Today we set off from Waddington, just south of Lincoln, and walked along the Lincoln Cliff.
More accurately a scarp, the Cliff is elevated approximately 80 metres above a landscape which stretches out flat for ever. The views were amazing. The sky was huge, the land went on and on, even though day was hot there was light breeze and it felt as though every breath went deeper into your lungs, as though if you stretched out your arms they’d stretch an inch or two further.
I could imagine how Etheldreda would have felt when she reached this part of the country, the excitement, the real feeling that she was nearly home.
Every mile or so there was a village. They were all pretty, all made of lovely stone, and held hidden corners and secret passages.
And names which made us squint our eyes and giggle.
In Wellingore we stopped for lunch at The Marquis of Granby. What a great pub! The staff were extremely helpful and the food good and plentiful. It had a pool table. They had water and snacks for the dog. It seemed like a proper local pub, the sort you don’t see so often these days. A pub which might be a hub in the community.
Everyone we spoke to there asked if we’d walked along the Cliff. They were proud of their Cliff – and rightly so.
Leaving the village we passed Wellingore Hall, which Johnny fell in love with and claimed as his new home.
Soon after that we reached Ermine Street.
Ermine Street is a Roman road, and one which Etheldreda may well have travelled on. It was easy to imagine the history seeping up from the ground, through the soles of your feet, to feel a connection with the past, a sense of the purpose of all the journeys that went this way. I loved the straightness, the no nonsense this is the way we’re going whatever attitude.
First it was a surfaced road.
Then a track.
It pulled you on and on.
The verges, officially a nature reserve, were filled with flowers – small scabious, greater knapweed, fairy flax, salad burnet – and Johnny was in heaven.
The miles passed quickly and we were soon at Byards Leap, our stop for the night.
There are various versions of the legend of Old Meg the witch and how she was defeated by Bayard the blind horse and his rider, the retired knight from Ancaster. In some versions Bayard is killed along with the witch, in others he vanishes. Whatever, he made a great leap from this point, and his footprints are celebrated to this day.