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Probus Walk 7th December 2022


It was a very cold but sunny morning as twelve intrepid walkers plus dogs Bonnie and Max assembled on the car park at the Ashby Arms in Hungerton. Promptly at 10.00 am, we set off for a 6k circular walk, through the village and out into the countryside. We soon reached a rather muddy stretch which was navigated without incident as we entered a grass field. At this juncture our two navigators, Susan and Mike Stephens were at odds as to which route to take.  Fair to say the confusion could have been caused by the decision that morning to reverse the route of the walk.  Susan and the other ladies were in the lead and continued determinedly across the fields towards the Hungerton road, we followed. Whilst we were on the planned route a slight deviation from the original plan had occurred!  Walking along the road we reached Whites Barn where two further canine friends decided to join us as we continued along the Hungerton road. These two collies were determined to stay with us, ignoring the whistling from their owner. Eventually said owner drove up in his 4x4, presumably to pick his dogs up. Oh no- he drove further on turned round and got the dogs, reluctantly at first, to follow him back to Whites Barn. Shortly after this we turned off the road and stopped by a field gate with splendid views over to Billesdon Coplow. Here we enjoyed a very tasty winter warming libation and mince pies kindly supplied by Susan and Mike. The picnic basket had been secreted earlier in the day by them. Continuing across the fields we reached Quenby Hall where we observed a considerable amount of building work in the garden in front of the Hall. We walked the length of the tree lined approach road to the Hall then joined the footpath down to Hungerton. We had our only slip and fall along this stretch, no damage incurred by Gordon. We arrived back at the pub by 12.15 pm, divested ourselves of walking gear and entered the pub for a well-earned drink before lunch while we waited for another six lunchers to join us. Susan Stephens couldn’t stay as she had to attend a check-up following her recent cataract operation. During our very well presented and tasty lunch we engaged ourselves in a Christmas Quiz which was won by Susan and Chris Mitchell. Once again a very enjoyable outing spent in excellent company.

Richard Ward






Despite a rather gloomy weather forecast, the morning was sunny when seven walkers met at the Tollemache Arms car park – Charles Stewart and Bonnie, Richard Ward, David Mitchell, Mike Stephens, Patrick Holligan and the walk leader, Martin Waddington. Also joining us for the walk and for lunch was Mike’s relative, Sandy from Edinburgh.

Bonnie was straining at the leash and seemed to be particularly keen to get started, so we left the car park promptly at 9.45 a.m., to walk through a large gate and entering the large field leading down to the open countryside.

We soon passed the distinctive mounds in the next field, which are known as ‘The Falls’ and were the grounds of the ancient Harrington Hall. Having surmounted a rather tricky stile leading to the next field we walked to the far corner in warm sunshine, but looking back, were dismayed to find that there was no sign of Charles or Bonnie. We waited for a time and then spotted Charles coming towards us, but without Bonnie. It transpired that she had turned tail and had run all the way back to the car park. As Charles remarked: ‘it was the shortest walk Bonnie had made for a long time’.

We continued along the field pathway, and climbing up a long hill, eventually had fine views of Arthingworth, and the church in the distance. Descending the next field, we reached the bridge over the river, where we had an opportunity for a photo of the group.

Having reached the road at Arthingworth we took the quiet road leading out of the village and were now rewarded with a slightly easier pace on the firm surface. There were some steep ascents, but after a time we reached the top of the hills to stop for our traditional refreshment break, where the coffee and pre-Xmas mince pies were enjoyed by all. We had long views across the valley from this point. By now, the sun had disappeared and the wind was starting to blow., so we decided to head for Harrington before we were assailed by any wet weather.

The road was now straight and mainly downhill, from where we could see the village of Harrington in the distance nestling between the trees. Despite a rather long uphill drag to the pub car park, we finally returned shortly after 12.00 noon and had time for an enjoyable drink before sitting down to our meal. We had good food and excellent service from our attractive landlady, who was able to give to us a history of the Tollemache family and the ownership of a substantial part of the land we had walked across during the morning.

It was a pleasure to have our guest walker Sandy, who enjoyed chatting to us as we progressed. He was impressed by the large number of pubs which were available to us in England and thanked us all for an enjoyable walk and meal afterwards.


Martin Waddington



Probus Walk Report, 11th October 2022

On a fine sunny morning, six walkers – Richard Ward, Mike Stephens, Patrick Holligan, David Mitchell, Gordon Squires and our leader, Martin Waddington, met in the car park of the Fox and Pond, Great Glen. The walk had been rearranged from Saddington, as the Queen’s Head pub was closed.


We walked up to Great Glen Gorse Golf Club and followed along the footpath adjoining the course. As we progressed, we spotted a magnificent property in the distance, ‘Jaisalmur House’, believed to be owned by Keith Vaz. We had fine views across the fields, obstructed only by the continuous hedge along the path.


We soon arrived at a sign for a newly constructed walk, St Wistan’s Pilgrimage Walk’, the details of which were read to us by Martin – an annual pilgrimage of the route along which the body of St Wistan was taken, following his violent death in 849 A.D. The route of our path then followed this walk for a considerable distance.


Upon reaching open countryside, the views opened up and upon reaching the bottom field we spent some time watching men at work – a large tractor unloading bags of grain on to a trailer. At the same time, two ladies approached and asked for directions to Newton Harcourt, which we willingly gave, Mike asking them to save a cake for us when they had arrived.


The fields were free of cattle – Bonnie would have had a great run about here.


Having reached the woods at the hill overlooking Newton Harcourt, we stopped for our traditional refreshment break, which included cups of coffee and early Xmas mince pies for all. The skies were so clear that we had distant views across the fields and spent some time trying to guess the villages far away in the distance.


We then retraced our steps to a path leading across ploughed fields, before reaching the busy A6 road. This was successfully negotiated through gaps in the traffic and we then walked through gentler pasture land to reach the only stile of the whole walk. This proved to be quite an obstacle, as the gate was heavily padlocked, but with a bit of support and a few nifty manoeuvres we all managed to get over the stile and safely on to the footpath to the pub.


We enjoyed good service and an excellent lunch afterwards at the Fox Pond, to leave at approx. 1.45 pm.


Martin Waddington



Probus Walk Report, 7th September 2022


The Old Black Horse Car park in Houghton on the Hill was the assembly point for seven Probus Walkers and Bonnie on Wednesday. The morning was dry, bright but with a cool breeze. Organiser Chris Mitchell briefed us on the luncheon arrangements prior to our departure at 9.45 am. Unfortunately for Mike Stephens, prawns were no longer available!

Leaving the High Street and entering Scotland Lane Chris pointed out the ancient wattle and daub wall on our left. We then entered a narrow and winding path which led us to the A47 Uppingham road. We crossed the road and shortly afterwards turned onto Redvers Farm Drive and out into the countryside. We were following the route of the Loros Boxing Day Walk- some of the walkers having been on those outings.

As on many previous occasions we commented on how fortunate we are to be able to walk and enjoy this very attractive part of the County. We crossed the track bed of the long-abandoned railway line to Skegness and passed West End Farm before joining Snows Lane in Keyham. It was now sunny and warm and sweaters and outer layers were being shed. Crossing a style and walking downhill over a well-maintained paddock, we crossed a stream and then walked steadily up towards Covert Lane. On reaching the lane we stopped for a refreshing drink of orange and a Penguin Bar, courtesy of Chris.

The final lap section of the walk took us along a footpath through a wood, crossing the old railway line again, skirting New Ingarsby Farm and back to the A47. Carefully crossing this busy road, we entered a bridle road, crossed some fields which eventually led us back into Houghton.

Into the pub for a well-earned drink and to meet Andrew Gill and John Fox who had joined us for lunch. We were delighted to see John as it was some considerable time since he had been able to join us. Despite the somewhat disorganised situation in the pub, they were without a chef, Chris had ensured that we were able to enjoy fish and chips and a small selection of what turned out to be very nice sandwiches.

An excellent 5.5 mile walk which was enjoyed by all of us.

Richard Ward






































Probus walk report, 3rd August 2022


It was a warm and humid morning as six Probus Walkers assembled on the Langton Arms car park for the August walk organised by Charles Stewart. We set off just after 9 30 am across, first fields and then along the road to East Langton. Crossing the Thorpe Langton Road, we headed into East Langton. We skirted the very attractive cricket field and it was heartening to see a number of young people on the field preparing to practice. Leaving the village, we joined part of the Leicestershire Round which took us to the road south of Thorpe Langton.

We re -joined the Leicestershire Round after leaving the village and just north of the village we had to cross a ford. At this juncture we met two lady walkers who, waiting for us to cross first, greeted us with “Age before beauty”. We couldn’t disagree!  Shortly afterwards we met a lady out walking her dog, the sight of whom brightened our morning - that is the lady not the dog.

Leaving the Leicestershire Round we avoided having to climb the Caudle and stopped for welcome refreshments provided by Charles. Resuming our walk, we continued towards Stonton Wyville. During this phase of the walk David Michell was stung on his ear by a wasp. Commiserations were proffered by his fellow walkers but it was noted that it is a very rare occurrence for a lawyer to be ‘stung’.  Before the village we turned onto the Cranoe road. Eventually turning off the road we joined a footpath walking over fields towards Church Langton.


We arrived back at the pub at 12.00 noon ready for a refreshing drink and a good meal. David Caines could not stay for lunch as he was going home to meet, he hoped, a BT Engineer. However, we were pleased to have Andrew Gill joining us for lunch. Once again, a very enjoyable morning spent in excellent, and as ever entertaining company.

Richard Ward



Probus walk report – Wednesday, 6th July 2022

Eight sturdy walkers met in the car park of the Queens Head, Billesdon, in overcast conditions. We were invited by our leader, David Mitchell, to walk up to his new home in the village and, chez David, to enjoy a tasty bacon cob and a cup of coffee, before setting off across the fields.

We found the crops and undergrowth were substantial, providing us with a challenge in the earlier parts of the walk. The stiles were also challenging, making us use the limbs we had not used for months. Fortunately, our resourceful leader was well prepared for every eventuality and had brought with him a pair of clippers to cut away any offending twigs and brambles which barred our way.

Charles managed to lift Bonnie over the stiles, even when once faced with some fierce liking cattle. As we progressed, we arrived in open spaces and pathways, and were able to enjoy the warm sunshine which had briefly emerged.

We reached a large ditch, which appealed greatly to Bonnie, but it was agreed that it was too steep for her, so she reluctantly continued behind us. David treated us to a well-earned snack by the Chestnuts, before we began our homeward journey.

On arriving at Billesdon, we decided to divert for a pleasant walk by the Billesdon Woodland Pool – a peaceful and tranquil spot so close to the village. We returned to the Queens Head in time for an enjoyable lunch, where we were joined by Andrew Gill. My i-Phone recorded 14,941 steps and the distance was 8.7 kilometres.

An excellent morning was enjoyed by all, with thanks to David for his fine hospitality and organisation.

Martin Waddington



Probus Walk 1st June 2022

At 9.00am on Wednesday 1st June six intrepid walkers met on the car park at the Stilton Cheese in Somerby. Prior to the start of the walk we pre-ordered our lunch  from the lovely Lynn who had various menus available  for our perusal.

We set off, on schedule, the weather was cool but fairly sunny but most importantly dry. As we left the village, we discovered that we now had a small, furry companion, a very friendly, terrier sized dog. He stayed with us as we crossed the fields despite our attempts to send him back. On reaching the road, which is a pretty busy one, he was obviously not road trained. We could not get hold of him. A young lady pulled up, worried she might run him over. She said if we could catch him, she would take him back to Somerby. In the meantime, David Mitchell had walked back to the field we had recently left accompanied by the dog. On seeing something he recognised said dog headed back towards the village. When David re-joined us, normal service was resumed!

We continued around the edge of Pickwell on a farm track eventually joining a bridleway/ footpath which took us into the Borough Estate. This was a steady uphill climb leading to some excellent views over the Leicestershire countryside. As we walked, we could hear skylarks singing above us. As we approach the road which would lead us into Cold Overton we met a lady who was about to start a walk with her dog. We spent an entertaining ten minutes or so with this, very lively lady, musing, amongst other topics, about the sort of male companion she would like. There were no offers forthcoming.

On reaching Cold Overton we started the return leg by descending a hill to the edge of a wood. Here we took a break for light refreshments and the obligatory group photograph. Continuing through the wood we entered a large plantation of trees planted by the owner of the nearby Gates Nursery. A series of styles, some in poor repair, now challenged us on the last part of the walk. We returned to the Pub at noon having walked for 5.5 miles and eager to slake our thirsts and enjoy the previously ordered lunch.





Walk: Wednesday, 4th May 2022


Probus Walk 4th May 2022

Heavy rain showers encountered on the way to the Bell Inn in Gumley did not bode well for the May walk organised by Patrick Holligan. However, by the time the six walkers and Bonnie had ‘kitted up’ ready for the 9.30 am start the showers had ceased and the walk was rain free. We were pleased to welcome Philip Parkinson to   the walk, a prospective new Wyvern Member.

The walk, scheduled for about five miles, took us down the hill from Gumley before heading across the fields to Foxton Locks. Having Crossed the swing bridge, we reached the Grand Union canal path and set off for Debdale Wharfe. As we walked, we admired some of the moored canal boats – a few that were obviously lived on. Just before the Wharfe Patrick found a bench where we stopped to enjoy coffee, Jaffa cakes and kit cats. Bonnie, as is her wont, presented the walkers with a stick, urging us to throw it onto the canal for her to retrieve. We tired before she did! On one occasion David Mitchell, at the risk of falling in, retrieved the stick for Bonnie!

With, a shivering Bonnie now drying out,  we continued along the canal path, past the Marina, end eventually crossed the canal into the fields. We continued walking towards Debdale Lane, passing the Debdale Cattery on our left. It was along this stretch that Richard’ came a cropper’, tripping over an obstacle in the grass and falling flat on his face – no damage done!

We walked along Debdale Lane, leaving it to skirt the Copse and headed back to Gumley. We encountered some horses on the way - discovering that one had a liking for polo mints.

The Bell offers a very good selection of beer enabling the thirsty walkers to enjoy refreshing pints before sitting down to a very nice pub lunch.

Richard Ward


Walk, 6th April 2022

It was a breezy and dry morning, despite a forecast of rain, as seven walkers and Bonnie met at the Bull Inn in Arthingworth. We went in and pre-ordered our lunches before being briefed on the walk by the Organiser David Caines. David showed us three alternative routes that he had surveyed - allowing for different weather and ground conditions. We were all impressed by his exemplary preparation and set off shortly after 9.30 am.

The route of approximately five miles was mainly on quite rural roads until we reached the edge of Great Oxendon. Along the route we had enjoyed excellent views of the country side looking over towards Braybrooke and in the distance the outskirts of Market Harborough.  We then entered a grass field which took us down over the Oxendon Tunnels to the Brampton Valley Way which is essentially the disused railway track bed.  Stopping at a handy bench, quickly occupied by Mike Stephens, we enjoyed coffee and Kit Kats supplied by David.

We then had a choice of three alternative routes back to Arthingworth, eventually deciding to take the middle route as rain was threatening. Leaving the old railway track we walked across grass fields that showed evidence of ancient ridge and furrow cultivation. On reaching a bridge over the River Ise Bonnie was quickly into the water, encouraging us to throw sticks in for her to retrieve!

We arrived at the Bull as the Church Clock struck twelve noon, bang on schedule. After some liquid refreshment we enjoyed a well-cooked Pub lunch. During lunch the heavens opened and the threatened rain poured down. Much in evidence by the large pools of water we encountered on our way back to Market Harborough. (Photos by Martin Waddington.)

Richard Ward





Walk Report, 2nd March 2022


Unusually for a Probus walk the morning was grey and wet as ‘we few’ met on the carpark of the White Horse in Birstall. I say we few as unfortunately our leader for the day Chris Mitchell was struck down by illness and Patrick Holligan was marooned at home with a flat car battery!  Gallantly, Chris met us to hand over the walk route map and the ‘elevenses’ to Charles Stewart. Chris then drove home to retire to his sick bed. Now led by Charles, Brian Marlowe, Mike Stephens, Richard Ward and Bonnie Stewart set out on a circular walk through Watermead Park. The Park is an attractive area  encompassing, in parts, the river Soar, the Grand Union canal and large lakes created in former gravel extraction pits.


The rain was a faint drizzle, not a problem, and the walk was entirely on paved surfaces.  We lost count of the number of people we met who were out, exercising their dogs, of all makes and sizes!  Bonnie introduced herself to a few of them but all were on their best behaviour. The park has  large number of resident swans which, on couple of occasions, Bonnie decided to challenge but withdrew before any contact was made. At one point we passed the fossilised remains of some unfortunate walkers, from years gone by, who evidently had encountered major  problems! (see photo).


Approximately halfway round we stopped by canal bridge 46 to sample a tot or two of Baileys and a Kit Kat. We then continued the walk with the ever-present hum of traffic on the A46 bypass in the background. We arrived back to the White Horse at noon and having divested ourselves of boots and waterproofs repaired to the pub to enjoy a welcome pint and a tasty lunch.


Richar Ward


Walk Report, 2nd February 2022

It was a dry but breezy morning when 6 Wyvern Probus members, dog  Bonnie Stewart and a guest, Gordon Squires, met on the car park of the Fox Inn in Hallaton. Chris Mitchell resplendent in his new bright anorak – a Christmas Present.

Under Charles Stewart’s guidance we set off promptly at 10.00 am along the Goadby road, passing a new housing development on the edge of the village. Shortly afterwards we came across a ground source heat pump installation. David Caines was soon in conversation with installers discussing the merits of air-sourced as opposed to ground-source heating.

As we continued the walk - to our left we had a fine view of the Hallaton Motte and Bailey Castle These castles were introduced by the Normans and Hallaton’s is the finest example of its type in Leicestershire. It is likely that it was the administrative centre of an estate owned by Geoffrey Alselin and is described in the Domesday Book.

Eventually we left the road and started to cross several fields with superb views over the Leicestershire countryside.  At what Charles decided was an appropriate spot we stopped to enjoy and appreciate Charles’s homemade liquor which made a fine accompaniment for the Kit Kats! Joining a bridleway we turned south heading back towards the Goadby Road. On reaching the road we found our way blocked by a locked gate topped with grease! No way over!  Bonnie had found her route to the road through the shrubbery so we, with some difficulty, followed her lead! (See picture.) A walk back along the road led is to the Fox a few minutes before noon.

Preceded by a refreshing pint we enjoyed a very pleasant pub lunch.

Richard Ward





On a very cold, but sunny morning we assembled on the car park of the Bradgate Arms pub for our first walk of 2022. The walkers were our leader, Mike Stephens, Brian Marlow, Patrick Holligan, Charles Stewart, David Mitchell, Chris Mitchell, Martin Waddington and Bonnie the dog.

Apologies had been received from Richard Ward who had to visit the dentist, but joined us later for lunch.

We started in fine form, but two of us missed the exit lane up the hill on the right and had to be called back to join the group climbing the lane. We soon found that the underfoot conditions were very muddy and our boots soon lost their pristine starting polish.

When we reached the turn at the top field a friendly woman farmer, with a fine Alsatian dog, called us to ensure the gate was closed, as there had been occasions when it was left open and her dog had escaped from the farm.

We soon reached the corner of the wood and our athleticism was then tested by climbing over some high wiring before emerging into a field with fine views over the open countryside.

We walked down into the valley and beyond, blissfully unaware of the drama that was about to hit us. In one of the far fields, we looked back to see in the distance the figures of Charles and Chris disappearing up the hill in the opposite direction. We soon leaned that Bonnie was lost and they were having to retrace their steps to try and find her.

The remaining five continued to eventually find the hamper, carefully hidden by Mike in the hedgerow by a road, where we stopped for refreshments. Whilst there we met the local warden, who took details from us in case he came across Bonnie. David managed to make phone contact with Chris and still no sign of Bonnie, so he nobly volunteered to return and try to find her.

We were then reduced to four of our original seven walkers. We continued to Groby Pool, where a lady kindly took photos of the remaining walkers, and then took the scenic route through the fields back to the Bradgate Arms. The weather was fine and sunny throughout.

When we arrived at the pub, it was great relief that Charles was able to confirm that Bonnie had been found safe and well and had been handed in to the local vet by a couple. She was in a fit state and was no worse for her experience of freedom. She was apparently found quite close to the pub, and appeared to be finding her way back to the car.

In the pub at lunch there followed a series of puns about Bonnie’s dogged determination in finding her way back and having been collared by the couple who found her. Overall, there was a sense of great relief, but decided to leave Charles to explain to Sue how Bonnie had managed to escape his watchful eye!

Thanks to Mike for organising a very interesting and refreshing walk on what turned out to be such an eventful day.

Martin Waddington

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