The stile; it is a helpful aid
from field to field or field to road.
But do we stop and think how it was made
to take each successive ramblers load.
There are so many types to see,
some made of wood, maybe stone or slate.
One step, two step, sometimes have three.
Through walls by squeezes, saves a gate.
Each area seems to have a style.
Wooden in Leicester, Derbyshire in grit.
Across Welsh stone walls, the ladder stile
on Offa's dyke to one fit.
The early bridges with-stone slabs were made
a big advance on slippery stepping stones.
To cross dry shod and not to wade
brings happiness instead of groans.
Bridges come both small and large,
a plank to cross a ditch or stream.
A roving canal type to pass a barge.
Motorways by Girder, Truss or Beam.
Stone is used in very many parts.
Rough hewn or very neatly dressed.
The brick ones show the bricklayers arts,
with straight or spiral we are blessed.
Crossing river gorges by suspension,
held up by steel ropes or chains.
With each strand or link in tension.
A monument to mans skill and brains.
The gate it comes in many a different sort.
The wooden handgate opening wide.
A common latch that needs no thought
to let us through to the other side.
Some are fastened by nail and chain,
some by hempen string or plastic rope.
These simple fixings easy to maintain.
With finger trappers, bolts and bars we cope.
The wooden five bar is a common sight.
The double metal that's combine wide.
The modern handgate shining bright.
The kissing gate to find a bride?
So leave each gate as it was found
to keep enclosed the sheep and lambs.
With solid, strong and sturdy gates
around we have no fear of bulls or rams.
Now let us note the crops we see.
Oil-seed rape, linseed and maize,
Wheat and barley, bean and pea,
Potatoes, oats and grass to graze.
Marigolds, sunflowers and sugar beet,
A hay crop from the summer grass.
Harvest brings stubble beneath our feet;
Awaiting the plough and harrow to pass.
From the hedgerows we find the blackberry.
Apples crab and apples sweet.
Sloes and plums and even cherry
and field mushrooms beneath our feet.
From this bounty we pick and choose
the fruit that meets our taste.
In pies or tarts we cannot refuse
to let this harvest go to waste.
ODE TO LONG DISTANCE RAMBLERS
They rise from bed when the world seems quite dead
and seek remote walks to quicken their blood.
They jump in a car to travel afar
and set off to wander by sun moon or star.
They walk in the autumn when daylight is dim
and in the winter, the sun e'er so thin
They ramble in spring, birds rejoicing in song,
also in summer when days are so long
On along paths their route carefully planned,
they jump across streams with care where they land.
Ploughing through mud getting stuck in the mire
passing by stable, by barn and by byre
Pushing up slopes never giving up hope,
fighting through trees, brambles snatching at knees,
emerging forlorn, failing to laugh
moaning; why did we not stick to the path.
Onwards they push, on by thicket and bush
hearing the call of blackbird or thrush
Often through mist or in dark, murky clag
on by the bog or the dangerous crag.
Spotting the wild life on every hand,
enjoying the views be they ever so grand.
And on to the finish searching for breath,
proud in achievement but feeling like death.
Heads down in single file
Crossing both field and stile
The group, straight as an arrow
Passing over both ridge and furrow
For them it wasn’t a race
Just a walk at their own pace
More, a weekly day out
Giving their legs a shout
Well wrapped up against the cold
One, in shorts, was ever so bold !
But, for the rest, trousers and fleeces
Covered up their delicate pieces
The leader, map in hand
Espied, the lie of the land
Afar, he could see a steeple
Indicating the presence of people
There, he expected to find a pub
Walking was the aim of the club
But, its effect was first
To give everyone a raging thirst!
A walker has the need of two good feet
to roam the fields,the lanes and ways.
To have the pleasure of the friends you meet
on rambles through the rape and maize.
The crops do change from year to year,
but fields need ploughing to produce the goods.
That give the nation food and beer,
wheat and barley,beans and spuds.
All through the seasons on life’s roundabout,
we see the changing of the crops take place.
From tiny seeds the shoots do sprout,
to grow their need is water, sun and space.
Like mankind who require the same,
with the moisture of the rain and sun to heat.
We build a strong a sturdy frame,
two arms and hands,two legs and feet.
A rambler uses all these gifts so fine,
the legs and arms,the lungs and heart.
The bending,stretching of the spine
bring health and strength to every part.
So,if you wish a long and healthy life,
Rambling is the exercise to take.
It's even known to find a wife
or partner,it is your choice to make.
Near to St Margaret's Bus Station
Meets a walking group with a reputation
We hesitate to call ourselves ramblers
And we certainly aren't amblers
Nor do we do actually race
But our walks are done at a fast pace
It's rumoured in Ramblers folklore
Our feet never touch the floor.
It is true we do like to go!
In winter you can see our noses glow!
We move along, the leader map in hand
Studying the lie of the land
Occasionally, he/she is not on song
And reads the map wrong
Finding ourselves in Market Harborough
When we should be in Narborough
To join us is no big fuss
You can get there by bus
But, better still, if you've a car
You can take you us ever so far
As long as the Charity Commissioners aren't aware
We'll voluntarily pay you a fare
But beware! You'll need to be fit
And that's more than just a bit
So, as soon as you can, present your face
One Saturday, at Grafton Place.