road for around a mile and a half, the lakeside was once again reached where lunch was enjoyed in warm sunshine. Whilst some members remained shore-side, others walked an additional half a mile to The Wheatsheaf, pub in the village of Edith Weston.
The afternoon section of the walk was along the lakeside, passing the historic Normanton Church – see gallery. The church had been deconsecrated and scheduled for demolition at the time when the reservoir was planned. However due to public outcry, the church was rescued, the floor level raised and now stands, quite spectacularly, appearing to float on the water, on a small island. Following construction of a causeway the church is now used as a beautiful wedding venue and museum. The museum, overseen by Anglian Water is devoted to capturing the history of Rutland Water.
A welcome ice cream or other refreshments awaited walkers on arriving back at the coach. Trevor was thanked for guiding the group on today’s very enjoyable walk, across varied terrain taking in lots of the local flora and fauna.