Tyneham deserted village

I noticed whilst doing some googling that in the local army firing range that there is a village that was abandoned during the war. According to [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyneham] wikipedia : “Tyneham is a ghost village and former civil parish, now in the civil parish of Steeple with Tyneham, in south Dorset, England, near Lulworth on the Isle of Purbeck. In 2001 the civil parish had a population of 0. The civil parish was abolished on 1 April 2014 and merged with Steeple to form Steeple with Tyneham.” At Christmas 1943 the army requisitioned the village and moved the villagers out.

The village is only open at the weekends so we decided that we should go and have a look while we could. The road to the village is quite remote and narrow, but there are plenty of passing places, which are needed.

We parked up and and paid the voluntary £2 donation. The Purbeck marathon was passing through, it seems like quite a tough one as the hills are very steep in the area, Tyneham was at mile 15. We looked around the abandoned buildings which were mainly centered around a farm. Most of them have lost their roofs, but there are information boards explaining the buildings and the people that lived and used the buildings.

We then took a walk down to a Warbarrow Bay, where I climbed up the pointy hill call Warbarrow Tout and got a good view of Cow Corner. They have some great names for landscape feature in these parts.

Back in in Swanage town we watched the runners finishing the marathon. I had an ice cream and we had a look around the slot machine arcade. They are not what they used to be like.

Roughtor, Brown Willie (snigger) and other Tors

Helen wanted a day pottering around at the local beach so I took the opportunity to go for a long walk. The other day when we passed Camelford I notice a high pointy hill, it turns out it was either Brown Willy or Roughtor the two highest peaks in Cornwall. Bodmin Moor upon which both are, is a granite moorland, and a fair chunk of it is open access land, meaning that you can walk where ever you like, although they prefer you to keep to the waymarked paths.

There is a car park at the end of a lane fairly close to the bottom of Roughtor, so the start was a rude awakening, after a very short down hill the path heading directly up towards the summit. I overtook a few people on the way, my regular walking in the Chilterns paying off. At a saddle in the hill I took a left turn and checked out Showery Tor my first of the day. The path to Roughtor was relatively flat from the lower Tor, but then kicked up towards the summit. There were some natural standing stones at the top , and a cairn but no trig point that was reserved for Brown Willie.

I chatted to a guy having a coffee break and asked a bout the route to Brown Willie, his route would have had me retracing my steps. I could see a path up the highest tour in the bottom of the valley, so I headed down off piste. I found a path at the bottom an a steep path heading up. So far I had climbed 120m to get up Roughtor then descended 110m to get the the bottom of Brown Willie, I now had another 120m to the top of the highest peak. The hill was taking its toll on my leg muscles.

At the summit of Brown Willie there is again standing stones, and a cairn, but there is also a trig point. In the hole in the middle of the trig point I found a metal cross on some string. It took some effort to fish it out because the hole was smaller than my hand. After some research I found out it was an Icelandic Wolf Cross. I put it back where it came from and put a rock in the hole to cover it.

The next (and longest part) of the walk had me heading south west to Butter’s Tor then West to Garrow Tor. I passed an enclosure called King Arthurs Hall then the hamlet of Candra and about a half mile later I turned North East to take in Alex Tor. Down from this last Tor I picked up a track heading East for a couple of miles which I then left to head north round the base of Rough Tor, for anther mile and a bit back to the car park.

By the time I had finished I was knackered, but it was not the distance it was the ascent and descent that had tired me out. It was well worth the effort as I had spent most of the day not seeing a soul in the wide and open landscape, very different to where I normally get to walk.

The Ridgeway – Wantage to Goring

I planned an early start, not not as early as it ended up. I wake at 5 and finally gave in and got up about 05:30, which meant I left the house at 06:00 on the dot. The roads were clear and I made it to Goring station by 07:00 in good time to board the 07:07 to Didcot Parkway. The train only had two carriages and after a few people got off that left just me and another person on the train.

I was the only person to alight at Didcot Parkway I went out the front of the station to orient myself, there was a taxi so rather than messing with a bus then a taxi I took the bird in the hand and waited for a taxi. One arrived dropping off but would not take my fare the next one said I would have to call his number. Weird I thought,  but he explained that he was not licensed to use the taxi rank only pre-arranged trips. I got my phone out and before I could unlock it he said he would give me a fare any way. At one point he got on the A34 he had misunderstood my destination when I said the ridgeway just outside Wantage, he thought I meant Ridgeway a village nearby. I asked why he was going on the A34 we figured out the problem and he said he would only charge me for normal fare to Wantage. By the time we got to the Ridgeway the fare was £40 but he only charged me £30. It can be expensive this walking lark.

The drop off suited me because I was already high up it had saved me a hard slog up hill. It was quiet at first but after 09:00 there were mre walkers and cyclists. Also a few motor vehicles, 4×4’s and motor bikes, but no more than 10 all day.  Eventually I had to drop down because the path goes under the A34. The place is surrounded by land used as gallops, and I saw a few horses being exercised in the distance.

According to a mural in the tunnel under the A34 East Isley is famous sheep but not wool spinners. It was my destination in the hope of getting some lunch. It was a 1.5 mile detour of the path but I figured worth it. Because of my early start I was going to get there for 11:00, which meant only the Swan would be open. I got there but it turns out they do not do food till 12:00 so I had two packets of crisps and a half of bitter. It sat in the shade as it was getting ht in the sun.

The path rises for about 4 miles then slowly descends towards Streatley. When you get close there are some very nice houses in the last couple of miles, and the last mile and a half are on the pavement of busy roads. At Streatley I stopped to get some pictures of the buttercups which were in full bloom. I grabbed some cakes from the delicatessen to share with  Helen when I got home.

Considering I had walked 16 miles and the early start meant I was finished by 15:00 an home by 16:00. Last year when I was walking the Thames 16 miles would have been a struggle, but although I felt I had walked a long way I could have walked further if need be.

The Ridgeway – Ashbury to Letcombe Bassett

Time to get back to the Ridgeway, after a few months of absence. I plotted the next 12 miles from Ashbury and determined that Letcombe Bassett and therefore Wantage would be the best place to leave the car. 12 miles would be tough as it was my first walk of that distance for a while and also there were no coffee stops or cafes on the route. One of the downsides of the Ridgeway is that it does not really go through many villages or towns near them but hardly ever through them.

I left the house at 08:10 dropped Helen up the road and headed to Wantage, ignoring the Sat Nav and going south of Oxford to get to the A34. I was hoping the rain/drizzle would stop by the time I got to Wantage but it had now. I sought out a shop to get some cheap waterproof trousers, and found some for £7 on the market. I suspect the vendor could have applied surge pricing as it was the type of inundation that makes you really wet. I grabbed a coffee in Costa to get my bearing and figure out how to get to Ashbury. Uber said there were no cars available so I wandered over to the local taxi rank. An old man seemed to be headed the same way so I held back rather than grabbing the only taxi waiting.

It wasn’t long before a taxi turned up, the driver was not very talkative and when he was he mumble quietly, so there wasn’t much conversation, he dropped me at the top of the hill where the Ridgeway crosses the B4000, which saved me having to walk up it from Ashbury. I headed off down the path the rain continued and I realised that I wold have to put the waterproofs on if I wanted to stay slightly dry.

The walk was pretty uneventful to start with but there were some ancient monuments to take a look at Wayland’s Smithy was the most interesting and the only one where I came across anyone else out having a look. I plodded on and passed a trough with a tap and a notice that said the was was fit to drink and that it was to celebrate the life Peter Wren who loved the countryside. I had a drink to save the water I was carrying. We need more taps like that in the countryside, to go with the benches you sometimes come across. Both would be very welcome on a long walk.

Eventually I came across a lady on a bicycle followed by three dogs, she stopped and told me an old dog was lagging behind a bit. About a quarter of a mile later I came across a setter who looked like he was on his last legs, it was all he could do to lift his head to look at me while he plodded past. next up was another lady and a dog this time both were on foot. The lady explained that she trying to keep off the slippery chalk, however she was running out of grass and was in danger and slipping down, I offered here a hand down but she said thank but no thanks so I left here teetering on the edge of a grass patch.
not many people Old dog

A couple of 4×4 drove up and 4 men with fluorescent orange flags got and walks across a field down to the valley. There were small sections of corn growing they clearly were running a shoot for pheasants, which were quite numerous in the area. Finally I arrived at Letcombe Basset, but unfortunately there was no pub so I settle for a bench at a junction. It had stopped raining for a while so I took the opportunity to take my waterproofs off to let my now slightly damp jeans dry out. While I was doing so a man drove out out of a parking space then moved his van into the vacated space then drove off in the car. Between each move he left a vehicle blocking the highway, there was no traffic.

The walk to Letcombe Regis was along a road because I missed a turning for a foot path, I tough someone had blocked the entrance but studying the maps more closely a complaint would not be necessary as google streetview allowed me to see where the foot path entrance was that I missed. In the village there was a big retirement complex which was run by Bupa. It was quite well done and I guess catered for all sorts of retired people, that that did and did not need care. There was a brand new village shop and cafe, it was a bit strange, clearly run by locals, but there was not much useful produce in the shop cuppa soups cakes and biscuits the sort of thing you would need if you were visiting an elderly relative! I stopped for a weak coffee and move on.

The path back to Wantage was paved but cross country I imagine that maybe it was built by the manor house at Letcombe Regis for staff in the bygone days, I wasn’t complaining it made for easy walking. In Wantage I popped into the cobblers to ask about leather glue apparently Bostik 6092 is the best stuff, but they could not sell me any even though I don’t look like a glue sniffer. In specsaver they did not have my contact lens fitting I was not being successful on the shopping front. I did manage to get the ingredients for Lhaksa at Sainsbury’s.

I dropped by Rory’s to fix his PC and he bought me a pint at the Akeman in return, it was good to catch up. The Lhaksa worked out OK.

Australia – Kings Park Botanical Gardens

Tree top bridge Perth Kings Park
Tree top bridge Perth Kings Park

I woke up with a slight headache, I call it my travel hangover, always the second day after travelling. I took my time having breakfast and left my accommodation just after nine. I chose to walk and headed towards the city center, grabbing a coffee on the way. By the time I had reached the Botanical park, the headache was gone. The weather was sunny, warm but there was a cool breeze.

 Pokémon Fans
Pokémon Fans

The gardens are up high overlooking the bay, on the way up I stopped to take some pictures of the view above Jacobs ladder, locals were walking up and down to get exercise. At the visitors center I got a guide to the birds in the park and then went for a stroll around. Pokémon is still big it seems on Ox, I kept bumping into groups of people tapping away on their phones, sometimes the group was as big as 25.

Spring Flowers Kings Park Perth
Spring Flowers Kings Park Perth

There were plenty of birds to spot, including a White Ibis pair flying over, whilst I sat in the shade of a large Eucalyptus. I was at the café at 14:00 so I opted for a late lunch, of fish and chips which would save me having to got out in the evening. I had a table with a view across the gardens, the bay and the Perth skyline beyond. Fish was battered Flathead fillets very handy because they form.long fingers which make it easy to eat with your fingers.

Perth Skyline from Kings Park
Perth Skyline from Kings Park

Time was getting on so I decided to head back to the apartment via a different route to see some new stuff. I passed thought a very neat area that seemed to contain the Perth parliament buildings, in the trees leading to it were the every present Rainbow Lorikeets. Then I passed through a shopping area which was like any shopping area.  Just close to my destination I discovered the Perth Mint which contains the world’s largest gold coin, unfortunately it was to close in 30 minutes, so rather than wasting £10 I chose to leave for another day.

I grabbed some supplies for dinner and retired to my room to watch the Grand Prix and process my photos.

Australia – Rottnest island

Rottnest Island FerryAs expected I was awake at some point in the night, my body needed to adjust. I checked my phone, wondering what to do on Saturday, I came across Rottnest island, only a few miles off the coast of Perth. I figured I figured I would probably be up early so getting the 10 o’clock boat would be easy, or so I thought.

I woke up quite sleepy at 07:00 so I forced myself out of bed and had a quick breakfast. The drive to Fremantle where the shortest ferry goes from was straight forward. It was the first view of Perth in daylight, it was just like the promotion photos you see clear blue sky with not a cloud in sight. Luckily once in Fremantle there was signs to the the Rottnest ferry.

Rottnest Island views
Rottnest Island views

I decided my best bet was the days bus pass, with stops all round the island I could get on and off as I pleased. At about stop four, the bus driver mentioned a volunteer was there to talk about the island and walk to the next bus stop. Mimi the volunteer had moved to Australia 44 years ago, and it turns out had lived in the Chilterns around Chartridge, an area I knew well. She was very informative, I spotted Pelicans, Nankeen Kestrel, and even saw a King Skink.

Rottnest Island lighthouse
Rottnest Island lighthouse

I walked on to another bus stop after Mimi returned to her post. I got a bus to the stop near the lighthouse, where for $10 you could climb the stairs to get a view over the island. The lady doing the tour has a distinct Scottish accent. The building was made of stone from the island, had been built twice each team by aboriginal prisoners, and took 7 years each time.

From the lighthouse I followed a trail to skip a couple of bus stops. I got to the bus stop just after the bus was due so I waited for a while, but realised I must have missed, so I carried on the purple trail, and I was glad I did. The trail eventually runs along the beach at Strickland bay, which is beautiful and with the sun shining the sea was a bright turquoise. At the end of the beach I checked the bus time table, I had 30 minutes to get to the next stop which was close by, so I got a time lapse set.

Rottnest Island view
Rottnest Island view

It was quite hot out, and I think I was a bit jet lagged so I was not up for a lot of walking so I got the bus for a few stops. Whilst waiting I saw three Osprey. The bus had to stop to let a King Skink get out of the way. I got off near a salt lagoon hoping to see some waders, I dipped on the waders but there were some Pacific Shelduck, same shape as the European ones but much darker and brown where I would expect white. A few bus stops down I got back on for the last leg back back to the settlement where I got a cheese and onion sausage roll and a custard tart for lunch. I had to watch out for the Australian Ravens and Silver Gulls from stealing my food, and the very tame Quokka hung about eager for a crumb. My next venue was the small but informative museum which told the human and natural history of the island.

QuokkaThe ferry was due in about an hour so wandered around the settlement, and stopped at the beach for a time lapse. Then headed to the boat with 15 minutes to spare. I managed to get one of the few seats outside being solo makes that easy as you just need one space. The seat was next to Linda the volunteer who had showed me round the lighthouse, which was a stroke of luck, as she put me into a couple of ideas. Beaches in the way home and imminent sunset, and in particular Cettesloe Beach where there is a Rainbow Lorikeet roost very colourful birds but noisy and a nuisance apparently. I had a mission, but before I spotted the migrating whales from the back of the boat.

I parked up at Cottesloe beach and immediately saw groups of Rainbow Lorikeet flying in and I could hear the squabbling in the Norfolk pines. Down at the beach everyone was waiting for the sunset, so I joined them and got some fine shots in the warm light. It was dark when I left, but I navigated my way back to where I started and as a bonus I got a parking space round the corner from the apartment which was free till 08:00 Monday.

Cottesloe Beach sunset
Cottesloe Beach sunset

I dumped my stuff and headed back to my new favorite Italian restaurant where I had prawn and courgette fettuccine in a light creamy tomato sauce. My Little Creatures pale ale was delivered by the chef, perhaps they consider me a local now! I retired to the apartment just before 20:00 I had some photos to process.

Australia -The journey to Perth WA

Qantas Business class
Qantas Business class

An exciting opportunity came my, a few months back I was on the phone to our FD and he asked me in passing if I could go to Australia to help out with an ERP implementation, “When do I leave?” Was my response. My wife saw it as a great opportunity, although we would miss each other for the couple of months I would be away. It wasn’t long before my departure date came round, I would be flying to Perth on a Qantas flight via Dubai.

I didn’t sleep too week the night before, as is usual when I have to travel the next day, I think it is the anticipation, that makes my mind busy. Helen had the day off so we had a leisurely breakfast together. The driver was early, so it was a quick good by. It would be really strange to be apart for so long, even when Helen was at university most weekends Helen was back.

Dubai Airport
Dubai Airport

Did I mention business class? Our company policy is that if your flight over a certain time you can request to go business class, I figured it would be rude not to. The driver was very friendly and we discussed are various hobbies and travel stories. He dropped me off at Heathrow Terminal 3, and I found the Business class check in. Once checked in I was informed that there was a fast security queue as well as access to a lounge.

The lounge had various sections, but it was a strange time to be there between breakfast and dinner so I settled for a coffee and a glass of water. We were called to the gate and I tried a timelapse, but had to balance the camera on a radiator, and the shutter was enough to make the camera move, so it did not work out well. I had a window seat, and luck was on my side as no one was in the seat next to me.

Emirates business class
Emirates business class

I settled in and sent my last emails and Facebook posts, before airplane mode was required. Champagne was offered but I resisted, settling for a glass of wine with my four course meal. Bread and a small salad starter, followed by a potato cake and salad, followed by some sort of Kufta with dhal and rice, and finally lemon tart. There was still 4 hours to Dubai when I had consumed all that.

The lie flat beds sound very appealing, but in reality in the noisy setting of an aircraft, ear plugs don’t work, so sleep is very difficult. Don’t gete wrong it is nice to be able to lie flat and change postition, but they are quite hard and the gaps between the cushions where the seat articulates are never in the right place. Give me a proper bed any day. With about an hour and a bit to go the lights came on dim, and coffee and more food was distributed around the cabin, thus making the slim chance of sleep even more remote. I sat up and smelled the coffee, and a nice coffee it was too.

The lights came on fully about an hour before we landed slightly early despite hold for a 360. The business class queue through security was short, I had my boarding card so there was no messing about. Apparently the temperature outside in the middle of the night was 35 degrees Celsius, luckily the airport was air conditioned, however you got a sense of how warm and humid it was as we walked up the gangway to the terminal building. Dubai is just like any other airport, but multiplied. The same shops, and food franchises. I had a wander round before heading up to the lounge which was massive. There was plenty of food on offer, as well as drinks you just help yourself. I settled for an apple juice, I did not need any more food.

Emirates Bar flight to Oz
Emirates Bar flight to Oz

My fellow passengers and I turned up at gate A9 at the allotted time and hung around for a bit while the airline employee took phone calls. Eventually we were told there would be a delay so we all sat down on the lounge again. There was only about a 30 minute wait and we started to board. Interestingly there was an ad-hoc bag search at the gate, they confiscated my water from the previous flight.

The Emirates business setup is better in my opinion they stagger the seats so you can get in and out with disturbing your neighbor if they are lying flat. You have your own little pod with handy shelves to stow stuff. The TV screen is much larger. I found a film I had been wanting to see for a while, The Founder, about the beginning of the MacDonalds business empire, I enjoyed it. I find it hard to watch films in planes as I am easily distracted.

The air stewards came round with a thin mattress for the seat which seemed to make all the difference, as I although I was not aware of getting any sleep I think I did doze off for a few hours. We were served a breakfast at the beginning of the flight, then the lights were dimmed for about six hours. There was a lot of activity in the cabin as I guess there was always someone who could not sleep or needed a pee.

I got up for a pee just before the lights started to go on, and ventured by accident into first class looking for a vacant WC, I was soon shooed out. I passed the bar in my search, and returned with my camera to get a picture of myself drinking coffee! The bar area is quite roomy, and bright. Sweet and savoury food items are available, as well as nuts and olives. Our lunch order was taken when I got back to my seat.

For lunch I had an Arabic Mezze which included Shanklish which is a traditional cheese, they describe it as stinky cheese. Main course for me was grilled cod with a lentil dahl and vegetables. It was all served on Royal Doulton bone china! I skipped desert, and there was an hour and twenty to go. They came round with the fother and final hot towel of the flight during which I had crossed the equator, and was in the southern hemisphere for the first time.

Getting through immigration and customs was a breeze, I had registered my passport so could use the machines, I told them I had no infectious deseases, and they wavedcme through customs. Perth is quite a big airport with 4 terminals, I would be dropping off the hire car at a different one. The car was automatic and has satnav but I was not impressed, it was already dark and every so often the arrow on the satnav had me off road so it was difficult to determine when I should turn. Eventually after a few wrong turns I found a multi-storey car park close to the apprtment that had been booked for me.

The apartment has a kitchen diner, bathroom (with washing machine and tumble dryer) and bedroom. I dumped my stuff and ventured out to get some food, settling for a really close family run Italian, I had pizza and a beer called One Fifty Lashes on the way back I stopped off at a supermarket for breakfast supplies. Then to bed for a long overdue sleep.

Orford Crown and Castle

Orford views
Orford views

We picked a great weekend for the weather, the forecast was sunny cloudy, we were off the stay a couple of nights at the Crown and Castle in Orford. I dealt with a couple of administrative items before we left at 09:30ish, round the M25 and up the A12, traffic was relatively ok apart from the usual black spots on the A12.

We chose to head to Minsmere RSPB reserve first, for a walk to Lighthouse cottages, for lunch, then back to the the reserve via the hides. The heather was in fine bloom on the heath, as we approached Lighthouse cottages, the Dartford Warblers were about but quite elusive, generally spotted disappearing into the heather.

Orford views
Orford views

At the NT cafe we had a drink and scone/cake then headed down to the beach and onto the east scrape hide. There were lots of Sandpipers and Black Godwits to mention a couple. We sent a while enjoying the wildlife and then headed back to the visitors centre in the hope of seeing Bearded Tits on the reeds overlooked by the flood defences. Helen had a quick peruse around the gift shop, then we headed back up the road but took the turning to Orford.
We got the last parking space at the Crown and Castle, settled in then went for a walk down to the harbour and quay. The village is full of old cottages many of them looked like holiday cottages. It is a looking village, very typical of rural Suffolk.

Orford views
Orford views

Our dinner was very good the highlight for me was the skate main course. We were quite tired and retired to our room by 21:00. Breakfast was at 08:30 and the dinning room was quite quiet, I had poached eggs on toast and Helen had French toast and maple syrup. We planned to go to Orfordness by boat so we grabbed some lovely bread from the Pump House bakery in the village, and some cheese from the village shop, then headed down to the quay we missed the first boat but were lucky enough to get in the 10:20.

There were reports of a Ted Necked Pharalope and we teamed up with a bird watcher in an attempt to find it. We walked to the wardens hut via the blue route which is where it was seen, but we failed to spot it. At the wardens hut we had a look at some moths the researchers had caught over night. The Tiger Moth was most impressive with its bold camouflage colours.

Next stop was a building with some impressive binoculars mounted on top, good for viewing distant things as they were rock solid. From there a gravel path led to the red and white lighthouse, where we stopped for a rest on the gravel bags used to shore up the coast line and stop the lighthouse falling down. The trek along the shingle beach was tedious and led us to a group of buildings where we stopped for a rustic sandwich.

The church that featured in the Detectorists
The church that featured in the Detectorists

We were determined to see the Pharalope so we decided to do the blue route too, which is the more remote of the paths in the spit. It takes you close to Alpha Mist which is still a broadcasting installation for the BBC world service. The track back to the jetty had passing places, we decided that it is hard to imagine that they would ever be used because all vehicles have to arrive by boat.

Close to the jetty Helen spotted a brown mammal approaching, it was a hare. We stood for a while and although it was aware of our presence it came very close and wandered across the track and into the grass right in front of us. One of those amazing but rare wildlife encounters. We had a short wait for the ferry boat after getting out tickets back from the warden who checks everyone is off the island.

We stopped for a coffee at the tea room where Helen was harassed by a wasp, while I watched the tide almost reach the cafe terrace. I fancied an ice cream from the van at the car park but the queue was too long so we headed back to the hotel and had a half of Adnams each on the terrace, and as always after a day out in the fresh it it tasted better than normal.

The church that featured in the Detectorists
The church that featured in the Detectorists

On sunday we had the routine cooked breakfast and sadly we checked out and headed out of Suffolk, but before we left we would have a few things to check out. First as we left orford we spotted the school used in the Detectorists where teacher and partner of the lanky bloke taught. Then we went to an RSPB reserve called Wolves Wood near Hadleigh in Suffolk the plan was to walk from the reserve to the church that featured in the same BBC 4 comedy. It turned out you could not easily get from the reserve because it would have meant leaving the trail, so we did the trail then headed bay car to Aldham Church which is a stunning little church set on a small rise at the end of a country lane. I took some photos and a timelapse which turned out to be useless because the breeze move the camera.

next we visited my Aunt and Uncle for a cup of tea and cake, then headed round the M25 to visit a big M&S to get some clothes and grab some supplies for dinner. We were home by 16:00 and had had a very enjoyable weekend.

OAR Princes Risborough to Aston Clinton

View from Whiteleaf Cross
View from Whiteleaf Cross

My Sunday was free so I thought I would fit a walk in. I had previously looked at the Outer Aylesbury Ring but could not see a way to easily do 12 ish miles especially with Sunday public transport, however another look at the OS on line maps and I had realised the route from Princes Risborough to Aston Clinton was 12 miles, and a bus at 09:09 and train would get me there before 10:00. A plan was hatched!

I was early for the bus but not with enough time to pop home and get some headphones which I had forgotten, much to my annoyance. The bus stopped outside the station and my ticket to Princes Risborough was only £2.80 on a railcard. Coffee and Snickers were procured but I almost ended up on the wrong train when I boarded the one on platform 3 instead of the correct one on 2. I had a minute to spare.

Bacombe Hill Panorama, Vale of Aylesbury
Bacombe Hill Panorama, Vale of Aylesbury

I had planned a route from the station but did not follow intended route but used a more interesting gated road. I tried in the high street ti get some earphones but failed. It was a long hard slog  to get out of Princes Risborough and on to the top of the hill. Steps had been built in the upper parts and they seemed to go on for ever. I welcomed the rest at the top whilst chatting to an old boy who had walked up to listen to aircraft traffic on his scanner.

The view from Whiteleaf was stunning as there was little haze. The path then dropped down into Cadsden where the Plough pub/restaurant was not quite open for a coffee, and it was a bit early to be stopping for a coffee break. The path then goes up again then across a hill where you can get views of Chequers. The route from there to Edlesborough takes you through an unusual natural Box Hedge, which extends across the whole of the valley.

The path from Bacombe Hill
The path from Bacombe Hill

A coffee would have been good but it was the wrong Sunday at Edlesborough church, so I headed off towards Bacombe Hill, where I encountered the steepest hill of the day. On my way up I pass a group of families coming down. I was not sure if it was easier going up or coming down as the path was a bit slippery from the recent rain. At the top the rain started so the poncho came out again, until I was at the monument, where I rested and took a timelapse sequence, which turned out to be shaky because of the stiff wind. I had made a point of steadying the camera.

Down in Wendover I stopped for a sandwich and a coffee at what I call Two Poundland but which is actually called No 2 Pound Street. I took my time as it started to rain and I was on no rush to get started again. I chose to walk around the edge of Halton and ended up walking through a new estate there. It seemed like a great place to live really close to Wendover woods and quiet. I headed across the road and down to Harebridge lane then around the end of Halton Airfield, where I saw a glider land. Then it was through Aston Clinton park and home.

It was a god 12 mile walk with no complaints from my back things were looking up.

Outer Aylesbury Ring – Wing to Aston Clinton

I felt confident enough about my back to attempt a 12 mile walk, after a couple of weekends ramping up the mileage. I considered the next stretch of the Ridgeway but decided a local walk would allow for an easy rescue if I needed it. I arranged a very much appreciated lift to Wing with Helen’s dad. He dropped me off at 10:00 at the edge of Wing where I picked up the OAR path, heading towards Mentmore.

It was easy going to start with the path going slightly down hill, a short up action dumped me out on the last hundred yards of the road to Mentmore, where I stopped for a rest on a bench, and consumed my Snickers for the day. The path is well sign posted with the OAR logo however it is small and nearly always stuck or nailed to another sign so you have to look carefully.

From Mentmore it was again down hill to the railway, which is great train robbery country, however the path does not pass the famous bridge which is a Mike down the track from where the path crosses. Soon after the railway the path hits the Grand Union and stays on it for the rest of the days section, which ends up in Aston Clinton on the disused Wendover arm. I would finish the section at Stablebridge.

I passed a few sights of a note a lady duck a and some Ducklings who were surprisingly trusting, and some barnacle geese which were too. There were some signs about dredging along the way and a I noticed some bits of metal at the side of a the towpath on occasions, most of it of little interest, however I did come a cross a cigarette machine near a bridge, which was open. It was full of mussel shells presumably emptied by birds.

At about mile 6 I found a bench at a lock keepers cottage to rest and eat my sandwiches, Red Leicester in wholemeal Babs left over from our veggie burgers the night before. At Marsworth the path leaves the canal to take a detour though the village, only to join it again at the reservoirs. I stopped for coffee and cake at the Bluebell tearooms where the queue of two took some time while a spotty teenager was trained on the till. I sat outside and ate my chocolate cake which had spent to long on the cooler, the sparrows were not so bothered and wolfed down the crumbs I offered. I tried to get them to eat out of my hand but they would only get with 12 inches.

Between Startops and Wilstone reservoirs there were quite a few groups of Duke of Edinburgh kids with large packs. The renovation of the Wendover arm was a bit further forward than the last time I was around. It is taking quite a while I suspect that without more funding it will be quite a few decades before it is finished. I rested for 10 minutes on a convenient bench at the point where the renovation stopped then finished off the section.