Saturday, 8 March 2014

"Here's another fine mess you've gotten me into !"

Pete had informed me that it was pretty quiet on the moors at the moment. He suggested that, perhaps we should consider somewhere different for a change for our Saturday morning wander. He later sent me a text that stated "NOT MIDDLETON!"

As Middleton has not yet dried out from the floods, and we had some rain in the week, Pete was just stressing the point that he didn't fancy a mud fest.

Based on Pete's wishes, I had a great idea. Branston Gravel Pits! There had been Curlew, Ruff, Ringed Plover and other waders reported. All local year ticks, so well worth a visit.

We arrived at Branston Gravel pits and Pete, Taz and I headed for the gravel workings. A pleasant walk across a few fields and through a wooded area.

Wooded area on way in


Eventually we came to a road that intersects the gravel workings that needs to be crossed. Mud! Not just a bit of mud, but some serious mud. Deep, and quite liquid in places. Lorries passing through had sprayed some of the mud to either side of the road where it had accumulated to a depth well in excess of 12 inches. It had to be crossed, and both of us had only walking boots on. Taz was the first to make a move, and jumped into the mud with a splat! I tentatively followed. I was wearing gators, and my feet disappeared into the mud, but thankfully, it didn't come over the top of the gators. We made it to the other side, but the mud here due to lorries was deeper, carefully, we found a route through. Taz was in a right state, my boots and gators were plastered in clinging mud, Pete was still observing, not yet having attempted to cross the road, he commented "forget that."

Pete decided he would try and find an alternative route across. He said he could see a mound of gravel a little further down the road that he felt may offer a cleaner passage across. Taz and I watched him pick his way along the road side and then attempt to cross. Initially, it looked good, but not for long.

Suddenly, I saw Pete slide and lose his footing. Arms flailing in the air and legs twisting and turning. He impressively managed to stay upright amongst the mud that had enveloped his boots and was also spraying up into the air. I was obviously concerned for him, and through the laughter and tears running down my face tried to voice my concerns. For some reason, only the sound of loud mad prolonged laughter came from my open mouth.

Once Pete reached our side of the road, he was convincingly daubed in mud. I was still unable to talk coherently due to the laughter and viewing through my binoculars became difficult due to the tears. Pete may not of been quite as entertained as I was.

A bit muddy


We didn't manage a Curlew or a Ruff. Maybe the loud bangs of a shotgun in the adjacent fields, or the sound of loud prolonged hysterical laughter caused them to take flight? We did however manage two year ticks in the shape of Redshank of which there were quite a few, and a pair of Ringed Plover. Obviously, I tried to convince Pete that the unfortunate mud incident was totally worth it to tick these birds.

My interesting route around the gravel workings had lots of interesting signs to read.


Pete decided he would navigate the return route to the car. He found designated public footpaths, and bridle ways. It was easy walking and there wasn't any mud or interesting "danger of death" signs involved. It's no doubt the route we will take next time. It's a comfortable walk, I doubt it will have the same entertainment value though.

Part of the Pete's route back.

The end of another great Saturday adventure. We did find some interesting looking footpaths and walks and will be returning soon. I hope it's as entertaining as this mornings visit was.


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