Sunday, 25 February 2018

25/02/18 - Heart of England Way - Stage 11 - Shustoke

Distance - 7.15 Miles
Geocaches - 7
Previous Stages - Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5Stage 6Stage 7Stage 8Stage 9, Stage 10

I own lined winter trousers.  I own a Fjallraven coat designed for the worst weather that Sweden can throw at it.  I own extreme arctic mittens.  The children have been known to comment that all this is a bit much for walking the dog to fetch the paper.

However, for some reason when heading out on one of the coldest days of the year to complete the next monthly leg of the Heart of England Way, I have decided to wear the thinnest pair of walking trousers I own and a soft shell hoody.

Can't complain though, after a month of mud it nice to have frozen ground and clear blue skies.

Sunshine in Warwickshire
Early morning sunshine
We start at Shustoke, a village on the outskirts of Coleshill.  It has a resevoir, sailing club and a handy pub, The Plough.

Early walking is out into the countryside, through run down farmyards and open expanses of fields.  Some big views over Birmingham in the far distance but little to report, apart from fine walking on good paths.

Views to Birmingham
Birmingham in the far distance
Church Farm
Church End Farm, near Shustoke

Its a walk of Loops - a large loop to the south and then around the Reservoir, kept hidden by high banks.  The geocaches start in a little loop around to Whitacre running alongside several rail lines.  In a case of Health and Safety in action, the paths marked on my OS Map are rerouted for safe crossing of the lines - extending the planned 6.5 mile route by half a mile.

We record 3 DNF today, but are in good company.   The last geocacher has logged that they are not were they were a week ago.   Seems Shustoke has a phantom cache thief.

Shustoke Resevoir
A rare glimpse of Shustoke Reservoir through the trees
We arrive back at the pub at 11:45am on a Sunday morning.   In a rarity for this blog, we have a dry walk.  Mrs M wasn't prepared to hang around for 15 minutes for it to open and to be fair, no-one wants the first poured pint of the day. 

I miss out on a Cask Marque check in but do get to see the huge aviary in the car park. 

The Plough, Shustoke
Cask Marque Sign proudly displayed on the Plough at Shustoke's Door

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