top of page

Eagle Farm to the Swan, Salford : 0.89 Miles.

4 September 2021: 1 day.

Introduction

I was never going to claim to have walked an unbroken loop around parts of England and Wales without finishing my walk of day 54. To recap, I was walking from Ivinghoe to Oakham and my second day's walk was dur to take me from Heath and Reach to Astwood. I had taken a wrong turn in Woburn Golf Club and so was already quite tired by the time I arrived at what should have been the bridge that crossed the A421 and M1. Unfortunately, the first part of the bridge, over the A421 had been demolished and I was stopped in my tracks. The demolition contractors were less than helpful in suggesting how I might cross the road so I backtracked and tried to find an alternative footpath. At this point I discovered that Bedfordshire County Council had applied temporary closure notices to all footpaths in the local area, meaning that the only way to cross the two roads was to take a 5 miles detour. I had neither the energy, nor the time, to do that. Fortunately for me a member of the construction team was sitting in his van enjoying his lunch. I asked him if he could suggest where to cross and he confirmed that it wasn't possible. He did however kindly offer to drive me back to his worksite on the other side of the highways. I accepted his offer and after being dropped off, walked the mile or so to arrive at The Swan pub in Salford: some three quarters of a mile from where I had been turned back.

After a light lunch at the Swan I continued on to Astwood, but my walk for that day and hence the entire 'Ramble' was incomplete.

I wanted to complete the walk in the company of my wife and two sons but it proved very difficult to find a weekend when we were all available. Finally we managed to settle on early September. Kym and I spent Wednesday and Thursday, our 33rd wedding anniversary, in London and enjoyed a meal with the lads and their partners on our anniversary.

We then drove to Bedfordshire and checked in at the delightful Carrington Arms in Moulsoe. The boys and their partners travelled up after work on Friday and we had another great meal together in the pub.

DSC04918.JPG
DSC04912.JPG

The 'Support Crew' outside The Carrington Arms

Unfortunately Joe's partner, Jess, had to leave on Saturday morning but the four of us and Tom's partner Freddie stayed on in Moulsoe until Sunday lunchtime. This allowed me to plan a walk that took in the 'last leg' of Richard's Ramble. 

 We set off across the fields from The Carrington Arms and made for Salford, taking care not to pass the Swan. After we were thwarted from taking my planned route because of a blocked bridal way we ran the gauntlet of some reassuringly docile long horned cattle just outside the village.

IMG-20210907-WA0000.jpg

Long horns outside Salford

After a loop out across horse padocks we walked parallel to the M1 back to the newly built bridge.

IMG_20210904_143212228_HDR.jpg

Horses outside Salford

We crossed the bridge 'the wrong way' to bring us to the point at which I had been turned back. It was time to walk the last leg of Richard's Ramble.

Various photos were taken to mark the start of what was to be less than a mile of walking to 'bridge the gap'. Freddie played the motivational song 'The Final Countdown' on her phone and I set off across the twin highways.

DSC04922.JPG
DSC04921.JPG
DSC04923.JPG

On his 'Last Leg(s)'

As we crossed the bridges I explained to Joe that I had tried to find a way to walk across the roadways themselves but on seeing the volume of traffic my detour had probably been the safer option.

DSC04925.JPG

The M1 and the A421

After only a hundred yards or so I realised that only the A421 bridge had been demolished and re-built. The bridge over the M1 was still the original one. This meant that my detour, failure to finish the entire circular walk at St Bees and my need to arrange this weekend was all as a result of a missing 100 yard stretch.

The walk to Salford took us a short way past fields and as the deafening sound of the Motorway receded we came to the Willowford Hotel and its 'Truly Scrumptious Tea House'. An event was in full flow in the attractive garden, attended by a crowd of well dressed ladies. We walked on past and between the first houses that formed the small village of Salford.

DSC04926.JPG

The last few yards

I recognised the Church Hall on our right as we approached the final bend to the pub and my 'official photographers' went on ahead to record the final few steps. Rounding the corner I got my first view of The Swan since eating there on 3 June 2019. A few more steps and that was it: I had joined up my 'Ramble'. To the mileage of 1228.76 recorded to St Bees I could now add 0.89 miles, making a grand total of 1229.56 - call it 1230 miles!

DSC04928.JPG

The End!

IMG-20210907-WA0012.jpg

Celebrating 1230 miles (and looking like it too)!

IMG_20210907_165200650_edited.jpg

Afterward

We toured the garden of the pub trying to decide where to enjoy this unseasonably warm early September afternoon. Settling on a wooden table on the lawn we ordered drinks and toasted the completion of 'Richard's Ramble'. Having not eaten since breakfast we then ordered food, which was delicious. After another drink or two, Freddie insisted on paying for the meal: a very generous gesture given that this weekend was supposed to be on Kym and me. (We will get you back Freddie!)

DSC04929.JPG

The 'Last Leg Team'

Feeling well fed and watered we set off down the lane out of Salford then followed the Milton Keynes Boundary walk that I had taken in 2019. This took us through pleasant recently cut wheatfields and along lovely green lanes bounded by hedges. We saw a profusion of blackberries and huge sloes.

The lanes gave way to paths beside ploughed fields and I spied the topiary chicken that I had photographed two years ago at Ley's Farm on the horizon. The final mile of our walk took us along the Cranfield Road and back to Moulsoe. We had walked around 10 miles today, including the .89 that counted towards my total.

DSC04936.JPG

Ley's Farm Chicken

And that's it. 1230 miles done but so much more to do. Thoughts turn to The Thames Path, completion of which would turn the Richard's Ramble map rectangle into something resembling a capital letter Q. I've also considered extending the walk south from the Severn Crossing to Lyme Regis and south from Ivinghoe to Brighton and then joining those two points to create a figure '8' on the map.

Thanks for reading and......Watch this space!

bottom of page