Pete StoneOakham, England

Windmills and Mud in Oakham

Pete StoneOakham, England
Windmills and Mud in Oakham

Rustic Oakham – 23rd – 27th December 2011

The Whipper-In Hotel
Oakham in Rutland “Strolling from a little piece of old England”
Christmas 2011

Ah, my Christmas in Oakham, with eighteen others including Adam the (excellent) walk leader (mentioned later), can be summed up in a few words – walks, mud (I hear moans), gentle landscape (I hear more moans), beer and wine (cheers), food (sigh), more walking and more moaning about the mud and landscape. Yup – the British on holiday: don’t you just love (some of) ’em.

The Whipper-In Hotel, a very pleasant and welcoming hotel, is in the centre of Oakham and a couple of doors down from a great pub – the Lord Admiral Nelson. The pub was named after the famous admiral, even though he was born in Norfolk.

One highlight, from many, stands out in my memory and that was visiting the Whissendine Windmill.

Image by Kate Jewell

Now imagine all the preserved windmills you’ve visited – pristine, clean and tidy. And now imagine somebody had burst open bag after bag of clean fine flour day after day, up and down every surface on every landing – now you know why everybody with the surname Miller is called Dusty.

We were met by Nana (or Granny) Moon and upstairs could be found her son Nigel (Miller Moon) – both covered in dust because Whissendine Windmill is a working mill. She really enjoyed our visit, as did we, and could have spent hours just talking about the old days and the many, many years of grinding and producing fine flour; a lovely, and as she admitted, somewhat deaf lady. As somebody who bakes bread I was frustrated that I didn’t have room in my backpack for some flour!

If you like gentle walking (along muddy footpaths – though in winter, why are people surprised?) I recommend Oakham for Christmas.

Ah, yes, Adam our leader – well I did say he would be mentioned later.