Saints, Kings and Berners

After an evening of cider (!) and whisky at the domicile of Jonny of the Arctic and Pacific, we set off, haggard and raw on a previously reconnoitred walk on a grey Saturday. The plan was to circumnavigate the King’s Forest, setting off from Bury St Edmunds, taking in the birding hotspots of Berners Heath and Lackford Lakes on the way. Very nice, you’re thinking, but this is a cool 25 miles, and not to be messed with. Jonny kept the runkeeper app running on his phone, so we could keep a close track on our progress.


Walking along a river, we soon encountered some of the local colour, a kingfisher. There were lots of other birds around, which helped to pass the time, as I couldn’t get a word out of Jonny; he’s such a wallflower;-)

After a while, it was time to stop, but you know, when you start walking, you don’t really want to stop. You almost have to make yourself do it. Anyhow, quick coffee, and off again at a brisk pace. We encountered a lovely group of trekking ladies, who had come all the way from Thetford, but otherwise absolutely no-one else. A lunchtime stop, after about 12 miles, at the expansive Berner’s Heath was quite chilly, and within a few minutes I was feeling quite cold. There was a shy stonechat there, and a whole crop of fieldfares whirling around a curious herd of goats in amongst the bushy heather.

So after lunch the physical side of the walk begins to kick in. Any aches and pains, blisters and chafes, start to show themselves. This time I was lucky, nothing much to report except some stiffness in the left leg. This is an old recurring problem from a disc injury a couple of years ago, so to be expected. Jonny was in one piece as well, so we walked on through the beautiful grass heath to the west of the King’s Forest southward and downward towards West Stow and Lackford. Jonny gave me a sample of American native peoples’ chanting as we walked, which was nice. At Lackford Lakes, which is a splendid Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve, well worth a visit, we bought tea and cake:


When we told the nice lady what we were up to, and that we had just walked 19 miles, bless her she gave us a free mince pie!! Whoop whoop! An omen of things to come, I hope! Also at Lackford, nice wildfoul, goldeneye and goosander. Anyway, that spurred us on for the last burst, when I sang a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody fairly loudly in the gathering gloom, putting at least four golfers off their swings.

The walk ended back at Jonny Towers, tired but a great sense of achievement. What did I learn? Make sure you know where you can doo a number twooo! Thanks to Sir Rankin and Lady Fee for putting up with me:-) Last thought: If a turtle dove can fly 6000 miles in a year (or more), then I can walk 300. So could you.



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