Yesterday saw us complete our 9 mile sponsored walk at the start of Greyhound Awareness Week and to raise money for Action for Greyhounds UK.
I had been keeping a careful eye on the weather for the last week and realised that Sunday was going to be a scorcher so we decided to delay the start until the afternoon. After getting a lift from Annie from Action for Greyhounds in the back of her greyhound bus we arrived already hot and bothered in the sweltering heat in Aylsham at the Bure Valley Railway station. We set off at 3.40pm with Annie, her little boy and two of her greyhounds for company until we hit the Cromer road where you take your life into your hands crossing the busy Sunday afternoon traffic heading for the coast. This is the only grim bit of the public footpath, the railway line goes under the road through a tunnel and we often wonder why they didn’t make the tunnel wider and put the footpath under the road as well. We waved goodbye to Annie and set off in earnest with Tillie and Raven plodding on ahead off lead. The oil seed rape was out in brilliant yellow bloom and you could really smell the flowers. The sun however was relentless and the two dogs soon became very hot and panting heavily. After about a mile we sought refuge under a shady tree for drinks and a rest. I think the temperature was in the high 20’s and there was not a breath of wind. I was worried about doing the other 8 miles and contemplated turning back and attempting it on a cooler evening but Nigel said he would go on ahead as he thought there might be a cool stream up ahead and sure enough he returned very quickly and reported back that there was. We quickly diverted off the track and down some steps to a bubbling clear stream that was shallow and with a pebbly bottom. We all stood in the cooling waters and I soaked the dogs head to toe and thoroughly drenched them with water whereupon they immediately shook all over us. After sitting on the bank with our legs dangling in the water to cool off, we eventually roused ourselves to continue the walk. We have done this walk numerous times before and it normally takes us about 3 hours so at our present rate of knots of about 1 mile an hour it didn’t look like we would be home before midnight. However the fierceness of the sun had now subsided and some clouds were scudding across the sky so we were able to plug on. After several more short stops for drinks we reached Buxton station about half way and stopped properly for tea in the shade of a hedge by the side of a wheat field.
Tillie and Raven enjoyed yet more drink and some biscuits and a lovely lie down in the cool long grass. We had packed a carton of strawberries to eat and on retrieval from the rucksack, they had become a little squashed in transit and Nigel found himself covered in strawberry juice, however they were still delicious and very refreshing if a little flat. We then proceeded on in the glorious evening sunlight and the miles soon fell behind, passing Coltishall station and then on to Coltishall St James.
The wildflowers were out in abundance all along the walk with red poppies, red campion, stitchwort, buttercups, ox eye daisies all out in full bloom and the Hawthorn blossom was particularly beautiful. We didn’t see many other walkers but plenty of cyclists passed us on their way to either Wroxham or Aylsham and we only saw 2 trains heading back to Aylsham.
Both Tillie & Raven would suddenly dart off at speed in front of us thinking there was something interesting to chase in front only to see a blackbird or pigeon take off and desultorily flap away. At last we approached Belaugh green level crossing and we knew we were on the homeward straight. And after about 4½ hours we arrived , dusty, hungry and dishevelled back at Wroxham where Annie was there to meet us.
After all their hard work we chauffeured Tillie & Raven homewards in the dayboat where they enjoyed a short river trip back home.
After a well deserved tuna tea, we didn’t hear a peep out of either dogs until the morning!
Thank you to everyone that sponsored us on our walk and at the moment the total stands at £552 which you will agree is a massive amount.