Friday 16 October 2015

Rowbotham's Round Rotherham : 50 miles

Hello there!

This is a blog of my solo trial walk of the Rowbothams Round Rotherham.
I want to familiarise myself with the route and see if I can really do a 50 mile walk within 16 hours!  This is in preparation for (or fear of) the real event I have entered next weekend 33rd Rowbotham’s Round Rotherham on October 17th.
The reason I really want to do this particular walk is that if I complete the walk in under 16 hours then I qualify to enter next year's LDWA 100 mile event The Dorset 100, and this is almost the last qualifying 50 mile event before then.

Further down this blog you will find a embedded Radio Ballad relating to the Rotherham and Sheffield area that you can listen to The Songs of Steel. It's a brilliant and interesting album.

Rowbotham's Round Rotherham

A bit about the LDWA 
This year I joined the Long Distance Walking Association after being inspired hearing about their colossal 100 mile walking events.  Yep thats a 100 mile walk all in one blast - crazy eh!.  I went on a couple of local Yorkshire meets with them and then joined them on one of their event days - the "Elsecar Skelter" in June.   I learnt allot on that event - especially 1) how fast the club members seem to walk! 2) the least time I can spend navigating the better!.

There is a bit of a conflict here with the Wainwright devotees who might quote Wainwright's emphasis that a route should be savoured and enjoyed.  
I wonder however if Wainright developed this idea as he grew from a svelte 9.5 stone when he first moved to Kendal to a rather portly 15 stone by the age of 45. Adding to that a pipe smoking habit too, and I imagine the view was a jolly good excuse to stop for a rest! Anyway it's impossible not to love the guy!
As a compromise I keep an eye out for a good view and usually stop to take a picture so I can take a view home, and remind my flaky memory when I am old.

Ok here we go! ....

Thursday 8th October

7:00 AM
From reading about the walk it seemed a good idea to park at the Dearne College car park - later you will discover this turned out to be a really bad idea!

07:20 AM Bolton Ings

After a couple of miles of tree lined cycle tracks the view opens out nicely at Bolton Ings.   Ings is a term meaning water meadow. In reality in south and east Yorkshire these waters are the remains of once industrious open cast coal mines of the 60's and 70's. Mostly restored now forming diverse and valuable nature reserves. One of my favourites is St Aidan's Nature Reserve just a few miles southeast of Leeds. 

Industry past

This walk has many reminders of Yorkshires industrial heritage and I find quite a few tributes to the history enroute.

9:00 AM Canal (dis) Brampton

Now this is really lovely, with the canal being disused the wildlife here is thriving and I bet this would be a great place for a day's fishing.

9:15 AM Elsecar Steam Railway

The Elsecar Heritage Railway offer some interesting Footplate experiences where they let you stoke up and drive a steam train.  Yes please can I have that for my birthday :)

9:30 Onward and upward to Wentworth

Watch your speed !!

10:45 AM Wentworth Holy Trinity (Old) Church 14th Century

I would have liked to spend some time looking around the Holy Trinity Church.  I'll have come back in tourist mode.

10:50 AM Out into the countryside again

Keppel's Column is in the distance

I just had to run down this chute

11:00 AM There are a number of statues around here - I have yet to find out about them.  To me this one says Take it easy! maybe it's Wainwright ;)

10:30 AM Keppel's Column

Built in the late-18th century to commemorate the acquittal of the court-martialled Admiral Augustus Keppel after the Battle of Ushant.

11:20 AM Sheffield!

Now I am on the outskirts of Sheffield, with great planes of industrial activity in the valley of the kings. I think the black building that might be the Magna Centre, a superb place to visit.  Previously knows as Stilos (correct me if I am wrong).

If you are interested in Sheffield Steel history and folk music I would highly recommend you listen to The Songs of Steel on Spotify:

Listen and hear the Sheffield steal history  - as far at least until McGregor and Thatcher step in and shut it all down.

If you are logged into Spotify the embedded widget below this paragraph should let you listen to the album. My favourite song is 'It's Curtains', describing the yellowing of curtains from the sulphur in the air. It's a really brilliant album in my opinion.

Sadly history repeats and it's all happened again at Redcar where steel works closed down just recently this year.

11:40 The River Don! not far from Meadowhall if you fancy a walk on one shopping trip.   The river used to be filthy with terrible pollution, but now it is really beautiful. The song 'Muckey River' related to the River Don.

12:30 Treeton 

1:30 PM Rother Valley Country Park

Steak Pie and Chips for £4 at the lakeside cafe - superb! 

Look out for these!

2:30 PM I take a detour north of Hartwell as I want to check out the Chesterfield canal as I would like to have a go at the Cuckoo Way on a another trip.

Cool address

Chesterfield canal, proper narrow gauge locks

One of the loveliest canal sections I have seen

Turnerwood rail crossing

4:30 PM Woodsetts

4:45 PM Langold Country Park 

7:00 PM There were bulls in the field at Roche Abbey - I suggest avoiding them and skirting around the abbey on the A634, then rejoin the trail along Gypsy Lane.

8:00 PM Maltby 

9:45 PM I stop to chat to a hedgehog in a field - delirious I must have been I suppose.  Hedgee was so still, stunned by my torch light I think.

10:44 PM Back at Dearne College and my car - Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
16 hours 44 - not fast enough to qualify on the event day - but still I am happy with that.  The last 10 miles were tough though.

10:55 PM OMG! - the car park barrier is down and padlocked!
I looked at the bollards and measured the gap between them - yep my car should just fit between them - so wing mirrors in, and drive up onto the pavement and carefully I slip between the bollards - and home I go :)

Thank you for reading (and maybe listening the music),  please leave a comment below for me, I would love to hear them and reply to any questions.

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