All the best ideas are the result of idle conversation in the pub after a run. I happened to mention that I’d always wanted to run a long distance footpath from beginning to end. Why don’t we then? The Jubilee Way from Burrough Hill to Belvoir Castle…it’s local, plenty of pubs to stop at en route. A couple of conversations in the café after parkrun garnered interest, so Matt put an advert on Facebook and much to my surprise people signed up! So we got baking and sorted out all the logistics, and on 7th August 15 intrepid striders and Mischief the dog assembled at Burrough Hill on a sunny Sunday morning, ready to take on the 21 mile route plus ~2 miles to the pub…
The trig point on Burrough Hill
The first 6 miles were along familiar footpaths to those who’ve done the Somerby outrun, but with significantly less mud – No lost shoes today! Through the woods to Little Dalby and then across the fields to Burton Lazars. Again familiar territory following a nettle-filled path across Lag Lane and into Melton Mowbray, crossing the railway line by the bridge, up the industrial estate and through the country park to Matt’s house – our first pit stop at 6 miles.
Arriving into Melton Mowbray
Anyone fancy jelly, guacamole, chocolate cake, bananas, crisps or jelly babies? There was quite a spread, and I was already hungry!! We drank plenty of water, juice and tea, topped up water bottles and headed back into the country park and along the old railway line before picking up another footpath across uneven fields full of scratchy crops and nettles. Only a minor diversion where nettles and a thorny hedge blocked the path, but we soon picked it up again. We survived the cows and soon arrived into Scalford and our second stop at Tom and Nicky’s at 9 miles.
Croissants, crisps, malt loaf, chocolate fingers and loads more cold drinks were very refreshing on such a warm afternoon. We were soon on our way again, out past the church and along a lane into the fields. Arriving into Goadby Marwood there was a group posing session outside the village hall.
Arriving into Goadby Marwood
Harvesting is in full flow with tractors and combine harvesters everywhere as we head up to Eaton and our final pit stop in the village hall car park. Fortified by Chocolate brownies, lemon drizzle cake and only a bit harassed after sitting on an ants nest, we headed out of the village and into the woods along Tofts lane.
Some undulating miles, I found it hard going for a while, but eventually we got to the top. The path followed the ridge through the woods, you could see for miles across the Vale of Belvoir! We gradually dropped down to the road and then crossed into more woodland that wound down towards Belvoir. We heard lots of shouting and rounded a corner into a human tunnel of pats on the back, which cheered us all up no end. We emerged onto the road past Belvoir castle and morale was high – we were almost there! Admittedly, we were almost there a few more times before we actually were!!!
We turned onto a path through the fields towards Woolsthorpe and could see the castle floating atop the hill above us like something out of a Disney movie. The village unfortunately preceded a steep hill behind the cricket pitch (interrupting a game as we ran past), but we reached the top and then ran up the road singing “Don’t stop me now” to the layby that marked the junction between the end of the Jubilee Way and the Viking Way.
At this point Brian decided that he wanted to run a full marathon, so he, Clive, Katie and Jon went on ahead to get an extra lap in, the rest of us adopted a more leisurely pace, taking advantage of the downhill path to the canal and the nice flat towpath that led us all the way to the Mucky Duck pub and the finish line, where we were greeted by the welcome sight of Nicky and Laura on the bridge and a pint in the lovely garden.
Welcoming home the marathon runners a few minutes later