We were cruising on new water for me. Les has been up the Leicester Arm twice but this was my first time. Rural in nature with some spectacular views between Crick and Yelvertoft, it is an extremely busy section of the cut, with a lot of hire boats on the move as well as a few share boats and private shiny boats--all racing by without slowing down. What is it with folks these days? The Canal Boat Club hire boats even have a sticker below the ignition requesting drivers slow right down when approaching and passing moored boats. Some days it is madness--the total antithesis of being on a cut. Go figure!!
It was a year ago on August 17th we received Les' cancer diagnosis, so we celebrated Les' return to good health quietly with a walk up Crack Hill overlooking the village of Crick to South and Yelvertoft to the West, reveling in the view far above the fray. We indulged in my Best Beloved's favorite summer past time: picking blackberries!
The hedgerows are loaded with an abundance of ripe fruit so come along with me--the best is yet to be! Walk with us to the top of Crack Hill and back home again...and glory in the great green and golden tapestry that is high summer in England...
|NB Valerie is all buttoned up as we walk away up the towpath.|
|This is the entrance to Yelvertoft Marina--newly built in 2010 with 150 berths, offering 23.25 miles of lock free canal to toddle along. Originally part of Flint Hill Farm, we were told by locals that the farmer is the owner of this marina.|
|We've crossed the canal at bridge 17. Farmland and low, rolling hills lay just beyond the low hedgerow of Fireweed and dried flowers on one side...|
|while the other side of the path wears a tall green fringe laden with late summer fruits and berries! Hawthorn (good for the heart muscle), and Sloes--aka Blackthorn.|
I am familiar with Spinus Prunosa as a medicinal plant and it has been used extensively for many thousands of years. You may remember the discovery of an ancient body frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991. Otzi as he was named, dated from Neanderthal times (3350-3300 BCE). Amongst his precious few belongings were found some dried sloes--medicine for his journey.
A tea from the flowers is a harmless and reliable purgative and has beneficial effects on the stomach and stimulates appetite. Recommended for mild bladder problems, skin problems, catarrh, stomach cramps, dropsy (edema), and stone formation. Juice of the berries used for inflammations in the mouth and throat. A jam made of the fruit is a palatable laxative safe especially for children. A decoction of the root bark reduces fever.
|It is amazing to me how abundantly blessed the hedgerows are in this country. Ma Nature is generous in Her fecundity.|
|A break in the hedge allows us a view of Crack Hill surrounded by golden wheat.|
|The gate up ahead marks the farmer's land and this Bridle Path and footpath are a public right of way.|
Beyond the gate, a short walk across a small grassy field bounded on three sides by Blackberry brambles and littered with Sheep scat, and we climb quickly to the rounded summit of Crack Hill.
|A lovely spot for a sunny picnic!|
|Strong man holds up the Jubilee beacon! Les looking and feeling fit and healthy.|
|The top of Crack Hill is circled by giant oaks...|
|Looking outward to the fields beyond and moving in a circle around to the right. I loved the way the lone far tree in the hedgerow was framed by the break in the trees on the Hill.|
|A close up from the hilltop, of the canal below, which curls around three sides of the hill. Beyond is a green checkerboard of fields and hedgerows that seem to roll on forever. |
|A narrow boat below cruises slowly toward the village of Crick in the distance.|
|A close up of the path from Crick village to Crack Hill and three walkers surrounded by verdant green pasture. The village church tower stands tall and proud, marking the spot where Christians have worshiped since the beginning of the Norman conquest. Off to the far right on the village pitch...|
|...a football game is in progress.|
|Between Crack Hill and the public footpath across the green pasture, another narrow boat glides slowly into view!|
|Boaters are making the most of the sunshine as another one slips by with wind Gennie's in the background.|
|Looking down on the wheat farm at the foot of the hill, it is time to start back.|
|The path down leads between two large oaks, moving through the farmer's gate. The pasture below is ringed on all sides...|
|...with blackberries! We stop and fill two containers to overflowing. It is not for nothing that one of Les' nicknames is Blackberry Biggs!|
|Off the hill, blackberries picked, we cross a low field and make for the gate...|
|beyond which is a field of sweet corn (the word corn is a generic term used by Brits for any field grain), and the path back home to NB Valerie.|
|Even though this isn't a typical kissing gate, Dear Sir is waiting to kiss me through...|
|On our way back to the cut we pass the wheat farm we saw from the hill top.|
|Yelvertoft Marina from canal bridge 17.|
|Across the bridge, down the stairs...|
|...and onto the towpath where I spotted this fuzzy caterpillar making its way toward the canal. I wonder what kind of butterfly it will become?|
|Further on past the marina this bridge bears the marks of the horse's tether in its brick facing, from the days of horse drawn boats.|
|In the galley we weigh our plump, purple booty. Five pounds!! I can see into the future and I spy Blackberry and Apple pie, Blackberry cobbler, and Blackberry and Apple Crumble.|
|A blackberry sunset bids us goodnight.|