Well, what other motivation could a girl need?
We headed into Grantham and parked in the station car park, once the bikes were offloaded and set up and MOH had almost recovered from the cost of four days parking (£44 if you're interested) we were ready for the off.
Our route today used the National Cycle Routes 15 and 64 and it was nice to cycle alongside the busy road as we left Grantham and headed towards the towpath.
We hadn't been on the towpath for long before we spotted these swans building a nest, they were quite mesmerising to watch as they intently pulled the reeds as they wanted them.
Although the towpath was quite bumpy to cycle along in places it was easy to see it's beauty even on the overcast day. Where had the sun that was beating down on our backs in the car park gone?
I'd spotted these markers soon after we joined the towpath but it took me a few to read them fully as we cycled past. Then once I had, and with the backdrop of the pretty hedgerow I knew that it was time for a photo stop. We were heading towards the Trent, but not today, first we were taking a trip to Melton Mowbray and the home of the pork pie.
We knew that at some point we'd need to cross the canal and head left towards our destination, and we knew we weren't far off that. But first there was time to stop and admire the lock. MOH said he'd not seen a lock working before, which I was shocked by - not that I've massive waterways experience but I do remember going on a boat trip on the Thames with my nan many years ago and marvelling as we went through the lock at Teddington.
But anyway, this one at Woolsthorpe was quite photogenic.
As we crossed and headed away from the canal we got our first glimpse of Belvoir Castle, high above the Vale of Belvoir.
Beautiful isn't it?
You know what a vale means don't you? Yes, hills. Because what goes down, must also go up... or something like that anyway!
This section of our route was through rolling hills and on more than one occasion I wondered why I'd chosen this route, and then I remembered the pies so carried on. Hills still aren't my favourite and I managed most of them - albeit slowly - unless I mucked up my gear change and changed up instead of down, not a smart move.
At the top of one hill I looked right and spotted a pub. Result, especially as it was lunchtime. We were in Branston and it didn't take much to convince MOH that we should stop for lunch and a pint. So we did.
While he was inside ordering food and buying some local beer, I had a wander around with the camera. It really was a pretty spot and I was quite taken with the brick outbuilding as you'll see from my photos.
The food here was good - we shared a hot pork and apple sandwich and chips. I'd say forget the chips and have a sandwich each, it was stunning, oh and the crackling, so so tasty. And then on a second wander I spotted these barrels and along with the tiled roof I thought they'd make a fab shot.
Back on the bikes we set off along quiet country lanes again, still going up and down hills with picturesque views. At one point our route took us around the edge of a field where the five sheep - two black, three white - ran towards us (do sheep run?) and then escorted us around the boundaries of their enclosure. They were probably after food, but it gave us plenty of giggles and later I wished I'd taken a picture.
It was all downhill into Melton Mowbray and that was welcome. Somehow I'd imagined a small-ish pretty village, so the bustling market town was quite a surprise. It wasn't long before we navigated our way through the daily market and found ourselves outside here, where I did the only thing I could think of and bought a pie for tomorrow's lunch.
Having had a quick look around the town we set off to find our hotel. We knew it was on the outskirts of town as the theme for the day had been up follows down neither of us were surprised to find ourselves cycling up towards Scalford and its Manor Hotel. It had one of those long sweeping gravel drives, which look and feel impressive by car. Let me tell you, it's less impressive on a bike they're hard work to cycle on!
With our bikes secured and our panniers unhooked it was time to relax and prepare for tomorrow's cycle which was set to be our longest cycle of this trip. We'd had a good day though, we'd cycled twenty five miles through some scenic countryside, eaten a fantastic lunch and tasted some fine local ale, spotted Belvoir castle and bought a pie to eat the next day.