Sunday, 17 August 2008

Lunch break

Last week I followed the Round Berkshire Route from Maidenhead to Reading, and a bit beyond. That section of the route is fairly urban. It is not unpleasant, but nor is it particularly attractive.

Today I pushed further, from Tidmarsh, near Pangbourne, to Great Shefford, north of Hungerford. This is a far more attractive part of the route, passing almost entirely through countryside, along minor roads. For much of today I was seeing more horses than cars. There are also some wonderful views: which is another way of saying that it is fairly hilly. But the long hills are not too steep, and the steep hills are not too long.

As if the landscape wasn't enough of a treat, it also turned out to be wonderful weather for a long ride - mostly sun, but cool, and no rain. There was a bit more wind than I would have chosen for myself, but as the air has started to cool off a bit, even a fairly steady head wind wasn't entirely unwelcome.

It was noticeable that there was a lot of harvesting under way. I guess they are keen to get the crops in while the weather holds. However, I had made my way home and we had finished dinner before the rain started, so hopefully the farmers weren't entirely disappointed.

For once I stopped at a pub for my lunchtime break - the Swan at East Ilsley. This is a 16th century coaching inn, which I used to visit many years ago, when it was a very traditional village pub. Now it has been modernised. I must admit that I see this as a bit of a mixed blessing, but it was very pleasant, and pretty busy so I guess I am in a minority.

As the picture shows, I used the lunch break to work out how far I could reach in the afternoon. In the event I later decided that my lunchtime plans had been a bit too ambitious, and at Great Shefford I decided to to call it a day , and headed for Newbury to get the train home.

They were operating a replacement bus service from Newbury to Reading while they worked on the track, and because there was a lot of activity, the driver was a bit iffy about taking the bike on the coach. It all turned out fine in the end, and I wasn't too late getting home. Aching a bit, fairly tired, but happy with a very satisfying 44 miles.


disgruntled said...

Ah yes, the dreaded replacement bus service. If the bus won't take a bike, it's not a very good replacement for a bus...

What was in the glass? Brakspears?

gom1 said...

Shandy I'm afraid - I think it was with Green King IPA, but cannot be sure. I was thirsty.

FWIW the Swan has a web site with some histroy on it.